The Taming of the Shrew (1967 film)

The Taming of the Shrew (Italian: La Bisbetica domata) is a 1967 American-Italian romantic comedy film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Shakespeare's Kate and Petruchio.

The Taming of the Shrew
Original film poster
Directed byFranco Zeffirelli
Produced byElizabeth Taylor, Richard McWhorter
Screenplay byPaul Dehn
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Franco Zeffirelli
Based onThe Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare
StarringElizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton
Natasha Pyne
Michael Hordern
Music byNino Rota
CinematographyOswald Morris
Edited byPeter Taylor
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • March 8, 1967 (1967-03-08)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million
Box office$8,000,000 (North America)
$12,000,000 (worldwide)


Baptista Minola is attempting to marry off his two daughters; however, he will marry off his youngest, Bianca only if someone will marry his eldest, Katharina. Katharina is an ill-tempered shrewish woman but a lusty young nobleman, Petruchio, takes on the challenge of taming and marrying her. A subplot involves the wooing of Bianca by several suitors including handsome Lucentio, foppish Hortensio, and elderly Gremio.


Production details

The film, made in English but shot in Italy, cuts much of the original dialogue, including much of the subplot of Lucentio and Bianca, and all of the Christopher Sly framing device.

Taylor plays Kate’s final, controversial speech without any obvious irony (such as Mary Pickford’s wink in the 1929 film); however, her taming is apparently undercut by her quick exit from the banquet, which forces Burton’s Petruchio to chase after her amid jeers from the other men. According to Harold Bloom's take on the play, Katherina is “advising women how to rule absolutely, while feigning obedience”.[1]

The film was originally intended to be a vehicle for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Taylor and Burton put over a million dollars into the production and, instead of a salary, took a percentage of profits. The film made $12 million worldwide and was generally liked by the critics.


Box office

The Taming of the Shrew grossed $8 million in North America,[2] earning $3,540,000 in theatrical rentals during 1967,[3] making it the 25th highest grossing picture of 1967. The film grossed $12 million worldwide.[4]

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from modern critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 86% of professional critics gave the film a positive review, based on 21 reviews with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus states: "It may not be reverent enough for purists, but this Taming of the Shrew is too funny – and fun – for the rest of us to resist."[5]


The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Costume Design (Danilo Donati and Irene Sharaff), and Best Art Direction (Lorenzo Mongiardino, John DeCuir, Elven Webb, Giuseppe Mariani, Dario Simoni and Luigi Gervasi).[6]

See also


  1. Bloom, Harold (2005). "An Essay by Harold Bloom". The Taming of the Shrew. The Annotated Shakespeare. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 161. ISBN 9780300109825.
  2. "The Taming of the Shrew". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  3. "Big Rental Films of 1967". Variety. Penske Business Media. 3 January 1968. p. 25. Retrieved 5 July 2018. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
  4. "The Taming of the Shrew (1967): Business". IMDb. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  5. "The Taming of the Shrew (1967)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  6. "The Taming of the Shrew (1967): Awards". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
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