Verona is blighted by the long-standing feud between two of its powerful families, the Montagues and the Capulets; sworn enemies whose violent clashes disrupt the life of the city. Romeo and Juliet - heirs to the rival houses - meet at a masque held by the Capulets and, initially unaware of each other's identities, quickly fall in love.
Contriving to marry in secret, the young lovers recruit the help of Juliet's nursemaid and a local friar who believes that the union may reconcile their families. But these plans are soon thrown into chaos when Romeo is banished from Verona for the revenge-killing of a Capulet and Juliet's parents announce an arranged marriage for their daughter. Hoping to console a desperate Juliet and return Romeo from exile, Friar Laurence concocts an elaborate plan to reverse the fortunes of the star-crossed pair.