Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources


All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale

Available versions

1936: George Cukor

1954: Renato Castellani

1965: Val Drumm, Paul Lee

1968: Franco Zeffirelli

1976: Joan Kemp-Welch

1978: Alvin Rakoff

1993: Norman Campbell

1994: Alan Horrox

1996: Baz Luhrmann

2010: Dominic Dromgoole

2013: Carlo Carlei

2014: Don Roy King, David Leveaux


1961: West Side Story

1992: Efim Gamburg, Dave Edwards (animated)


2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 2

Romeo and Juliet
2014: Don Roy King, David Leveaux

I should admit my biases. I expected not to like this version of Romeo and Juliet. As a long-time Tolkien fan, I found Orlando Bloom’s portrayal of Legolas annoying (though that may have more to do with direction than his own performance), and I also have the visceral sense that any Shakespeare production that highlights motorcycles is probably more dedicated to admiring its own clever transposition than to exposing the core of the play itself. Nevertheless, it took only a few minutes before at least those objections were dismissed. Others arose in the course of my viewing.

Though he is, as most critics noted, too old for the part, really, Bloom’s Romeo is reasonably engaging — neither simplistic nor excessively cynical. But perhaps the real focal point of the film — both its virtue and its limitation — is Condola Rashad’s portrayal of Juliet. She is able to bring to this rather overworked role an enormous freshness that I found immediately engaging, with a combination of naivete together with the verbal dexterity and intelligence that also distinguish Juliet. A number of reviewers found her performance less convincing: they wanted more subtlety and apparent skepticism. Others thought that she lacked variety in her delivery of Shakespeare’s lines. I didn’t find the latter to be a problem: to my ear, her delivery is fairly naturalistic and projects the intelligence limited by her naivete. From my perspective that works: it seems to me that if Juliet were a deeper thinker, or at least a warier person, she would not have allowed herself to get into the situation she finds herself in. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Between them, Bloom and Rashad seem to me to achieve relatively little chemistry. That’s inevitably a subjective call, and others might find the experience different. General audiences seem to have enjoyed this better than most of the critics.

One interesting feature of this production — of which I have seen relatively little overt discussion — is the fact that the Capulets are all black, while the Montagues are all white. Whether this is intended to set up some kind of implicit subtext in the play about race relations is perhaps going to depend on how you watch it. If it’s saying anything on that axis, I’m not sure what it’s saying, and nobody else seemed to have any idea either. It is suggestive, perhaps, but ultimately leads to nothing. Certainly the conflict between the two houses is not racially defined in the original play.

This is probably not the only version to see, for its various limitations, but, on exactly the same grounds, it bears comparison with others.

Abraham: Spencer Plachy

Balthasar: Joe Carroll

Benvolio: Conrad Kemp

Citizen of Verona: Carolyn Michelle Smith

Citizen of Verona: Don Guillory

Citizen of Verona: Nance Williamson

Friar John: Thomas Schall

Friar Laurence: Brent Carver

Gregory: Maurice Jones

Juliet’s Servant: Sheria Irving

Juliet: Condola Rashad

Lady Capulet: Roslyn Ruff

Lady Montague: Tracy Sallows

Lord Capulet: Chuck Cooper

Mercutio: Christian Camargo

Musician: David Van Tieghem

Musician: Tahirah Whittington

Nurse: Jayne Houdyshell

Paris: Justin Guarini

Prince Escalus: Geoffrey Owens

Romeo: Orlando Bloom

Sampson: Donté Bonner

Tybalt: Corey Hawkins

Understudy: Eric Loscheider