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West Side Story Star_onStar_onStar_onStar_on 3.66666666666667 4.0 from 3 reviews
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Gang rivalry and ethnic tension on New York's West Side erupts in a ground-breaking musical. Loosely based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," the story follows the Jets and the Sharks as they fight for their turf while Tony and Maria fight for love. Features frenetic and brilliant choreography by co-director Robbins, who also directed the original Broadway show, and a high-caliber score by Bernstein and Sondheim. Wood's voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon and Jimmy Bryant dubbed Beymer's.

Home Vision Cinema, c/o Image Entertainment, 20525 Nordhoff St., Ste. 200, Chatsworth, CA 91311, URL: http://www.homevision.com

Available on Running time 151 minutes.

Cast and Crew

Genres
Musical Drama, Gangs, Modern Shakespeare, Top Grossing Films of 1961, Adapted from a Musical, Rebel Without a Cause, Romantic Drama, New York, New York, Obsessive Love, Dance Fever
Screenplay
Ernest Lehman
Cast
Yvonne Wilder, Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass
Cinematography
Daniel F. Fapp
Director
Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
Music
Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim
Producer
United Artists, Robert Wise

Awards

Oscars 1961: Art Dir./Set Dec., Color, Color Cinematog., Costume Des. (C), Director (Wise), Film Editing, Picture, Sound, Support. Actor (Chakiris), Support. Actress (Moreno), Scoring/Musical; AFI 1998: Top 100; Directors Guild 1961: Director (Wise), Director (Robbins); Golden Globes 1962: Film--Mus./Comedy, Support. Actor (Chakiris), Support. Actress (Moreno), Natl. Film Reg. 1997;; N.Y. Film Critics 1961: Film.

Visitor Reviews

West Side Story
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M.

First of all, I wish to start out by saying that I regret writing an excessively long review of West Side Story the last time, and wish to compensate a bit by making this one somewhat shorter. West Side Story is a timeless film that I never get tired of viewing, I always notice something knew about it, and it always feels like I'm seeing WSS for the very first time.

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Stacey

West Side Story came out in 1961 and has a total running time of 151 minutes. This musical film is very similar to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Yvonne Wilder and Russ Tamblyn star in this film. West Side Story is a musical set in New York City. There’s a rival between to street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. These two gangs started due to two feuding families. Tony is the former leader of the Jets who soon falls in love with Maria. Bernardo is the leader for the Sharks and his sister is Maria. Will their love be accepted between both feuding families? I really like this movie. It’s really good.

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M.

