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
Returning to Universal Studios from New York, Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise sat together while principal photography was under way. Wise was engaged to film the scenario elements, with the dancing segments directed by Robbins. The Mirsch Brothers decided to send Robbins back to New York because of the numerous "takes" he was filming of the dance sequences. Wise took over, directing all filming, to complete the musical film. All of the remaining dance numbers, to be completed, had been rehearsed and choreographed. Wise continued (directing) shooting the entire film as scheduled finishing the film, and editing, on schedule. See more »
Riff changes position in his chair between shots when the Jets and Sharks are sitting down for the War Council. See more »
[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]
[snaps fingers at Bernardo]
[Bernardo drops the ball, Riff picks it up]
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The credits at the end of the movie appear as graffiti on street signs. See more »
In 2011, as part of the 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray release, a new score, closer to the original theatrical version, was orchestrated by the Leonard Bernstein Estate. It was performed live by the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics at screenings with the original score excised. (The original vocals were retained.) The New York performance was at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, built atop the movie's filming locations. See more »
This masterpiece is already 56 years old and as it happens with masterpieces, it has kept intact all of its energy all of its power and it remains a mind blowing novelty. "Singin'n'the Rain" has those qualities but the setting is a natural for the infections musical numbers. In "West Side Story" we visit Romeo And Juliet in New York among feuding street gangs. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins create an experience for the ages. Natalie Wood is devastatingly gorgeous and even if the singing voice is not hers she manages to make it hers. The blandness of Richard Beymer works wonders for his Tony and Russ Tamblyn is a dynamo of youthful exuberance. But perhaps, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris steal the limelight. They are spectacular - As Oscar time they won Oscars over Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift in "Judgement At Nuremberg" To conclude let me reiterate "West Side Story" is a film to visit and revisit.
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