AKA the version that many of us were forced to watch in school, this Franco Zeffirelli film remains arguably the best classic interpretation of the Shakespeare tale. Unfortunately, nothing else really matches the high point of the battle between Tybalt and Mercutio, but that is a testament to the sequence rather than a damnation of everything else.
This could have been a very good film, but there is (like in his opera films) some careless editing on Zeffirelli's side, especially regarding the montage. Another problem is Nino Rota's music: Sure, it's nice, but it also has too little variety and is often foregrounded to over-emotionalize the dramatic moments. It seems that Zeffirelli doesn't trust neither Shakespeare's language nor the abilities of his actors.
The development of the duel between Mercutio and Tybalt into a murder as frustration brews on both sides is simply remarkable adaptation. And the knock-down drag out fight Romeo and Tybalt get into afterwards only looks all the more extraordinary thanks to the juxtaposition.
This version (1968) of Romeo & Juliet definetly stands the test of time. Visually appealing as well as perfectly acted. I remember sitting in the theater as a kid being amazed at what I was viewing. I've seen it several times and sometimes stayed for both showings.(That's when you could sit there and wait for the next showing.) My favorite movie of all time.
aesthetically, this movie should be rated five stars because it is gorgeous but the reason why it really deserves the highest rating possible is that it makes me love romeo and juliet (which i've always hated) and the performances by every actor are so convincing you wonder why there would be any subsequent renditions when it's so obvious a perfect adaption of romeo and juliet has already been made.
Correcta a secas, esta adaptaciòn de Romeo y Julieta por Franco Zeffirelli talvez sea la cinta màs aplaudida y conocida del irregular director italiano. La joven actriz Olivia Hussey (todo un bizcochito de no mames al año de la filmaciòn) levantò ampula entre los espectadores mas pinches mamoncitos de aquel entonces al declararse como "una chica de minifalda" y por calificar a Julieta como "una pobre pendeja".