Loosely based on Shakespeare's renowned "Romeo & Juliet", West Side Story is a beautiful movie/musical classic about urban gang warfare, racial & ethnic tensions, delinquency and conflict with the law and love & romance that took place amid all the above-mentioned chaos on the pulsating, fingersnapping West Side of 1960's NYC. The Euro-American Jets, led by Riff, and the newly-arrived Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo, are vying for the small piece of turf that the two gangs must share. A melee breaks out on the playground, only to be broken up by Lt. Schrank and Ofcr. Krupke. Determined to drive the Sharks out, the Jets debate what to do, ultimately deciding to challenge Shark gangleader, Bernardo, to a rumble. Deciding that he needs a lieutenant, Riff calls on his old friend and ex-Jet leader, Tony, who now works fulltime at Doc's, to help. After being turned down by Tony afew times, Riff persuades his old friend to come to the dance that night at the gym. Tony, who has been looking for something more than gang and street life, reluctantly agrees. At the Bridal Shop where Anita and 17-year-old Maria, who has been brought to the United States to marry Chino, a delivery assistant, a Shark gang member and Bernardo's close friend, both work as seamstresses, Anita works to alter an old white communion dress for Maria to wear to the dance. Despite complaints from Maria about the neck not being low enough and attempts by Maria to distract Anita by talking about other things, Anita persists and finishes altering the dress for Maria, who tries it on, loves it and is enthused about going to the dance. Shortly afterwards, the Sharks come to call. At the dance, social worker Glad Hand makes a futile attempt to organize a "get-together" dance between the Jets & Sharks, who each go off with their own kind, and the dance immediately becomes a fierce competition between the two gangs. Later, Tony arrives, is greeted by Riff and Graziella, and then spots Maria from across the room. Tony & Maria meet, fall in love and begin dancing together, only to be pulled up short by an angry Bernardo, who orders Chino to take Maria home despite her protesting that it's only her first dance. Tensions between the Jets & Sharks, which have been steadily rising, worsen. At that point, Riff intervenes, insisting that he, Bernardo, the Jets & Sharks meet at Doc's Candy Store at midnight for a war council. Bernardo readily agrees. After bringing Anita home, Bernardo, Anita, the rest of the Sharks and their girls party up on their tenament rooftop, where they argue about the virtues and vices of the American experience. Tony and Maria, meanwhile, meet on the fire escape, introduce themselves to each other, and agree to meet at the Bridal Shop where Maria works, at six o'clock the next evening, when the Bridal Shop closes. The Jets and their girls arrive at Doc's Candy Store, tense and nervous about their upcoming meeting with the Sharks. While waiting, Ofcr. Krupke arrives, warns the Jets against troublemaking, and is lampooned by the Jets when he leaves. The Jets and their girls enter the Candy Store, and sit down, awating the Sharks' arrival. Riff then admonishes the girls to leave when the Sharks arrive. The other girls depart quietly, but Anybodys, a tomboy and sort of a Jets "wannabe", tries to make herself invisible by hiding, but is spotted by Riff, who gestures for her to go, despite her "let me stay" look. Anybodys, who leaves unwillingly, shoves the Sharks like a big tough guy. Meanwhile, the Sharks arrive, and, despite Doc's pleas for the boys to talk it out instead of rumbling, ignore him and go on with the war council. After a spat between the two gangs that culminates in the exchange of racial/ethnic slurs, the war council resumes. Riff and Bernardo, the two gangleaders, agree to meet after dark the next evening under the West Side Highway, and shake hands to seal the deal. Just as they're calling weapons, in comes Tony. Ignoring Riff's entreaties to line up with the Jets, Tony suggests that the rumble be made a "fair" fight between the best man from each gang. The two gangleaders agree, and Riff picks Ice to take on Bernardo in a fistfight, despite Bernardo's obvious disappointment that he won't be fighting Tony. Soon, they are visited by Lt. Schrank, who is told by Doc that he and Tony were closing up the store. Lt. Schrank, a very bigoted, bitter cop with years of cynicism and experience, roughly banishes the Sharks from the Candy Store. He then questions the Jets about where the rumble is going to take place, declaring "Look, fellas" I'm for you!" I'll even lend a hand if it gets rough. I want this beat cleaned up and you can do it for me". Still, the Jets refuse to disclose the rumble's whereabouts, and Schrank insults the Jets about their ethnic immigrant and family backgrounds, strongly proving that he doesn't like the Jets much more than he likes the Sharks. Angrily, Lt. Schrank leaves the Candy Store, promising "I'll find out where you're gonna rumble! But be sure to finish each other off! 'Cause if ya don't, I will!" The next night is the big night, which will have different results and mean different things to different people. Tony and Maria meet at the Bridal Shop as planned. Anita, who clearly disapproves of Maria & Tony's romance, admonishes Maria to "be home in 15 minutes", and then goes home to get ready for a big date with Bernardo following the rumble. Maria and Tony then pledge their love, staging a mock wedding with the mannequins in the Bridal Shop. Despite Tony's decision not to go to the rumble, Maria pleads with him to go and stop it. Inwardly aware that efforts to do so will have disastrous results, Tony reluctantly agrees. The Jets & Sharks prepare for their showdown and then meet under the highway for the Rumble, as planned. After some encouragement from their respective gangs, Bernardo & Ice begin to fight. Just as the rumble is getting underway, Tony arrives. Ignoring Riff's orders for Tony to get with the Jets, Tony moves between Ice and Bernardo, attempting to reassure the two men that "there is nothing to fight about", and attempts to shake hands with Bernardo. Enraged at Tony's obvious interest in his sister Maria, Bernardo pushes Tony away, roughs him up, slaps him around and insults him for his trouble. Despite warnings from Riff to stop, Bernardo persists. At this point, losing patience, Riff hits Bernardo, and the two gangleaders begin to fight with switchblade knives. Just as Riff is about to decimate Bernardo, Tony momentarily breaks free of Ice and Tiger's grasp, and tries to stop Riff. At this point, Bernardo stabs Riff to death, and, Tony, to avenge his old friend Riff's death, charges forward and stabs Bernardo. In a state of grief and shock, Tony begins calling Maria's name, until Anybodys drags him away from the danger, and, stunned by the killings, the Jets and Sharks briefly engage in battle, and then flee the police, going into hiding. Baby-John, the youngest and least mature of the Jets, moved to tears by the killings, is comforted by his good buddy and fellow jet, A-Rab. Graziella weeps over the death of Riff and is comforted by Velma and some of the Jets. The Jets, now led by Ice, who's taken over the Jet gang leadership after Riff's death, hiding out in a garage, are admonished by ice to keep cool. Meanwhile, after learning that Tony has killed Bernardo, Maria prays, in her bedroom, that it isn't true, and Tony appears on the fire escape and climbs in through the window. Maria, unable to believe it, or to hate Tony, forgives him, refuses to let Tony turn himself into the police, and hides him in her bedroom. Knocking on Maria's bedroom door, Anita figures that out and admonishes Maria for letting Tony near her. Meanwhile, Tony escapes out the bedroom window, is found by Anybody's, and is sent over to Doc's, where he hides in the cellar. The rest of the Jets are on their way to Doc's, now determined to protect Tony from Chino, after learning from Anybody's, who's been spying around, that Tony was in love with Bernardo's sister, and that Chino wasa gunning for Tony to avenge Bernardo's death, and they all gather at Doc's. Meanwhile, Maria and Anita, who is now mourning Bernardo's death, are visited by Lt. Schrank, who questions them about last night's dance. Under questioning, Maria tells Schrank that she'd danced with a Puerto Rican boy named Jose. Maria then requests Anita to go to Doc's Store for her to warn Tony that Chino is gunning for him. Reluctantly, Anita agrees. At the Candy Store, Anita encounters the jets, who, out of prejudice against her ethnic/cultural background and their determination to protect Tony from Chino, rebuff Anita's attempts to help them out, and begin to insult, humiliate her, and rough her up. Angrily, Anita spits out a different message: That Chino has learned about Tony and Maria and shot her dead. Doc, who has just come in, then goes down to the cellar to relay the message to Tony. Devastated by the message, Tony runs from the cellar into the street, calling for Chino to come and get him. In spite of Anybodys warning Tony to leave, he continues to call for Chino. Maria then appears, she and Tony fall into each other's arms, briefly. Chino appears from behind a building and shoots Tony dead. In a state of grief, Maria collapses over Tony's body, screaming at Schrank not to touch him. The Jets and Sharks seem like they're about to clash once again, but Maria intervenes, crying out "You all killed him! My brother and Riff, too! Not with bullets and guns! With hate! Well I can kill too, because now I have hate". Unable to fire Chino's gun, she collapses over Tony's body in grief. Several jets and Sharks converge to carry off Tony's body, Baby John puts Maria's mourning scarf over her head, and they all file out, brought together, for at least a moment, in an understanding in tragedy.