MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 84 this week

West Side Story (1961)

7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 60,915 users  
Reviews: 300 user | 111 critic

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

Writers:

(screenplay), (book), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 41 titles
created 26 Jan 2011
 
a list of 34 titles
created 22 Jan 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 10 Mar 2012
 
a list of 43 titles
created 16 Feb 2013
 
a list of 32 titles
created 14 Oct 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "West Side Story" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story (1961) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of West Side Story.

User Polls

Won 10 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gigi (1958)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan
Chicago (2002)
Comedy | Crime | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago.

Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. However, things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

Director: Hugh Hudson
Stars: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Nicholas Farrell
Tom Jones (1963)
Adventure | Comedy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In eighteenth century England, "first cousins" Tom Jones and Master Blifil grew up together in privilege in the western countryside, but could not be more different in nature. Tom, the ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Albert Finney, Susannah York, George Devine
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A naive prostitute and his sickly friend struggle to survive on the streets of New York City.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of ... See full summary »

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Doc
William Bramley ...
...
Ice
Tony Mordente ...
...
Eliot Feld ...
Bert Michaels ...
David Bean ...
Tiger
Robert Banas ...
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

"BEST PICTURE!" Winner of 10 Academy Awards! - 1961 (post-Oscar) See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 December 1961 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Amor sin barreras  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$43,650,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Rita Moreno's singing voice was dubbed by Betty Wand only for "A Boy Like That" since it was below her range. Moreno sang "America" and "Quintet" herself. See more »

Goofs

Tony's arm jumps up from his side between shots at the end of the balcony scene. See more »

Quotes

[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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits; a red tinted aerial still of Manhattan with the title is shown as the overture plays. As the overture ends, the red tint is removed and the shot segues to aerial photography of Manhattan streets and landmarks. See more »

Connections

Version of Romeo and Juliet (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cucaracha
(uncredited)
Traditional
Whistled by one of the Jets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Dynamic and exhilarating landmark musical offering a still-topical spin on the age-old "Romeo and Juliet" story.
21 March 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

It is a testament to the musical and theatrical brilliance of "West Side Story" that this teenage urban love story, set to Shakespeare's classic "Romeo and Juliet," has survived its outmoded 50s-style book (Arthur Laurents) replete with "Dead End Kids" posturings and corny, streetwise lingo (I still cringe when I hear the word "daddio"). For nowhere will you experience such electrifying, jaw-dropping choreography (Jerome Robbins). Nowhere will you thrill to a more exhilarating, passionate, full-throttled score (Leonard Bernstein, with Stephen Sondheim providing the libretto). And nowhere will you find a more dynamic, better-crafted musical that arguably surpasses its Broadway stage predecessor from overture to finale.

Maria, a lovely, innocent Puerto-Rican girl ("Juliet") and sister of a formidable gang leader, falls for an opposing though reluctant white-skinned gang member Tony ("Romeo") with tragic results. Set in a tough New York neighborhood where the two disparate groups, the Jets ("the Montagues") and Sharks ("the Capulets"), battle for street territory armed with knives, zip guns and rocks, the determined love affair sets off a calamitous chain of events that, in the end, manage to instill hope in diversity. Topical enough?

The strength of "West Side Story" is that it does not try to hide its stage roots. It still unfolds like a musical play. The film is expanded but the talented cast is not dwarfed by on-location surroundings or panoramic camera work ("South Pacific" fell victim to this). On the contrary, the cast lights up every single playing space with sure-footed aliveness and plenty of 'tude. Co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins stay true to the original, having the sense not to alter or butcher the score ("Man of La Mancha") or haul in a slew of new, untried songs ("On the Town", which actually worked for that musical). In a particularly "Wise" move (sorry), two numbers were repositioned to enhance or intensify the narrative flow. In the film version, the "Officer Krupke" number sparked by a goofy Three Stooges-like levity, is moved earlier into the proceedings BEFORE the serious rumbles start, serving neatly as a light and humorous anti-establishment statement. The tightly-coiled, finger-snapping "Cool" number is pushed way back, giving both song and situation a heightened impact as it goads and ignites the Jet's feelings of pent-up rage and retaliation AFTER their leader is murdered. Smart move, daddio.

The late Natalie Wood has been crucified by critics for her ethnic portrayal of Maria ever since day one. It was not because of any political incorrectness at the time (reigning Hollywood white glamour queen goes Latino) for that hot issue didn't erupt until decades later. It was her limited range as an actress. But over the years, I have grown accustomed to Wood. Yes, despite the melodramatic leanings, the necessity of vocal dubbing (by the incomparable Marni Nixon), the flawed Puerto-Rican accent and the general overuse of Coppertone, I still feel for this Maria. What Wood does offer is utmost sincerity and heartfelt poignancy. So I'm one person who has gotten off the Natalie Wood-bashing wagon. Richard Beymer is another matter. An extremely weak, uncool choice for Tony, his toothy, freshly-scrubbed, chipmunk-like mug and awkward gait reads more like library assistant than gang member. Who would have thought Beymer would be the one to dazzle us much later in the totally cool and offbeat "Twin Peaks"? Still, Wood and Beymer commit themselves 100% and manage to create a credible, if not charismatic, love duet that doesn't get in harm's way.

Since the film's emphasis is really on dance, it's the flashy second leads who provide the real firepower. Rita Moreno's smouldering Anita ("The Nurse") is a spitfire of anger and attitude, while George Chakiris as her Shark leader boyfriend Bernardo ("Tybalt") demonstrates slick, controlled menace. Both Oscar-awarded here, Chakiris, in his debut, proved a lightweight acting talent himself, never finding a role like this again. Russ Tamblyn as Riff ("Mercutio"), the recently inaugurated leader of the Jets, is a hotbed of jaunty, scrappy impatience. Both he and Chakiris are riveting as they demonstrate poetry in motion, leading a pack of Edward Villela-like tough guys into athletic, gravity-defying dance moves.

"Romeo and Juliet vs. the 'Hood" should be required viewing for all grade-school children solely on the basis of art and education. The adults already know the value of this treasure.


79 of 108 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Everytime I see this movie I'm reminded of the same thing: mooseboyskip
Dumb question but.... ilovetapioca
Natalie Wood STUNK in this film! willbrax
Natalie Wood is White Eileen7183
Would Ice have tried to stop the attempted rape of Anita? pancakeamiga
7.7 rating is shocking... peter_joshua
Discuss West Side Story (1961) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?