Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SHAKESPEARE REFERENCES IN FILMS: Romeo And Juliet

For the last few years, I've been compiling lists of Shakespeare references, mainly in films, but also in television programs (and in books and so on), with the idea of creating a giant reference book. It will contain in-depth reviews of all Shakespeare film adaptations, and lists of references in film to each play. My argument is that you really can't consider yourself a film buff without reading Shakespeare's works, for the plays and sonnets are so often referred to and used in films that without knowledge of them, you'd be missing a whole lot from the films you enjoy. If nothing else, any self-proclaimed film buff must read Romeo And Juliet and Hamlet.

Here is a list of just a few of the films with references to The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet:


- Algiers  (1938) with Charles Boyer, Hedy Lamarr, Gene Lockhart, Alan Hale; directed by John Cromwell. Pepe is happy because he has a date with a gorgeous woman. He even compliments the inspector on his haircut, saying, “A regular Romeo.”
- Amateur Night At City Hall: The Story Of Frank L. Rizzo  (1977) directed by Robert Mugge. Each section of this documentary has its own title, and one of these titles is “Starr-Crossed Lovers,” a play on the line “A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life” from the prologue of Romeo And Juliet. This section of the documentary deals in part with stripper Blaze Starr’s book.
- At War With The Army  (1950) with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis. While Alvin (Jerry Lewis) is dressed as a woman, a drunk superior officer tries to buy him a drink. The bartender comes to Alvin’s rescue, saying, “All right, Romeo,” and motioning for the sergeant to leave.  
- Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation  (2008) with Josh Cooke, Sara Foster, Warren Christie, Harland Williams, Greg Pitts; directed by James Ryan.  When an attempt at proposing goes horribly awry, Ron tries again as he's being handcuffed. The cop interrupts him, saying, "Okay, Romeo, save it for your cell mate."
- Bachelorette  (2012) with Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, Rebel Wilson, Adam Scott; directed by Leslye Headland. Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is upset because her ex-boyfriend is getting a lap dance. Another stripper tells her, “Look, the only reason why Romeo is back there is because he knows he’s not getting laid tonight.”
- Beautiful Girls  (1996) In this wonderful film directed by Ted Demme, Timothy Hutton plays Willie, who has returned home for his high school reunion.  Natalie Portman plays Marty, the 13-year-old girl who lives next door.  In an ice-skating scene, Marty flirts with Willie.  Willie says they have a bit of an age problem.  Marty says, "We're as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet.  It's a tragedy of Elizabethan proportions."  Willie then recites, "What light through yonder window breaks? Tis the east and Juliet is the sun."  To which Marty replies, "And the colored girls go do do-do do-do."  Then in a later scene, Willie sees her through his window. So he opens it and calls down to her, "Hey."  She looks up and responds, "Romeo And Juliet, the dyslexic version."
- Beautiful Something  (2016) with Brian Sheppard, Zack Ryan, Colman Domingo, John Lescault; written and directed by Joseph Graham. Jim (Zack Ryan) is on an empty stage, practicing a speech from Romeo And Juliet. From the third scene of Act III, he recites: “’Tis torture, not mercy. Heaven is here,/Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog/And little mouse, every unworthy thing,/Live here in heaven and may look on her;/But Romeo may not. More validity,/more courtship lives/In carrion flies than Romeo.” He forgot “More honorable state” before “more courtship lives.” And after this, he breaks, saying, “Fuck… Fuck Romeo, fuck, fucking Juliet.” He lies down on the stage, repeating “banished,” sometimes pronouncing it with two syllables, something with three. He calms himself, then sits up and continues: “They may seize/On the white wonder of dear Juliet’s hand/And steal immortal blessing from her lips,/Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,/Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.” He pauses, then continues: “Though Romeo may not, he is banished.” Jim is then interrupted.

- Blast From The Past  (1999) with Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek. When Adam (Brendan Fraser) is looking for a girlfriend, Eve (Alicia Silverstone) encourages him by saying “Go on, Romeo.”
- Blobermouth  (1991)  This movie is basically The Blob, but with a silly dubbing.  One of the characters is constantly quoting Shakespeare, particularly the first line of Richard The Third.  He also does the "my kingdom for a horse" line, some bits from Julius Caesar, a bit from Hamlet, and this reference to Romeo And Juliet: "What rock through yonder window breaks" and he throws a rock through a window.
