Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department



Rivlin, Elizabeth


This thesis is an audience-centric study of the socio-political aspects of three late twentieth-century film versions of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996), Lloyd Kaufman's Tromeo and Juliet (1996), and Andrzej Bartkowiak's Romeo Must Die (2000). It explores how each film utilizes popular culture and late twentieth-century American society in tandem with themes and concepts from Shakespeare's play. It then analyzes the different techniques each director used to create a sense of recognition for the audience through the use of these various elements. It looks at how Luhrmann's film worked to bring Shakespeare's language and characters to a new audience. It then discusses how Kaufman's film uses the idea of Shakespeare to challenge the establishments of both art and society. Finally, the thesis ends with a discussion on Bartkowiak's film and the movement towards Hollywood Shakespeare.