Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, the iconic stars of Franco Zeffirelli’s classic 1968 Romeo and Juliet film, were reunited this week for one magical night of cinema history

Images by Jared Cowan

On Tuesday 6th December at the historic Aero Theatre in Santa Monica (Los Angeles), Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey – Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet – were reunited.

Surprisingly, this was the first time they had ever done a post-screening Q&A together. People had flown in from around the US and even as far afield as Belgium to be at this very special event. Organised by Shakespeare Lives, the British Council, the BFI and the GREAT Britain campaign, it marked the end of a memorable Shakespeare Lives year.

Both actors spoke of their delight in making the classic 1968 film with Franco Zeffirelli, and it was obvious that both actors still have a huge amount of affection for one another, as they riffed off one another’s anecdotes.

For many years, there has been no 35mm print of this classic film – the only Shakespeare film to have received an Academy Award. The audience on Tuesday were treated to the new digital restoration which looked and sounded amazing on the big screen.

The audience applauded scenes as if they were watching an opera and there were two standing ovations for the much-loved stars of the film, who stayed in the auditorium to sign pictures and take selfies.

Read about the BFI’s year of Shakespeare on Film.


  1. Diane Wilshere says:

    It is not the only Snakepeare film to win an Academy Award. Laurence Oliver’s 1948 Hamlet won both best actor and best picture.

  2. As a high school student in the 80′s in Kansas you were my first exposure to Shakespeare’s language and the idea of love. You changed my life. Thank you.

  3. I was 12 when this awesome movie was out. I fell head over heals in love with Len Whiting. He was so gorgeous. I learned almost the entire movie by heart and would take my book of it with me to the movies to watch and follow along in the book. Watched it over and over. I have the album and the video of this exceptional movie! Loved it then and still do now at 60!

    • I’m 58 and I was in love with him too – and half the cast including Michael York and Robert Stephens – what a virile Prince! Thought Olivia Hussey was a ballsy Juliet – a really driven girl. You know something – WE were so lucky – so many of the best things happened during our era of youth -and a good period of peaceful time in which to grow and enjoy the best of recent modern culture. We had the best stars; but the internet and Facebook etc… hadn’t yet frazzled everyones’ brains…so we also had the classical education and intelligence with which to appreciate it all. Romeo and Juliet of Zefferelli is just a masterpiece.

  4. D'Arcy Vachon says:

    Olivia Hussey is a living breathing radiant soul.

  5. Murray Little says:

    The film is an absolute delight to see and enjoy full stop as whiting and Hussey encapsulated so well in the dream of Romeo and Juliet . Every tribute also to Zeffirelli whose softness skill and delicacy in communicating this incredible story.
    Murray (Auet).

  6. I was 13 when the movie came out..i liked leonard, but i fell in love with Michael York!

  7. I so want a DVD of Romeo and Juliet but can’t find one. I did buy one but it will not work on my DVD player. Was warned about this after I ordered it and received it. Can you help me find one?

  8. bonjour.
    c’est les plus beau amitié que vous réunir
    je vous admire vôtres personnalités
    Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey
    de swisse je vous envoiye ma pence de l’Amour et admiration

  9. Romeo and Juliet is absolutely a tribute to Director Zeffirelli’s talent in choosing and directing two of the most amazing actors of all time! It was so beautifully written and I go as far as once in a lifetime movie! I am happy to say that it was made during my lifetime! Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting are both amazing talent and made it so real! These two beautiful people have a special place in my heart! I thank you for this!

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