- Bloodlines  (2007) with Grace Johnston, Tracy Kay, Douglas Tait, Jason Padgett; directed by Stephen Durham. The song during the closing credits, as we see one of the clan is still alive, has these lines: “Families have their rivalries, gang leaders and homeboys/Like Montague and Capulet, Hatfield and McCoy.”
- Bloodrunners  (2017) with Ice-T, Michael McFadden, Chris James Boylan; directed by Dan Lantz. When Jack (Michael McFadden) and Sam (Dan McGlaughlin) arrive early at Chesterfield’s, they tease Willie (Chris James Boylan), who works there but also works at the brothel doing odd jobs for the madam. Willie is also in love with the madam’s daughter, leading Jack to call him, “a regular Romeo.” 
- Came The Brawn  (1938) This is a Little Rascals short film directed by Gordon Douglas.  Alfalfa is trying to come up with someone to play the Masked Marvel, someone he can beat in the wrestling ring.  In walks Waldo, a nerdy kid, reading aloud from Julius Caesar.  From Act III Scene ii he reads, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."  He then trips over a box.  Then, in a later scene, the nerdy kid - now dressed as the Masked Marvel - is reading aloud from Hamlet.  He only manages to say, "Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer -" before Butch interrupts him, saying, "All right, Shakespeare, can the chatter and hand over that wrestling suit."  And then during the wrestling match, Waldo steps out, reading aloud from Romeo And Juliet.  He says, "Good night. Good night.  Parting is such sweet sorrow that I'll say good night till it be morrow" (from Act II Scene i).  And then, if that weren't enough, the end of the short finds Waldo wooing Darla with these words from Romeo And Juliet: "Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek."  Darla chooses him over Alfalfa, and tells him to continue.  As they exit, he says, "Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear..." (also from Romeo And Juliet).
- Can-Can  (1960) with Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier; directed by Walter Lang.  This musical has one reference to Romeo And Juliet.  As Monsieur Barriere tries to cheer up Judge Forrestier after Simone breaks off their engagement, he says, "As Juliet cried into Romeo's ear, 'Romeo, why not face the fact, my dear? It was just one of those things.'"

- The Caretakers  (1963) with Robert Stack, Polly Bergen, Joan Crawford. At the beginning of the film, Lorna Melford (Polly Bergen) purchases a ticket to see West Side Story, a popular adaptation of Romeo And Juliet. We see the film’s name on the marquee before she purchases the ticket. 
- Decadent Evil  (2005)  with Phil Fondacaro, Jill Michelle; directed by Charles Band.  This silly horror film has one Shakespeare reference.  Ivan says, "I hate to break it to you, Romeo.  I think your little Juliet's a vampire."  
- Deception  (2008) with Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman; directed by Marcel Langenegger. Jonathan (Ewan McGregor) gets involved in a weird dating group, The List. A set of rules governs each encounter. Jonathan talks to Wyatt (Hugh Jackman), the man who introduced him to The List, after meeting a girl he’d seen before in the subway. Jonathan tells him he broke all the rules. Wyatt says: “Well, that’s extremely naughty of you. So who is she, Romeo?”
- Defending Your Life  (1991) with Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn; directed by Albert Brooks. This wonderful comedy has a reference to Romeo And Juliet. When Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) eats breakfast in Judgment City, the menu includes this Romeo And Juliet reference: “Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thou salads?”
- Dish Dogs  (2000) with Sean Astin, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy; directed by Robert Kubilos. Jason (Matthew Lillard) tells Morgan (Sean Astin) he’s going to marry Molly. Morgan asks him what he likes about Molly, and Jason tells him, “I like the way she smells.” Morgan says, “Jason, a rose by another other name still has thorns.”

- Dom Hemingway  (2013) with Jude Law, Richard E. Grant. A woman named Melody tells Dom that her cousin acted in a commercial. Dom (Jude Law) replies: “I acted once. I played the apothecary in Romeo And Juliet in reform school. I was pretty good, but I didn’t have the stomach for it.” He continues, saying he didn’t want to have to service the drama teacher to get better roles. “The poor bastard who played Romeo, he was being tossed since he was thirteen. Perv gave him all the good parts even though he couldn’t act a damn.”
