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 Latino 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
During the entire production, the actors wore out 200 pairs of shoes, applied more than 100lbs of make-up, split 27 pairs of pants and performed in 30 different recording sessions. See more »
When we first see The Jets in the playground as they are snapping their fingers to the music, it is very bright and their shadows face towards the screen, but when they cut to the next shot as they start walking and the camera moves behind the fence, the sunlight is not the same as the scene is not as bright and even the shadows positions are different, pointing away from the screen. 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 »
The Special Limited Edition DVD released by MGM in 2003 restores an intermission that was intended to be included in the original roadshow version but was subsequently dropped in order to create what the filmmakers termed a "rising tension" in the story. The intermission sequence was supposed to have taken place right before the song 'I Feel Pretty' and brings the film's total running time to more than 152 minutes. This break was used, however, for the film's first television showing in 1972 on NBC. It was broadcast in two installments, one each on separate nights, the first part ending at the break, and the second part beginning at the "I Feel Pretty" sequence. See more »
There is certainly tough competition when trying to decide the best musical of all time but I believe West Side Story is the clear winner. The acting is first rate and the locations gritty and realistic so you get the feel of what it is like to be a poor immigrant in New York. Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno are outstanding as the beautiful innocent Maria and the alluring more worldly wise Anita. Above all, Bernstein's music is breathtaking and unique, sweeping from gangster slang through lively Hispanic dances to luminous love songs. Unlike many musicals, it always feels real and grounded which makes the tragic ending all the more moving.
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