Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Baz Lurhmann’s film is Shakespeare filtered through MTV. He wisely leaves the original dialogue intact, while modernizing the presentation to look like a hip hop video, forcing us to pay even more attention to the language.
Released before Titanic (1997) catapulted Leonardo DiCapprio to superstardom, he brings a steady confidence to the star-crossed lover.
Juliet was originally offered to Natalie Portman, but producers were uncomfortable with how young she seemed in her scenes with DiCapprio’s Romeo. Fortunately, Claire Danes is exactly how I imagine the young Capulet.
The all-star supporting cast includes Paul Sorvino, M. Emmet Walsh, Paul Rudd, John Leguizamo, Miriam Margoyles, and Pete Postlethwaite.
Watch this to be reminded how timeless Shakespeare is.
This film was replaced as my favorite film of 1996 by The Crucible.