- Enemy Of Women  (1944) with Claudia Drake, Wolfgang Zilzer, Sigrid Gurie, Gloria Stewart; directed by Alfred Zeisler. This strange World War II propaganda film has references to Romeo And Juliet. Maria (Claudia Drake) is talking with Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels about her career choice of acting. She says that her teacher has promised to let her study Juliet. Goebbels replies, “I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful Juliet.” Maria then hands him a copy of the play, asking him to help her with the scene. She stands before him, and they do part of the famous scene, Act II Scene i. Maria begins: “This bud of love by Summer’s rip’ning breath/May prove a beauteous flow’r when next we meet./Good night, good night! As sweet repose and rest/Come to thy heart as that within my breast.” Goebbels then says, “O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfy’d?” Maria replies, “What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?” Goebbels reads, “Th’ exchange of thy love’s faithful vow for mine.” Maria says, “I gave thee mine before thou didst request it,/And yet I would it were to give again.” Goebbels says, “Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?” Maria replies, “But to be frank and give it thee again.” At that point, Goebbels loses control and embraces her, saying, “Maria.” But she pushes him away, and he falls over. She then laughs. A little later there is another Romeo And Juliet reference, when Maria goes to Goebbels five years later. He’s more powerful, more confident. Goebbels says to her, “Amazing what has become of the little Juliet. No doubt you have found many Romeos since then.” Goebbels then makes her a star.
- Ginger Snaps  (2000) with Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Mimi Rogers, Kris Lemche; directed by John Fawcett. When Brigitte and Ginger go to see Sam, who may be able to help them with their lycanthropy problem, Ginger mutters to herself, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
- Girls Just Want To Have Fun  (1985) with Sarah Jessica Parker, Jonathan Silverman, Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty; directed by Alan Metter. In the parking lot outside the dance contest, Drew (Jonathan Silverman) hits on a girl he sees only from behind. When she turns around, it turns out to be Maggie Malene (Shannen Doherty), his friend's younger sister. His friend, Jeff (Lee Montgomery), teases him, "So do all women throw themselves at your feet, or is it just the ones that can't reach any higher? Come on, Romeo." And they head into the contest.
- The Grissom Gang (1971) with Kim Darby, Scott Wilson, Connie Stevens; directed by Robert Aldrich.  When the gang meets Anna (Connie Stevens), they're of course all taken with her. Ma says to Doc, "You concentrate on handlin' what you got, Romeo."  Then later when the police enter the Grissoms' swank hideout where Slim Grissom kept Barbara captive, one cop says, "I still can't believe it."  The other says, "Yeah, Romeo and Juliet."
- Halloween  (2007) with Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton; directed by Rob Zombie. In this awful remake of the classic horror film, director Rob Zombie very unimaginatively uses the song “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” Twice. The second time we distinctly hear the line “Romeo and Juliet” just before Linda calls Laurie.
- The Happy House  (2013) with Khan Baykal, Aya Cash, Marceline Hugot, Kathleen McNenny; written and directed by D.W. Young. At a bed and breakfast, Wendy and Joe tell the story of how they met. Joe says he was unemployed at the time. Wendy comments, “As usual.” Joe explains, “I freelance.” Wendy snidely remarks, “That’s one way of putting it.” Linda (the sister of the woman who owns the bed and breakfast) says, “A euphemism by any other name,” a reference to Juliet’s line from Act II of Romeo And Juliet, “A rose by any other name” (or, the preferable Q2 reading, “A rose by any other word”).
