I find that both of the Romeo and Juliet movies tell a similar, but different portrayal of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The 1968 movie is what I believe to be much more historically accurate. The first movie’s setting was in Verona in the 1500’s. The second movie’s setting was Verona Beach in modern times. In the beginning of the 1968 movie, there was a sword fight that involved both the Montagues and the Capulets. The 1996 version played it as a massive gun battle at a gas station.
In the first movie, Romeo and Juliet met at a party that was celebrating Juliet’s marriage to Paris. The costumes and attire are all historically accurate. It seems that in the second movie, Romeo and Juliet met in a huge, high tech mansion. The mansion was hosting some kind of costume party for Juliet and Paris. The most interesting similarity that I found between the two movies, was the dialect. Both movies showed the old English dialect that Romeo and Juliet was written in.
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This was more evident in the newer movie, because in the old movie, you expected for the dialect, but in the modern-day version, it stands out more. Another similarity that I noticed in the movies that was different from the play, was Romeo not killing Paris. In the play, when Romeo went to Juliet’s tomb, he killed Paris. In both movies, they do not show this. When Juliet drank the sleeping potion, and she was put into her “final” resting place, Romeo was sent a letter explaining what to do. In both cases, Romeo did not receive the letter.
In each movie, the delivery person just barely missed Romeo. The last differences that I would like to point out are when Juliet is “sleeping”. In the older movie, Juliet had a small funeral procession that led to her tomb. In the recent movie, the funeral was held in a church, and a lot of people attended. Juliet’s body was left in the church instead of being put into the tomb. The older depiction of the play had Romeo killing himself with poison right beside Juliet, and then Juliet woke up, found him dead, and then stabbed herself.
The new movie portrayed it like a modern day suicide. Juliet was laying in the church, and then Romeo came up to her. Trembling, he put the poison vial to his lips, and then she woke up. By the time he realized that she was alive, it was too late. Romeo was dead from poison, and Juliet shot herself. Even though these movies are very different, they both convey the same idea. They both are about two people that love each other, but their families won’t allow them to express their true love openly. Both of the movies are great visual representations of the play by William Shakespeare.