This scene, which does not appear in Shakespeare’s text, is omitted from the film. Instead, the first appearance is in Scene 12 after the riot has been quelled by the Prince. Romeo is seen walking up the incline of the street leading to the Montagues’ house, with a wild flower in his hand. This has lead to confused reviews, for example that Romeo’s absence from the fight portrays him as a “wimp” in this movie, or even more bizarre, that the clutching of a flower is a representation of 1960’s “flower power”. This short scene, had it been included, would have helped to explain both his absence (his mind is on his beloved Rosaline, and he wants some solitude) and the reason why he is holding a wild flower (as a continuity item).
As Leonard Whiting stated in interview in 1968, the direction he received from Zeffirelli was that this probably was Romeo’s first teenage “love”. He has fallen madly in love with Rosaline, and the irony is that she has probably hardly ever noticed him!
It also helps to explain his moody appearance when we first encounter him in Scene 12. He’s annoyed at the violent behaviour of his family and their main foes, which seems to to have disrupted his deeper and more important thoughts about the fair Rosaline.
Script content: © 1968, Paramount Pictures Corporation
This typescript version: © 2018, Peter Hibbert and the Romeo and Juliet 1968 Movie Database