- Harold And Maude  (1971) with Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Ellen Geer; written by Colin Higgins; directed by Hal Ashby.  My favorite film has a wonderful Romeo And Juliet reference. Harold's mother has arranged some dates for him through a computer dating service.  He has scared the first two away. The third is an actress named Sunshine Dore (played by Ellen Geer).  Harold (Bud Cort) stages a hari-kari scene in front of her.  But being an actress, she doesn't buy it for a moment.  She's not scared off like the other girls. She says, "Oh, Harold. Oh, that was marvelous. It had the ring of truth."  She then takes off her hat and says, "I played Juliet in the Sunshine Playhouse. Louie thought it was my best performance."  She then goes into actor mode. She puts her hat upside down next to Harold's head, and says, "What's here?" She picks up the hat, and continues: "A cup, closed in my true love's hand?"  She lifts the hat to her face and sniffs it.  "Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end."  At that point, Harold gies up the act of being dead, and turns his head toward her.  Sunshine picks up the knife Harold had used and says, "O happy dagger!"  She tests it on her palm, making certain that it is fake, and repeats, "O happy dagger."  She touches her chest and says, "This is thy sheath. There rest."  She stabs herself, saying, "And let me die."  She falls to the floor.  Harold picks up the knife and stands, just as his mother enters the room.  She sees Sunshine on the floor, apparently dead, and exclaims, "Harold, that was your last date."  And that's the end of the scene.  Every time I watch this film, I wonder what happened next.  How did he get rid of her?
- Hell Town  (2015) with Debbie Rochon, Jennifer Grace; directed by Steve Balderson and Elizabeth Spear. This delightful horror comedy contains a reference to Romeo And Juliet. Laura, after hearing Butch declare his love for Trish and not her, tells him: “But we are star-crossed lovers. We’re supposed to be together forever.”
- The Hit  (1984) with John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth; directed by Stephen Frears. When Harry (Bill Hunter) nervously turns to Willie Parker (Terence Stamp), he says, “I don’t know you either, but what’s in a name?” The line “What’s in a name” is, of course, spoken by Juliet while Romeo listens in.
- I Married A Witch (1942) with Veronica Lake, Fredric March, Susan Hayward; directed by Rene Clair. A gorgeous witch, Jennifer (Veronica Lake), shows up in the bedroom of Wallace Wooley (Fredric March) after he brought her out of a burning building. He believes she is infatuated with him, but soon he’s fallen for her. He tells her: “Why, Romeo and Juliet knew right away. That’s what Shakespeare’s trying to tell us.” 
- Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star  (2002) directed by Peter Fitzgerald. This documentary has a few Shakespeare references, including one to Romeo And Juliet. Actually, it shows a brief clip from the balcony scene done by Norma Shearer and John Gilbert in Hollywood Revue Of 1929. (see also The Taming Of The Shrew, Shakespeare)
- Just Before I Go  (2014) with Seann William Scott, Olivia Thirlby, Connie Stevens; directed by Courteney Cox. Ted’s nephew is in the school bathroom. A bully comes in, teasing another student who is named Romeo: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” He then says: “So, Romeo, what is it? Are you a top or a bottom?” (see also Hamlet)
 - The Last House  (2015) with Ezra Buzzington, Lauren Walsh, Jason Mewes; directed by Sean Cain.  In this odd horror film, Hate (Ezra Buzzington) says to Love (Lauren Walsh), “Tell me your name.” To which she replies, “A stranger will still be a stranger by any other name.” This is sort of a play on Juliet’s line, “that which we call a rose/By any other word would smell as sweet,” or, more closely, Q1’s “By any other name would smell as sweet.”  
- The Last Starfighter  (1984) with Lance Guest, Dan O’Herlihy, Catherine Mary Stewart; directed by Nick Castle. The substitute Alex is trying to learn how to appear more human with Alex’s girlfriend, Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart). He listens to another couple and repeats what he hears the man say. One thing he repeats is, “You’re my Juliet, my Venus.”
- A Little Romance  (1979) with Diane Lane, Thelonious Bernard, Laurence Olivier; directed by George Roy Hill. This delightful movie has several references to Romeo And Juliet. Julius (Laurence Olivier) accompanies two thirteen-year-old children from Paris to Venice. At dinner in Verona along the way he says to an American couple, “People think that Romeo and Juliet were the product of Shakespeare’s imagination. That is not so, it’s not so at all. As a matter of fact, Romeo and Juliet were born right here in Verona.” The Americans interrupt for a moment. Then Julius continues: “Romeo and Juliet came from right here in Verona. Tomorrow we can see Juliet’s tomb, and the balcony.” The next morning, room service brings Julius his breakfast. He asks, “Where are Romeo and Julieta?” The woman replies: “Romeo and Julieta? Oh, the little boy and girl. They couldn’t wait. They got up early and went sight-seeing.” And then we Lauren (Diane Lane) and Daniel (Thelonious Bernard) on the street. Lauren says: “I still can’t believe we’ve actually seen it. I mean, the real Juliet’s balcony.” Then later, when they think they won’t make it to Venice, Daniel says: “Well, at least we got to Verona. Almost as good as Venice. After all, Verona was good enough for Romeo and Juliet. True, it didn’t turn out so good for them, but…” 
- Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search For A Kool Place  (2011) This documentary has a few Shakespeare references, including one to Romeo And Juliet. In voice over: “She and Babbs then developed a great affair since Romeo And Juliet.” “She” is referring to Gretchen.
