Students On The 5 Greatest Productions Of Romeo And Juliet Of All Time

Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy written by William Shakespeare in 1597. It is a story about young lovers that come from rival families, and at the end of it, their deaths ultimately make peace between that rivalry. 

This is one of the most popular stories from Shakespeare and one of the most used in education. As it is a must-read play both in school and university literary courses, students are often required to write essays on Romeo and Juliet for college. Despite this much research already done, coming up with a new Romeo and Juliet essay topic is challenging, so past works and online essays help a bit. Similarly to reading paper samples, watching play adaptations help students put Romeo and Juliet into perspective as each production highlights certain characters and events in a unique way. 

So, let’s take a look at some of the best Romeo and Juliet productions that are adored and loved by the audiences. 

New London Theatre, 1935 

This production of Romeo and Juliet was directed by John Gielgud and performed in the New Theatre in London back in 1935. Juliet was played by Peggy Ashcroft and Romeo by Laurence Oliver. The stars of the play may be the main reason why this play is so adored. Both brought something different and special to the roles. And as some of the critics say, this is a play that every theater lover will carry with him forever. It is a play filled with romance, enchantment, and humor that excited the audience. 

George Cukor, 1936

The 1936 film adaptation is named as one of the best 1,000 movies ever made. And the stars of this movie are Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard as Romeo and Juliet. Before making the movie, MGM was apprehensive about allowing George Cukor to be the director, scared that the results may not appeal to the masses. And in the end, people either hate it or love it. There is nothing in between. Some see it as over the top and criticize the actor’s age, and others simply enjoy it. 

Old Vic Theatre, 1960 

Franco Zeffirelli, originally directing operas, decided to take a step ahead and direct Romeo and Juliet. The leads were played by Judi Dench and John Stride. And through them, he wanted to appeal to the youth of the day and created a very realistic production. It is not loved by everyone. However, the ones who love it did so because of the “rawness and realism” in it and stated that the director had “worked a miracle.” 

Royal Ballet, 1965 

Kenneth MacMillan had only 5 months to create the choreography for his ballet version of Romeo and Juliet. The stars of the show were Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, and the show completely impressed the critics. Even Daily Mail stated that Kenneth MacMillan should be one of the world’s leading choreographers. The performance was basically explained as full of trust and purity, radiance, love, grace, and gentleness. 

Rupert Goold, 2010 

In 2010 at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Rupert Goold directed a version of Romeo and Juliet loved by almost everyone. The lead roles were played by Mariah Gale and Sam Troughton, and the production was set in Verona. The critics state that this play was the most exciting revival since Zeffirelli’s one back in 1960.  


As we already said, the original story was written in 1562, and over the course of history, it has been adapted into everything that you can imagine. The most significant change is the setting. The original version is set a long time ago when things were way different, so put in a different setting, it may look almost unrecognizable. The language of the play may not be changed, but many lines are cut, and in some plays, the rivalry between the families is changed into something more modern such as two businesses, etc. So, the lesson would be that students should focus only on the original when working on assignments for school. Because all the differences in the productions can have such a huge influence on how students see and reflect on the original.

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