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
Despite winning an Oscar for his work in this film, this was the only film that Jerome Robbins ever directed. See more »
Tony's arm jumps up from his side between shots at the end of the balcony scene. 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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There are no opening credits; a stylized, tinted aerial still of Manhattan is shown as the overture plays. The background changes color as the themes change throughout the overture. As the overture ends, the tinting is blue, the title appears, and the shot segues to aerial photography of Manhattan streets and landmarks. 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 »
"Hold my hand and we're half-way there... Hold my hand and I'll take you there...."
Even though I'm not a big fan of this particular genre of film. I found West Side Story to be so impressively produced that it somehow transcended far beyond being just a mere "Musical" in the strictest sense of the word.
West Side Story is literally bursting at the seams and filled to capacity with vivid imagery. This highly-energized film clearly captures the vibrant atmosphere of the late 1950s, where rival youth gangs get their prejudiced, little noses out of joint and prepare to rumble in the streets of NYC.
With its memorable music and songs, dazzling choreography, striking sets and superb direction by Robert Wise, West Side Story is truly a triumph on every level.
This film is a magnificent achievement that (back in 1961) set a whole new standard for modern-day movie Musicals.
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