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
Jerome Robbins initially refused to work on the film unless he could direct it. Producer Walter Mirisch was nervous about handing the reins entirely over to Robbins, who had never made a film before, so he enlisted Robert Wise to direct the drama while Robbins would handle the singing and dancing sequences. Robbins developed a habit of shooting numerous takes of each scene, to the point where the film went over budget and behind schedule. This led to his firing. See more »
Near the end, when Maria yells "Don't you touch him!", two different voices can be heard at the same time in the first half of the phrase (in fact, this is singer Marni Nixon overdubbing for Natalie Wood). 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 »
I had a lot of expectations for West Side Story since many called it the best musical of all time. Although I enjoyed it, I have to disagree. I don't think it was the best musical ever, I still think that JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA are far superior. But West Side Story did have some entertaining dancing and choreography, and some great music and singing as well.
WEST SIDE STORY is a modern (although now it's a little older) version of Romeo & Juliet, taking place in New York City. Two rival gangs, the Jets (the Americans) and the Sharks (the Hispanics) constantly battle for turf. Tony (Richard Beymer), former leader of the Jets, falls in love with Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of Sharks' leader Bernardo (George Chakiris). They try to keep their love alive while the two gangs try to tear it apart, all the time singing songs and dancing.
The acting is not too great, but the singing and dancing is very good, and that's more important in a movie like this one. Aside from Tony, Maria, Bernardo and a select few more, most of the characters are very two-dimensional and boring. But all of them are only there to support the love story between Tony and Maria.
At times, I found this movie downright boring, and especially in the beginning-middle, I was not always paying attention. The ending is fairly good, and the beginning is a great start, but at times I was very unsatisfied with this movie. Still, it's great for the musical lover, and fair for the moviegoer. (But I still say go rent the movie version of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR.)
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