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Romeo and Juliet (1936)


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Release Date: Sep 3, 1936 Limited



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 548

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Movie Info

Director George Cukor and producer Irving G. Thalberg's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, a lavish production of Shakespeare's tale about two star-crossed lovers, is extremely well-produced and acted. In fact, it is so well-done, that it is easy to forget that Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer are too old to be playing the title characters. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Aug 14, 2007


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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

The problem lies in the casting.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The film has some merits, though Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard were simply too old to play Shakespeare's juvenile lovers.

October 20, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

[It] doesn't hold a candle to Franco Zeffirelli's nearly flawless 1968 version, but it [is] the best Shakespeare film before Laurence Olivier started making them.

October 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

The stars are too old, but it's a handsome film with a great John Barrymore performance.

October 31, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Dated, dated, dated...and it has been done better since.

October 15, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Audience Reviews for Romeo and Juliet

Classy production but both Norma and Leslie are at the very least 15 years too old for their roles.
February 11, 2014
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Although Norma Shearer (at 37) and Leslie Howard (at 42) were far too old to play the teenage star-crossed lovers, they both did such a wonderful job of showing their love and devotion for each other that you can forgive them. The balcony scene, with the fairyland sets lit by moonlight, is as romantic as anything you'll ever see. Norma Shearer should get more credit these days than she does. She was truly a marvelous actress, but for some reason she doesn't share the same fame as other actresses of the era such as Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow or Myrna Loy. It's a shame, because I've never seen her give a bad performance. Of the other performers, John Barrymore as Mercutio and Basil Rathbone as Tybalt stand out. And take a gander at a VERY young Andy Devine in an early role as the Nurse's assistant. A first class production all around.
January 20, 2008

Super Reviewer

The Cukor Romeo and Juliet is probably one of the worst adaptations. Here we have elderly actors desperately trying to be youthful in their escapades. A big bore.
February 27, 2014
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

One of the first and most famous Shakespeare adaptations was this 1936 MGM film made by the famous George Cukor. The film does not tinker with the play?s setting or tone, it?s a very straightforward and traditional adaptation. The stars, Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard are good in their roles, but they?re both way too old for these parts. This play?s narrative requires it?s protagonists to be young, impulsive teenagers and both of these actors are well into their 30s. There?s nothing horribly wrong with the rest of it, but it?s kind of bland and it pales in comparison to the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version. Still, creatively adapting Shakespeare on film probably wasn?t as established in 1936 as it is now, so I?m willing to cut this one some slack.
February 7, 2009

Super Reviewer

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  • Romeo and Juliet (1936) (UK)
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