Romeo And Juliet (1968)


This version of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, Romeo And Juliet was directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968.

Narrated by Laurence Olivier, it stars Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. The film won Academy Awards for best cinematography and best costume design.

The film broke an established BBFC precedent of passing Shakespeare films at U when it was submitted for classification. From an early stage there had been discussions between the film's distributor, director and the BBFC secretary John Trevelyan. Trevelyan even viewed the film in Rome before it was submitted formally to the BBFC and following this, he wrote a letter to the distributor (available below) highlighting his concern with nudity in "the love scene" and sight of corpses in "the scene in the vault".

When the film was submitted for classification, examiners agreed that these issues were better placed at the A category which advised parents that some content may be unsuitable for young children. The film was particularly popular among teenage audiences because it was one of the first Shakespeare films to feature a younger cast. One examiner noted that "when it comes to teenage sex, a great many parents would prefer to turn the other way. Or to eliminate all thought or sight of the matter". The film was most recently classified PG on video in 2002.