• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the two 'Romeo and Juliet' films,by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann. Do you consider that these contrasting representations have enhanced your understanding of Shakespeare's text?

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast the two 'Romeo and Juliet' films, by Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann. Do you consider that these contrasting representations have enhanced your understanding of Shakespeare's text or do you view them merely as entertainment value? When studying the two different 'Romeo and Juliet' films and comparing them together, they both have their own interpretation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" text. Baz Luhrmann created his movie in 1997 with Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes taking the lead roles. Franco Zeffirelli, however, created his film in 1970, starring Leonardo Whitting and Olivia Hussey. Both films provide very different perspectives on Shakespeare's text because of the different eras they were set in. The symbolism and imagery in both films are very different because of this factor. The two films also present very different settings. Luhrmann's is based in modern-day America and Zeffirelli's is based in traditional Italy. The culture of each country is very different and provides a real comparison between the two. Similarities and Differences can be duly noted throughout both films and the factors affected it but they both come together to provide a mixture of pure entertainment and the clear explanation needed to comprehend Shakespeare's famous play. As soon as the two films begin there is an obvious difference in the way they are started. Franco Zeffirelli has chosen what I would say was a very typical and predictable opening for the Shakespearian play, the opening scene is a man saying the prologue in a very formal English tone and there is a picture of Verona framed like a picture whilst the man narrates the opening scene. Whereas Baz Luhrmann has opted for a very different and unexpected approach to the prologue, although I suppose this is due to the fact that it is a modern adaptation of the play. Instead it is a black woman, with an American accent, announcing the prologue as if it is a news report on the television, immediately Baz Luhrmann has broken down ...read more.


Finally after a long awaited moment we see Juliet, in the Franco Zeffirelli. Immediately we see the childish side of her character. Her features are very striking; dark brown hair and olive skin. She is wearing red when we first meet her and in several other scenes she is also wearing red. I think this is a very important aspect of her as red usually symbolises passion and love but also blood and death, which foreshadows her future. She comes across as very exuberant and happy (she is laughing). Whereas in the Baz Luhrmann production there is more of an emphasis on the theme of speed and time. The camera is zooming around from one character to another and everything seems very frantic and rushed until it comes to Juliet whose head is underwater which blocks out all the outside sounds and everything sounds blurred as is the vision. Water imagery is used a lot in this interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. Her hair is wet which makes her seem very vulnerable and she looks very innocent but naturally beautiful. This is quite different to the Franco Zeffirelli where she is dressed quite glamorously and here she is just in jeans and a t-shirt (like a normal teenager). When we see the Nurse, in the Baz Luhrmann, it is quite significant that the choice of the Nurse is a typical poor, foreign, immigrant which puts emphasis on her low status. In the Franco Zeffirelli production there is more emphasis on the Nurse than there is on Lady Capulet whereas in the Baz Luhrmann production it is the opposite. There is a lot less emphasis on the Nurse's relationship with Juliet which I think is a vital part of the play (Baz Luhrmann), however they have focused on Lady Capulet's distant relationship with Juliet to make it clear that they don't have a very strong mother and daughter bond. ...read more.


It has been made a lot more romantic and emotional. After they die there are a series of flashbacks of their time together during their short lived relationship accompanied by heavenly music. The ending of the Franco Zeffirelli shows the play ending on a positive note and the families reunite whereas in the modern interpretation the ending is harsh and negative. The films end like they started; the Franco Zeffirelli framed and the Baz Luhrman with the news reporter rounding it off. These contrasting representations have enhanced my understanding of Shakespeare's text. However I found the modern day interpretation a lot more engaging and easy to understand as it had been adapted to modern day circumstances which made it easier for me to understand and relate to. The Franco Zeffirelli is what I expected the 'Romeo and Juliet' play to be like. It didn't really do much to help enhance my understanding of the text apart from a few key scenes, for example, the balcony scene. I think that the Baz Luhrmann production was much more intended for entertainment due to the way it was set out and how he had cut out bits of the scenes and made it into more of an action and love story rather than just basing it on romance. However I think making the play more entertaining played a part in enhancing my understanding of the text, as because I got interested in the film I was more determined to understand the film. The Franco Zeffirelli interpretation of 'Romeo and Juliet' sticks to the text more and most parts of the play are still in the film. As a personal opinion the Franco Zeffirelli production is more appropriate for educational uses as it gives a fair representation of both houses and it is more based on the Shakespeare text, but I personally find the Baz Luhrmann production more engaging and easier to understand. However if I were to write an essay using one of the films about the play the Franco Zeffirelli would be more accurate. Claire Bamford English Coursework final Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. How does Baz Luhrmann make the final death scene effective for the audience?

    The close up as Juliet opens her eyes and smiles at Romeo, believing the plan to be working, yet speaking one moment too late, reinforces the inevitability of the events. The plan had worked, yet Juliet was a few seconds too late to act.

  2. Compare and Contrast how Mercutio is Portrayed in the Baz Luhrman and the Franco ...

    Short lived but remembered as when he does die the rest of the play changes from bad to worse. It is not in Mercutio's character to get mad or angry; he likes to be laid back.

  1. How does Baz Luhrmann use props, iconography, costumes and settings to create his own ...

    This brings equality between the two, and therefore similarities between the two families. The use of the fire at the petrol station brings in one of the four elements. Another one is brought in at the balcony scene where the use of water creates the bond between the lovers.

  2. Romeo and Juliet Luhrmann and Zeffirelli Film Comparison Essay.

    Including this may have made the end more dramatic and probably better than the one he used. Overall I think that the Zeferelli film was very true the text and kept some of the original themes running through but had very weak actors and a very weak ending.

  1. Using camera angles, soundtrack, costume, props and setting describe the world Baz Lurhman has ...

    The ambience becomes romantic. In fact in this film when there is a change in the scene the colour and lighting seem to change with it to suit its mood. All the way through the film, especially at the beginning, props like fireworks, smoke and fire are used. They symbolise almost the same thing.

  2. How do directors Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli use the media of film to ...

    In action to this, Romeo climbs up the wall that leads to Juliet's balcony in order to get to her. The camera shot used is a close up of Romeo to show his emotional distress that he is feeling. The statues in this scene represent Juliet as a goddess and

  1. Auteur research study. Auteur? - Baz Luhrmann

    air his views and is yet to succumb to the constant pressure from Hollywood. "Luhrmann has a theatricality to him, a real whimsicality that other directors do not possess or are afraid of. Everybody else must be naturalistic of realistic, but not Baz he embraces that."

  2. Analyse Act 1 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet Compare the original text ...

    Shakespeare uses the words ?colliers?, ?choler? and ?collar? as a kind of play on the word ?coals?. This makes the text more complex because different vocabulary is being used to represent the same thing. Also, in this first section it is made noticeable that, at the time, women were seen to be like prizes or possessions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work