7.6/10
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West Side Story (1961)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Musical | 23 December 1961 (Japan)
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Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Writers:

(screenplay), (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,469 ( 588)
Won 10 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Maria
... Tony
... Riff
... Anita
... Bernardo
... Schrank
... Doc
William Bramley ... Krupke
... Ice
... Action
... A-rab
... Baby John
Bert Michaels ... Snowboy
David Bean ... Tiger
Robert Banas ... Joyboy
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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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 December 1961 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Amor sin barreras  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$43,656,822
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the poster art is often mistakenly attributed to Saul Bass, it was actually designed by Joseph Caroff. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the America number, there is a shot of a side view of the dancers and there is a metal structure to the right of the screen that has 3 people standing in front of it, one of them a lady with a blue skirt, but when the shot changes to the front and the structure is now in the back, those 3 people standing there have vanished from the shot, instead seeming to appears now towards the left side of the screen off-camera. 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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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Stars of the Silver Screen: Natalie Wood (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Jet Song
(1957) (uncredited)
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Performed by Tucker Smith, Russ Tamblyn, Bert Michaels, and The Jets
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I'm REALLY shocked this isn't in IMDb's top movies
14 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

Exceptional musical about the gangs--the Jets (Americans) and Sharks (Puerto Ricans) battling it out for a small section in the west side on NYC. Tony from the Jets (Richard Beymer) falls in love with Puerto Rican Maria (Natalie Wood) whose brother Bernardo (George Chakiris) belongs to the Sharks. Can their love survive? You probably know the answer but I won't give it away.

An incredible musical--the songs have become legendary and the dance numbers are easily the most energetic and incredible ones ever caught on film. It was (partially) shot on location in NYC which helps and is full of color and life.

Unfortunately there are problems here: Natalie Wood hated Richard Beymer--and it comes through loud and clear. There's a unbelievable lack of sexual chemistry between them and Wood gives a rare bad performance. Beymer is tall, handsome, muscular--and a total blank as Tony. The poor guy is trying but Wood's attitude obviously bothered him. Still everything else about the movie is great. I have a few minor quibbles: How did Tony know where Maria's apartment was?; "I Feel Pretty" is actually hilarious--check out Wood's "dancing"; the "Cool" number is great to look at but brings the movie to a screeching halt.

But everything else works. Chakiris and Rita Moreno are just fantastic as Bernardo and Anita--their dancing and acting is just perfect--they richly deserved those Academy Awards they won. Russ Tamblyn is also very good as Riff (leader of the Jets) and shows some incredible dance moves. And look for John Astin in a hilarious bit at the dance.

All the dances and numbers are good and the lip syncing is pulled off by Beymer and Wood pretty well. But the show stopper is "America"--that number comes right out of the screen at you full force. The lyrics are sanitized from the Broadway show but who cares? It still works.

This won 10 Academy Awards--including Best Picture and Best Director(s). A true classic musical. I've seen it tons of times and I never get tired of it. A must-see. I give it a 10 all the way.


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