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West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Musical | 23 December 1961 (Japan)
1:02 | Trailer

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Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.


(screenplay), (book) | 1 more credit »
375 ( 170)
Won 10 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Bramley ...
Bert Michaels ...
David Bean ...
Robert Banas ...


West Side Story is the award-winning adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, "Romeo and Juliet". The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs- the white Jets led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff's best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo's younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway - whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong, and before the lovers know what's happened, tragedy strikes and doesn't stop until the climactic and heartbreaking ending. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 December 1961 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Amor sin barreras  »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints)| (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (35 mm optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Chino visits Maria on the rooftop, saying that there was no-one home. Maria tells that her parents are at work. Only a few moments afterwards we hear voices: "¡Mamá, Mamá! ¡Bernardo está muerto!" "¿Bernardo? ¿Muerto?", the latter apparently said by the mother. This post is actually incorrect. Maria says to Chino that her parents are at the store, not work. In addition, the building is populated by several families, not just Maria and Bernardo's. Had it been their mother talking to the boy at the bottom of the stairwell, there would have undoubtedly be more of an emotional response from the woman as Bernardo was her child as well. See more »


[first lines]
[the Jets dance across the streets of New York, eventually coming to a playground where they toss around a basketball. The ball is intercepted by Bernardo, leader of the Sharks]
Riff: [snaps fingers at Bernardo] Come on.
[Bernardo drops the ball, Riff picks it up]
Riff: Beat it.
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Crazy Credits

The credits at the end of the movie appear as graffiti on street signs. See more »


Referenced in Fame: Relationships (1983) See more »


(1957) (uncredited)
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Performed by Rita Moreno, Suzie Kaye, George Chakiris, Yvonne Wilder, and The Sharks
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A triumph of song, dance, music, choreography, photography...
11 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

Viewing WEST SIDE STORY last night on TCM for the first time in years, I realized what an impact this made on film musicals with its innovative use of dazzling choreography and high-flying camera-work that made it a cinematic experience rather than a stage-bound one.

Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins directed this poignant and powerful musical with a talented cast of performers--Natalie Wood at her dewy-eyed loveliest as the Juliet-like heroine and Richard Beymer doing his best to bring some heart-felt passion to the role of the Romeo-like Tony, but he's too refined to be believable as an ex-gang member. At least he does have some chemistry with Natalie and obviously put his heart and soul into his performing. The voice dubbing for both is done skillfully, but I would have preferred a stronger voice for Beymer.

Rita Moreno (not Chita Rivera as another commentator named her) and George Chakiris are beyond reproach as Anita and Bernardo--and all of the gang members do superb footwork and acting as the Jets/Sharks. Most impressive is the actor playing Ice (Tucker Smith) who figures prominently in the finger-snapping "Cool" number.

This is the quintessential 1960s musical with some expert choreography (the rooftop version of "America" is a standout) and stellar work from everyone in the cast. Leonard Bernstein must have been proud of this film version of his Broadway musical. Robert Wise's firm control in blending the music with the "book" is craftsmanship at its finest.

By all means, a musical that deserved all of its Oscars!!

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