- The Manchurian Candidate  (1962)  with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Narvey, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh; directed by John Frankenheimer.  This excellent film has a reference to Romeo And Juliet.  The morning after Raymond Shaw marries Jocelyn Jordan, she turns on the television and the newscaster is mentioning their marriage. Jocelyn takes Raymond's hand and says, "My Romeo."  The newscaster says, "this Montague-Capulet note will have little effect on the feud now raging between the two party leaders."  The editing is odd.  She should have said "My Romeo" after the television made the "Montague-Capulet" remark.
- Master Will Shakespeare (1936) directed by Jacques Tourneur.  This short film tells the tale of William Shakespeare moving to London and beginning his career in the theatre.  Most of it is narrated.  But then there is a scene where Shakespeare is in a tavern, reciting his own lines from near the end of The Tragedy Of Romeo And Juliet to his glass.  This short also includes a bit of the balcony scene from the 1936 production with Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer.
- Mildred Pierce  (1945) with Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott; directed by Michael Curtiz. Veda (Ann Blyth) tells Wally (Jack Carson) that she and Ted have made up their minds to marry. Wally says to Ted, “Congratulations, Romeo.” (see also Othello)
- Mischief  (1985) with Doug McKeon, Chris Nash, Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelly Preston; written by Noel Black; directed by Mel Damski.  This wonderful teen comedy that takes place in 1956 has one brief reference to Romeo And Juliet.  At a scene in a drive-in, Kenny (D.W. Brown) thinks Jonathan (Doug McKeon) is trying to move in on his girl, Bunny (Catherine Mary Stewart).  So at the concession stand, he knocks over Jonathan's tray of drinks and says, "Did you get much, Romeo?"  Of course, Jonathan is actually interested in Marilyn (Kelly Preston).
- Monster Pies  (2013) with Tristan Barr, Lucas Linehan, Rohana Hayes, Katrina Maree; written and directed by Lee Galea. Romeo And Juliet plays a significant role in this wonderful film about first love. In an early classroom scene, the teacher says, “In the seventeenth century, Shakespeare wrote a lot of famous plays.” She then says, “Now Romeo And Juliet is considered to be one of the most famous love stories of all time.” (Of course, Romeo And Juliet was written at the end of the sixteenth century, not at the beginning of the seventeenth.) A little later, in another classroom scene, the teacher holds up a copy of Romeo And Juliet – the Signet Classic edition, for those who are curious. The teacher asks William (the new student) to read. William begins with Romeo’s lines from Act I Scene i: “Alas that love, whose view is muffled still.” The teacher assigns a project for all the students. In groups of two or three, they must do their own modern interpretations of Romeo And Juliet. Mike and Will partner up and decide to do their project as a horror film. They decide to use the Wolf Man and Frankenstein as their characters. Will says, “Maybe the Wolf Man wants to share his transformation with Frankenstein, like a way to get closer to him.” Mike plays Frankenstein, who acts as Juliet, while Will plays the Wolf Man, who takes Romeo’s part. They work on the scene where Romeo and Juliet meet. Will says, “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do.” Will then kisses him on the cheek. Later, Mike describes their project to the class: “Our film tells the story of two traditional movie monsters who find love with each other while acting out Romeo And Juliet. Our main characters are Frankenstein, born as a monster but not accepted for being different, and the Wolf Man, trying to overcome his new changes as he enters into the world of the monsters. They’re not out to hurt anybody, though they’re cruelly misjudged and hunted down by the villagers, who fear them.”
