Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet is filled with evocative songs that enhance its mood and aesthetic. The film came out in 1996 and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Claire Danes as Juliet. Luhrmann’s adaptation takes place in the modern era but uses the original script of Shakespeare’s play. The cast of Romeo + Juliet also includes actor and comedian John Leguizamo and Paul Rudd of Marvel’s Ant-Man movies.
The soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet was released a few days ahead of the film itself, and the film’s original scores, composed by Craig Armstrong, Nellee Hooper, and Marius de Vries, were published later on. The movie album was immensely popular, making hit singles out of several of its featured songs. Romeo + Juliet’s soundtrack was even nominated for a Brit Award for Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording.
The music in Romeo + Juliet strengthens the emotional impact of the film, with intense love songs and mournful tracks that foreshadow its ultimate tragedy. Luhrmann’s flashy modernization of the Shakespeare play is underscored by contemporary rock and alternative tracks, including songs by Radiohead, Garbage, and Butthole Surfers. The soundtrack is such a central part of the film that silent segments convey an equally strong message, such as the scene in which the young lovers take their lives. Here is every song on the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and the scenes in which they appear.
“Pretty Piece of Flesh” by One Inch Punch – The Montague boys sing “Pretty Piece of Flesh” during the film’s opening scene when they confront the Capulets at a gas station.
“Talk Show Host” by Radiohead – “Talk Show Host” plays during Romeo’s introduction scene, as he hangs out at the beach in an angsty mood.
“Angel” by Gavin Friday – “Angel” plays for just a few seconds before the Capulet party as Juliet watches fireworks from her balcony, clad in a set of symbolic angel wings.
“Young Hearts Run Free” by Kym Mazelle – “Young Hearts Run Free” accompanies the scene in which Romeo and his friends prepare to crash the Capulet party, and resurfaces for a trippy dance number when they arrive.
“I’m Kissing You” (Love Theme from Romeo + Juliet) by Des’ree – “I’m Kissing You” is performed at the party in Romeo + Juliet as the title characters first meet through the fish tank, and can be heard again later in the film when Romeo goes to meet Juliet after killing Tybalt.
“You and Me Song” by The Wannadies – “You and Me Song” transitions between the end of the altered balcony scene and Romeo’s visit to Father Laruence, alongside a montage of the city skyline.
“When Doves Cry” by Quinton Tarver – Originally a Prince song, “When Doves Cry” is sung by the church choir when Romeo first meets with Father Laurence.
“Local God” by Everclear – “Local God” plays when Romeo returns to his buddies after seeing Father Laurence and the nurse comes to deliver a message from Juliet.
“Lovefool” by The Cardigans – In Romeo + Juliet, “Lovefool” leads into the scene in which the nurse conveys Romeo’s message of the wedding to Juliet.
“Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” by Quindon Tarver – A version of Rozalla’s song is performed by the choir when Juliet meets Romeo at the church for their wedding.
“Little Star” by Stina Nordenstam – “Little Star” plays softly in the background following Mercutio’s death scene, as Juliet delivers her “Come, Gentle Night” monologue and dreams of her future with Romeo.
“#1 Crush” by Garbage – “#1 Crush” plays in a mashup with “Talk Show Host” in the moments before Romeo learns of Juliet’s death.
“Exit Music (For A Film)” by Radiohead – The melancholy ballad “Exit Music (For A Film)” fittingly plays over the film’s closing credits.
The soundtrack for Romeo + Juliet also includes the bonus tracks “Whatever (I Had a Dream)” by Butthole Surfers and “To You I Bestow” by Mundy.