Skip to content
MUSEUM AND NWFC CLOSED: The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are closed in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All public programs, screenings, and events are canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann

United States 1996 120 mins. In English

Baz Luhrmann’s kinetic, modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet redefined the Bard for a generation of kids who came of age in the late ’90s. Relocating the play’s setting from Verona, Italy to the fictitious, crumbling coastal city of Verona Beach, Luhrmann imagines a world in which the Montagues and Capulets are warring mafia families, Mercutio performs a drag number at the Capulets’ ball and the “civil brawls” of the play’s opening are followed on live television. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (at the height of his ’90s heartthrob fame) and Claire Danes as the titular star-crossed lovers and featuring a hit-packed soundtrack from bands such as Radiohead, Garbage, Butthole Surfers and The Cardigans, Romeo + Juliet thumbs its nose at traditional stodgy Shakespearian convention, opting instead for an urgent, manic energy that plays out as half-MTV music video, half-fever dream. “A vision that is bold, brassy, hugely inventive and accessible and, in a strange way, just right.”—Empire.