- My Darling Clementine  (1946)  with Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Walter Brennan, Cathy Downs; directed by John Ford.  This western about Wyatt Earp has a few Shakespeare references, including the famous soliloquy from Hamlet, and one short reference to Romeo And Juliet.  As Granville Thorndyke is getting on the coach to leave town, he says to a woman, "Parting is such sweet sorrow." 
- My Own Private Idaho  (1991) with River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves; directed by Gus Van Sant.  This film is steeped in Shakespeare.  While being a loose adaptation of The First Part Of King Henry The Fourth (with bits from The Second Part Of King Henry The Fourth), it also contains a funny reference to Romeo And Juliet.  In the scene where the coverboys on the magazines come to life, the magazine titled Torso has an article titled "Julio And Ron Dewet."  That magazine cover also contains references to King Lear, Two Gentlemen Of Verona and Measure For Measure. 
- National Treasure  (2004) with Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Sean Bean, Jon Voight; directed by Jon Turteltaub. Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is flirting with a government employee named Abigail (Diane Kruger) at a gala. And his accomplice tells him, “Come on, Romeo, get out of there.”
- Neverlake  (2013) with Daisy Anne Keeping, David Brandon, Joy Allison Tanner, Martin Kashirokov; directed by Riccardo Paoletti. Jenny (Daisy Anne Keeping) befriends a group of sick children and reads poetry to them. Peter, the oldest child, says he only likes tragic love stories, stories in which the lovers die at the end. So Jenny gets a copy of Romeo And Juliet. We then see her reading the play to them. She reads from the prologue: “The fearful passage of their death-marked love,/And the continuance of their parents’ rage,/Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,/Is now the two hours traffic of our stage.” She then says to the children: “So, do you see what Shakespeare’s doing? From the very first lines, he’s telling us how the story will end.” She then goes back to an earlier line from the prologue and reads, “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” The children are suddenly distracted, leading Jenny to ask, “Romeo And Juliet boring you already?”
- Romeo Must Die (2000) with Jet Li, Isaiah Washington, Delroy Lindo; directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. Obviously, the film’s title is a reference to Romeo And Juliet, and the film itself is a very loose adaptation of the play. And then late in the film, there is a direct reference when Mac (Isaiah Washington) says to Han (Jet Li), “Sorry, Romeo, but you gotta die.”
- Saturday Night Fever (1977) with John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney; directed by John Badham. Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) agrees to go out for coffee with Tony (John Travolta). On the way in, she mentions Zeffirelli’s Romeo And Juliet. He responds, “Romeo And Juliet, yeah? I read that in high school. That’s Shakespeare, right?” She says, “No, it’s Zeffirelli, the director of the movie.” Tony says, “You know what I never understood about that Romeo And Juliet? I never understood why Romeo took the poison so quick, you know? I feel like he could have waited or something.” She says, “That’s the way they took the poison in those days.”
- Soldiers Of Change  (2001) with Heath Freeman, Stacey Dash, Clifton Davis, Charles Shaughnessy; directed by Peter Manoogian and Joshua D. Rose. Randy (Heath Freeman) is admiring Hallie’s beauty. He says, “Look at you in this moonlight.” He then quotes Shakespeare: “She doth hang upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.” Hallie (Stacey Dash) right away recognizes the passage, and says, “Romeo And Juliet.” She then says: “I love the play. I just don’t like how it ends.” The passage in question is from Act I Scene iv, and the lines are actually: “O she doth teaches the torches to burn bright./It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/As a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear.” Then near the end of the film, after Randy has died in Vietnam, Hallie quotes from the play at the funeral: “When he shall die/Take him and cut him out in little stars/And he will make the face of heaven so fine/That all the world will be in love with Night/And pay no worship to the garish Sun.” Those lines are from the first speech of Act III Scene ii.
- Stage Beauty  (2004) with Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Tom Wilkinson, Ben Chaplin, Hugh Bonneville; directed by Richard Eyre.  This film stars Billy Crudup as Ned Kynaston, a 17th century actor famous for playing the female roles in Shakespeare's plays.  His Desdemona is greatly admired, and Othello is the main Shakespeare play focused on in this film.  But fans also mention that they love his Juliet.
