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
Gus Trikonis who played Indio, one of the Puerto Rican Sharks - and who is actually Greek - is the brother of Gina Trikonis, who played Graziella, the tough red-haired Italian girlfriend of Riff, leader of the Jets. George Chakiris is also Greek. See more »
In the opening number, which was shot on location in NYC, the playground is easily 300 feet x 300 feet in size. Later on, when it is obvious they were on the studio back lot, the playground has shrunk to around 30 feet by 30 feet. 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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