IMDb > West Side Story (1961)
West Side Story
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West Side Story (1961) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 151 | slideshow) Videos (see all 23)
West Side Story -- A love affair is fated for tragedy amidst the vicious rivalry of two street gangsthe Jets and the Sharks. When Jets member Tony (RichardBeymer) falls for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks leader, it's more than these two warring gangs can handle. And as mounting tensions rise, a battle to the death ensues, and innocent blood is shed in a heartbreaking finale.
West Side Story -- Featurette: Original Theatrical Trailer
West Side Story -- Clip: A Boy Like That
West Side Story -- Featurette: Storyboards
West Side Story -- Special ED. DVD, Post

Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   64,830 votes »
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Up 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Ernest Lehman (screenplay)
Arthur Laurents (book)
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Contact:
View company contact information for West Side Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 December 1961 (Japan) See more »
Tagline:
"BEST PICTURE!" Winner of 10 Academy Awards! - 1961 (post-Oscar) See more »
Plot:
Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 10 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Dynamic and exhilarating landmark musical offering a still-topical spin on the age-old "Romeo and Juliet" story. See more (301 total) »


Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
152 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) | 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints) | Mono (35 mm optical prints)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Brazil:Livre | Finland:K-12 | Ireland:PG | Japan:G (2009) | Netherlands:MG6 | Peru:PT | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:15 (original rating) | Sweden:11 (re-rating) (1970) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) | USA:Unrated | USA:Not Rated (DVD rating) | USA:Approved (certificate #19949) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The stage version was originally planned as a story about a Catholic boy falling in love with a Jewish girl. The working title was "East Side Story". After a boom of Puerto Rican immigration to New York in the late 1940s and 1950s, the story was changed, and the show opened on Broadway in 1957 as "West Side Story". The working title of 'East Side Story' was later used as the title to Mexican-American rapper Kid Frost's second album released in 1992 - with the placement of the 'East Side Story' title reminiscent of the West Side Story movie posters.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: After the war council, Schrank says that he rebuked the Jets the same day. That means that all events before the war council were on that day too. The dance started at 10 PM, and that leaves very little time for America, the balcony scene and the war council.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.
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Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
SomewhereSee more »

FAQ

What is 'West Side Story' about?
How old were Maria and Tony?
Is this movie based on a book?
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80 out of 109 people found the following review useful.
Dynamic and exhilarating landmark musical offering a still-topical spin on the age-old "Romeo and Juliet" story., 21 March 2001
Author: gbrumburgh (gbrumburgh@aol.com) from Los Angeles, California

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.

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7.7 rating is shocking... peter_joshua
Chakiris Oscar??? miriamwebster
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