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The Making of 'West Side Story' (1985)

Leonard Bernstein Conducts West Side Story (original title)
A documentary which shows, in great detail, the making of the 1985 Bernstein-conducted recording of the entire score of "West Side Story", featuring operatic stars.



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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Himself - Conductor
Kiri Te Kanawa ... Maria
... Tony
Tatiana Troyanos ... Anita
Kurt Ollmann ... Riff
Nina Bernstein ... Maria (in dialogues)
Louise Edeiken ... Rosalia
Angelina Réaux ... Francisca
Stella Zambalis ... Consuelo
Alexander Bernstein ... Tony (in dialogues)
... Baby John
Richard Harrell ... Bernardo
Todd Lester ... Snowboy
David Livingston ... Action
Marty Nelson ... Diesel


A documentary which shows, in great detail, the making of the 1985 Bernstein-conducted recording of the entire score of "West Side Story", featuring operatic stars.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Music



Official Sites:

Deutsche Grammophon (DVD)



Release Date:

May 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Making of 'West Side Story'  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Amongst all the English credits the copyright says "Leonard Bernstein und Stephen Sondheim 1957." See more »


West Side Story
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a conception by Jerome Robbins
Orchestration by Leonard Bernstein with Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal
See more »

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User Reviews

A fascinating insight into the workings of a genius and the interactions of excellent artists
11 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

I borrowed this video from a friend and now I'm going to buy it if I can find it. It is excellent in so many ways.

First off, watching a master like Bernstein makes everyone else in the craft pale by comparison. I'm not an opera buff, and I'm no expert on conductors, but watching Bernstein was always a treat for me. He's a perfectionist. That I can see, but his over-flowing passion is contagious and kept me riveted.

But this documentary/passion play isn't only interesting because of that. To hear Bernstein's commentary on the movie "West Side Story" and how he came to write the score for that just thrills your soul. Aside from that, hearing the other singers comments on Bernstein, especially Kiri Te Kanawa who's obviously enthralled to be there, is just wonderful. The chemistry between these two is tangible and then there's the reverse. Bernstein lays into poor Jose Carreras so hard that Carreras starts chewing his nails. After they've been at it for several days, you can see that the recording session isn't going to Bernstein's liking and it's obvious that he's worn out. I felt like I was given a special behind-the-scenes viewing. It was great.

As I speak Spanish, I just happened to read a Spanish review about how "Carreras handled himself like a gentlemen." Baloney! He let go some curses that would curl your hair if it was translated into English.

It all makes for a very insightful voyeur's haven of documented human emotions, passions and play.

If you like music, human interaction and entertainment, you'll love this docu. I can't recommend it more highly and Tush-tush! to anyone who tells you differently. If you're a Bernstein fan, run out and buy this film!

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