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 24)
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
West Side Story -- Winner of ten Academy Awards including Best Picture, this electrifying musical sets the ageless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in the slums of 1950s New York and stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   56,352 votes »
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Up 6% 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:
Musical about two youngsters from rival NYC gangs who fall in love. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 10 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 7 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An Uncompromisingly Great film See more (297 total) »

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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:
Chita Rivera originated the role of Anita when West Side Story premiered at New York's Winter Garden Theatre (September 26, 1957). Rita Moreno later played Anita in the film adaptation of the show.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: At the beginning of the movie, behind the first close-up of Riff on the playground, snapping his fingers, you can see a young boy riding his bike behind Riff, the boy wasn't there in the previous shot (from above).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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
PrologueSee more »

FAQ

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91 out of 124 people found the following review useful.
An Uncompromisingly Great film, 5 February 2005
Author: Tony Dummett (cashcam@ozemail.com.au) from Sydney, Australia

Although I think I've seen just about every musical there is from the forties to the seventies, I'd never seen West Side Story until last night. An amazing omission on my part, as having seen it, I just think it's simply wonderful.

I bought the DVD "on spec" in a CD/DVD exchange store in Sydney for $10. I've had it in my hand a couple of times before but have always put it back on the shelf. This time I went through with the purchase and am now wondering what could have come over me, not buying it before.

Those here who have said you really need to watch it on the Big Screen are absolutely right. In my case I watched it using a video projector throwing the image, big, bright and beautiful, onto a 12 foot screen. The photography used the wide screen format uncompromisingly. There was no caution here to frame the action for possible television cropping, or even much consideration given to a 2.35:1 "Cinemascope" presentation. Super Panavision's aspect ratio is not as wide as Cinemascope's 2.35:1, and every square inch of screen space was used for one or another important element of composition.

Bernstein's music is a tour de force. Having watched On The Town only a few days back, it was interesting to contrast the two musicals. On The town is, of course, 15 years or so older than West side Story, but a comparison between the two scores is chalk and cheese. You could tell that Bernstein was holding himself back in On The Town. It wasn't his project. The numbers were almost self-censored. But West side Story was his baby, and it shows.

The sheer brilliance of the music, the enchanting daring of it, its raucous atonality coupled with sweetness of melody are awesomely impressive, as show-stopper after show-stopper is thrown onto the screen to continually up the amazement quotient, time after time.

I played West Side Story loud, very loud. The surround sound knocked my socks off from the opening aerial ambiance of Manhattan streets to the orchestrations themselves. I remember Bernstein in the documentary about the concert version of West Side Story saying, aside to the camera, after "Cool, Boy" was recorded, "You know, this is pretty good..." One of the great understatements, even if coming from the music's creator.

See this film. Play it loud. Watch it on a big screen if you can. If you do you may, like I did, sit there thrilled, swinging your head from one side of the Super Panavision screen to the other, trying to take in the overwhelming avalanche coming at your eyes, your ears and your heart. It was an almost perfect transfer from film to DVD: color, sharpness, depth.

It's been a long while since I've watched a film with a silly grin on my face right through, sometimes gasping at the sheer knock-out brilliance of what film-making can be at its best. West Side Story was one of those times.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for West Side Story (1961)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Any character(s) you like... johanlouwet78
What are everybody's Favorite Quotes from the film West Side Story? friendoffilm
Natalie Wood STUNK in this film! willbrax
Everytime I see this movie I'm reminded of the same thing: mooseboyskip
West Side Story--The Classic that Never Grows Old: friendoffilm
Chakiris Oscar??? miriamwebster
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