Romeo and Juliet (Film 1996)

Romeo and Juliet (Film 1996) Literary Elements


Baz Luhrmann

Leading Actors/Actresses

Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Miriam Margolyes, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Brian Dennehy, Paul Rudd, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Diane Venora, Edwina Moore, Harriet Harris


Romantic Drama




Nominated - Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Direction (Catherine Martin and Brigitte Broch); Won - BAFTA Awards for Best Music (Nellee Hooper), Best Production Design (Catherine Martin), Best Screenplay - Adapted (Craig Pearce and Baz Luhrmann), Best Editing (Jill Bilcock). The film received 15 Major Awards and 27 nominations.

Date of Release

November 1, 1996


Gabriella Martinelli and Baz Luhrmann, with Martin Brown as co-producer and Jill Bilcock, Catherine Martin as associate producers

Setting and Context

Verona Beach, late 1990s; a town caught up in violence between two rival families

Narrator and Point of View

The film is placed with a newscaster's narrative, although the characters mostly speak for themselves. The point of view is limited, yet the audience knows the romance between Romeo and Juliet is doomed.

Tone and Mood

tone: foreboding yet spontaneous
mood: sultry, youthful

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonists - Romeo and Juliet; Antagonist - Paris, their families, and their circumstances

Major Conflict

Romeo and Juliet get married secretly, yet Juliet's mother wishes her to marry Paris. Both of the young lovers plan to solve the problem of complicated love through drastic means, but neither is aware of the other's plan.


Juliet chooses to take a sleeping potion that will cause her to appear dead long enough to escape her family's plans for her.


The play is situated within a framework of love gone wrong, and we can tell the couple who will be torn apart is Romeo and Juliet.


Juliet understates her attachment to Romeo to her mother, who is firmly a member of the Capulet family.

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

The film uses lighting through water; when Romeo and Juliet first see one another, it is through a fish tank, and they meet again underwater in a pool. The film also shows action under a sheet when Romeo and Juliet hide under one. Furthermore, the film uses rapid zooming to intensify fight scenes and dramatize fighting between members of the two families.


The film alludes to the type of violence that might occur in a city split between two families, and it shows the sort of news coverage that is shown in those situations. As an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet," the film alludes directly and constantly to it.

It also indirectly alludes to the violence that took place in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, including the 1992 L.A. riots.


Juliet acts to save the relationship between her and Romeo, yet her actions directly lead to its demise.


While Juliet plans a future with Romeo, her mother plans a future for her with her relative Paris.