- Stage Door Canteen  (1943) with Cheryl Walker, William Terry, Marjorie Riordan, Katharine Cornell, Katharine Hepburn; directed by Frank Borzage.  This odd bit of wartime propaganda has a nice long Romeo And Juliet sequence.  As the soldiers are in line, getting food, one of them says, "You're Katharine Cornell, aren't you?"  Katharine replies, "Yes. How'd you know?"  He says, "Oh, our dramatic coach at school has your picture. He said we hadn't lived until we'd seen you play Juliet.  See, we put it on, and I was Romeo."  Katharine says, "You were?  What scene did you like best?"  The soldier says, "You remember where Romeo swears by the moon?"  Katharine nods, and he launches into the scene.  "Lady by yonder blessed moon I swear/That tips with silver all these fruit tree tops."  Katharine Cornell takes the part of Juliet and responds, "O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon/That monthly changes in her circled orb/Lest thy love prove likewise variable."  The soldier asks, "What shall I swear by?"  She replies, "Do not swear at all./Or if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self/Which is the god of my idolatry/And I'll believe thee."  He says, "If my heart's dear love-"  Katharine says, "No, do not swear. Although I joy in thee/I have no joy in this contract tonight/It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden/Too like the lightning that doth cease to be/Ere one could say it lightens. Sweet, good night."  She then skips to the end of the scene, saying, "Parting is such sweet sorrow/That I shall say good night till it be morrow."  It's a really sweet moment, broken up by another soldier saying, "Hey, what's holding up the line?"  Katharine says, "A little unrationed ham being served. You're holding up the works, Romeo."  She hands him an orange.  He tells her, "I'll never eat this orange, Juliet. I'll just keep it to remember."  Later, in the barracks, he says, "Some party, wasn't it, Dakota?"  Dakota replies, "Sure was, Romeo." 
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country  (1991)  with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Christopher Plummer, Kim Cattrall; directed by Nicholas Meyer.  In this, what is one of the best Star Trek films, there are many references to Shakespeare's works, including one to Romeo And Juliet. When the Klingons are preparing to leave the Enterprise, General Chang says to Kirk, "Parting is such sweet sorrow."
- Stroker Ace  (1983) with Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Jim Nabors, Parker Stevenson, Loni Anderson; directed by Hal Needham. This poor comedy about car-racing includes a surprising Shakespeare reference. It’s actually in the song playing during the opening credit sequence. There is a line in the song: “and a racetrack Romeo.” The song is called “Stroker Ace,” and it’s by The Charlie Daniels Band.
- Stripperland  (2011) with Ben Sheppard, Maren McGuire, Jamison Challeen; directed by Sean Skelding. There is sort of a reference to Romeo And Juliet in this horror comedy. On the wall in Idaho’s bedroom is a poster for Tromeo And Juliet. (see also The Tempest) 
- Student Bodies  (1981) with Kristen Riter, Matt Goldsby; directed by Mickey Rose. This horror comedy has a reference to Romeo And Juliet. The killer interrupts the movie to ask the audience, "Who could I be?" He goes through a list of possible suspects including, "Nurse Krud and Ms. Van Dyke. What's in a name? Everything."  A reference, of course, to Juliet's line in the balcony scene.
- Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999) with Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Barry Watson; directed by Kevin Williamson. Jo Lynn (Marisa Coughlan) picks up Mrs. Tingle’s dog and says, “Oh, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Then to Mrs. Tingle, she says, “Hey, Mrs. Tingle, what’s your dog’s name? It’s not Romeo, is it?” Mrs. Tingle tells her, “You could never play Juliet. You haven’t the commitment, the soul.”
- Theater Of Blood  (1973)  with Vincent Price, Diana Rigg; directed by Douglas Hickox. In this movie, an actor kills his critics by methods from Shakespeare's plays.  There are references to  many plays, including Romeo And Juliet.
