Romeo + Juliet

  • Review Date: August 1, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Optically brilliant, violent update of classic.
  • Review Date: August 1, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 120 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The violence of this adaptation does an excellent job of obscuring the message of peace at the root of the story.

Positive role models

Predominant figures commit murder, aggravated assault, and glamorize
violence through the use of decorative, threatening weaponry and
fashion. Romeo makes a vengeance killing; the two protagonists take
their own lives.


Bloody gangster-style shoot-outs, gun-play, car assaults, murder, and suicide.


Frank and demonstrative sexual humor and innuendo, Romeo and Juliet share more than a couple of passionate kisses.


Dialogue is classic, expletive-free Shakespeare.


Heavy simulations of brand names and products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking, drinking. A priest imbibes unspecified experimental potions. Romeo swallows a tablet of Ecstasy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film features a considerable amount of blood, violence, and explicit references to sex. Prostitution, brief nudity, teen sex, gang-related deaths, car assaults, bloody fistfights, and a gangster pointing a pistol directly at a child's face, makes this film inappropriate for kids under the age of 17. There's a strong emphasis on guns that can easily be seen as glamorization: characters sport decorated pistols and fashionably threatening jewelry (skull rings, dagger belts), not to mention an ad for bullets. Background scenery makes much use of billboards, posters, and license plates designed to mimic soda, liquor, and cigarette ads.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Against the crumbling backdrop of political and social hierarchy, a chance meeting through a neon fish tank at a masquerade ball begets a desperate pact of love between star-crossed lovers Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes). The well-to-do Capulets have chosen Paris (Paul Rudd), a dashing but dull TIME magazine cover boy, heir to glitzy Verona Beach, to wed Juliet. However, it's Romeo, son of the rival Montague clan, who captures her heart. The vengeance-seeking broods of both families clash during a deadly beachfront shoot-out. Sadly, the couple's final reunion ends in devastation for both families.

Is it any good?


Replete with glowing surfaces, quick cutting action, and a soundtrack that bites, Director Baz Luhrmann's whirling dervish adaptation of the classic tale of ROMEO + JULIET, is Shakespeare for Generation X, Y, and Z. Any teenager growing up in the mid 90s will attest to the unbeatable hipness of this movie. Neon crucifixes, dazzling skylines, and festive fireworks literally light up the screen in this film. The real electricity, however, lies in the chemistry between Danes and DiCaprio. There is not a single element of the production unaffected by Luhrmann's restless mercurial bravado, including the acting, wardrobe, and set design. Thankfully, the transported text survives the transition between eras, due to the director's attention to detail.

The film's bouncing soundtrack, MTV-style cinematography, and all-star cast will have teens begging to see Romeo + Juliet. Parents are cautioned against permitting tweens and under to view this film due to its extreme violence, gross materialism, and sexual innuendo. And it is best if parents accompany their kids who are allowed to view this graphic retelling of the classic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about issues such as conflict-resolution, peer pressure, and their alternatives.

  • What could the Montagues and Capulets have done in order to make peace?

  • Were there alternatives to Romeo and Juliet's choices?

  • Did they truly

  • believe suicide was the only way, and if so, what circumstances in the

  • film drove them to feel this way?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 1, 1996
DVD release date:May 25, 1999
Cast:Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Leonardo DiCaprio
Director:Baz Luhrmann
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:scenes of contemporary violence and some sensuality

This review of Romeo + Juliet was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byshanno15 March 16, 2010
Had to watch it in school last year when i was in 9th grade, good movie, kind of an weird adaptation though
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byLadylollipop1 April 26, 2011

Ignore the 16+

I'm confused why everyone is saying it should be 16+, if it should be 16+ then why is it rated 12a? There is no blood (well a very small amount) no nudity and no bad language (it is shakespeare after all) and it a great story of love and it's educational about shakespeare but it's easier dor kids to understand it when placed in a modern setting.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old January 30, 2011

My Romeo + Juliet Review

I have seen this movie,i had to go with iffy because there are alot of Bloddy secnes in this Film which will make it very disturbing for little childern, there murder shooting and very bloody secnes. but there are some good things like love,romance, but there is a little to much. I recomend 17+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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