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon  (2009) with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Launter, Billy Burke; directed by Chris Weitz. This teenage vampire film actually has several references to Romeo And Juliet. In fact, it opens with some voice over of lines from Act II Scene vi: “These violent delights have violent ends/And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,/Which, as they kiss, consume.” Those lines are spoken by Friar Lawrence to Romeo, and in this movie are spoken by Bella (Kristen Stewart). Bella then wakes from a dream, and a copy of Romeo And Juliet is on the bed beside her. Then when she gets to school a classmate tells her that today is the big day, “R and J essay due.” Another student says, “Wherefore art thou Bella?” Then in class the students watch a video of Romeo And Juliet. We see a bit of the tomb scene, beginning with Romeo’s line, “Oh my love, my wife!/Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath,/Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.” The teacher, next to the screen, mouths the words along with the film. While they watch from the back of the room, Bella and Edward the vampire (Robert Pattinson) have a conversation. Edward tells Bella: “There are worse tragedies. Look at Romeo. He killed his true love out of sheer stupidity. I do envy him one thing.” Bella asks, “Juliet’s like perfect?” Edward says: “Not the girl, the suicide. It’s nearly impossible for some people. For human’s, a little poison, a dagger to the heart, so many different options.” Edward is called on by the teacher to recite some lines, and does so: “O, here/Will I set up my everlasting rest/And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars/From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!/Arms, take your last embrace! And, lips, O you/The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss/A dateless bargain to engrossing death!” Those lines are from a speech of Romeo’s in Act V Scene iii.
- A Very Brady Sequel  (1996) with Shelley Long, Gary Cole, Christine Taylor, Tim Matheson; directed by Arlene Sanford. When the Brady family and Alice arrive in Hawaii to rescue Carol from an imposter husband, Peter goes to kiss the girl who greets them at the airport. Alice pulls him away, saying, "Come on, Romeo."
- Wagner’s Jews  (2013) This documentary contains a reference to Romeo And Juliet. Jan Swafford, a Brahms biographer, says: “It was almost like the Hatfields and the McCoys, or the Montagues and the Capulets. You were either a Brahmsian or a Wagnerian in those days, and there was not a lot of crossing.”
- Wax Works  (1934) In this Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoon,Oswald finds a baby on his doorstep and reluctantly takes him in.  In the middle of the night the baby has fun with wax statues.  And we get a short variation of the balcony scene from Romeo And Juliet. Romeo sings, "Oh my Juliet, where are you?"  Juliet appears on the balcony, and says, "I'm here, my lover. Yoo-hoo!"  Romeo sings, "Shall I croon beneath this moon?"  He climbs the ladder to Juliet, but is pushed off the ladder by Groucho Marx. Groucho then grabs Juliet and says to Romeo, "Not tonight, Romeo." 
- Wedding Bros.  (2008) with Dan Fogler, Brendan Sexton III, Zoe Lister-Jones. This comedy about two brothers working as wedding videographers has a reference to Romeo And Juliet. While Anthony is outside flirting with the assistant still photographer, someone off screen calls to him, “Hey, Romeo, your boss is looking for you.”
- Were The World Mine  (2008) with Tanner Cohen, Wendy Robie, Judy McLane, Zelda Williams, Ricky Goldman, Nathaniel David Becker; directed by Tom Gustafson. This delightful film has as its focus an all-male school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But there are other Shakespeare references as well. Timothy creates his own love juice, and when his friend Max enters his room, some of the flower’s juice squirts into his eyes, causing him to fall instantly in love with Timothy. Timothy tells Max to leave, and Max quotes Romeo And Juliet: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
- The Whole Shebang  (2001) with Stanley Tucci, Bridget Fonda, Giancarlo Giannini. Val (Bridget Fonda) is seeing Joey (Anthony De Sando). Val’s father-in-law does not approve, so she tries to hide the relationship from him. Joey drives her home, and Val asks, “Why are you stopping here?” Joey responds, “Because now you live here.” She mentions her father-in-law and mother-in-law. Joey says: “Val, please, what are we, Romeo and Juliet with all the sneaking around? Enough.”
- Whoops! I’m A Cowboy  (1937) This Betty Boop short film has a reference to Romeo And Juliet. When a silly little man proposes marriage to Betty, she tells him no, then sings a song about the man she wants to marry. The song includes the line, “My Romeo must be a wild and woolly he-man.”
- Who’s Harry Crumb?  (1989) with John Candy, Jeffrey Jones, Annie Potts; directed by Paul Flaherty. Harry Crumb (John Candy) explains his theory about the kidnaping to Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones), and in the process reveals that Helen Downing (Annie Potts) is having an affair. “She’s doing the bad thing with Vince Barnes, that two-bit country club Romeo,” Harry says.

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