West Side Story

West Side Story

4.4 53
Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Cast: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise, Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer


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Romeo and Juliet is updated to the tenements of New York City in this Oscar-winning musical landmark. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Broadway production, the movie opens with an overhead shot of Manhattan, an effect that director Robert Wise would repeat over the Alps in See more details below

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Romeo and Juliet is updated to the tenements of New York City in this Oscar-winning musical landmark. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Broadway production, the movie opens with an overhead shot of Manhattan, an effect that director Robert Wise would repeat over the Alps in The Sound of Music four years later. We are introduced to two rival street gangs: The Jets, second-generation American teens, and the Sharks, Puerto Rican immigrants. When the war between the Jets and Sharks reaches a fever pitch, Jets leader Riff (Russ Tamblyn) decides to challenge the Sharks to one last "winner take all" rumble. He decides to meet Sharks leader Bernardo (George Chakiris) for a war council at a gymnasium dance; to bolster his argument, Riff wants his old pal Tony (Richard Beymer), the cofounder of the Jets, to come along. But Tony has set his sights on vistas beyond the neighborhood and has fallen in love with Bernardo's sister Maria (Natalie Wood), a love that, as in Romeo and Juliet, will eventually end in tragedy. In contrast to the usual slash-and-burn policy of Hollywood musical adaptations, all the songs written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the original Broadway production of West Side Story were retained for the film version, although some alterations were made to appease the Hollywood censors (especially in the lyrics of "Gee, Officer Krupke"), and the original order of two songs was reversed for stronger dramatic impact. The movie more than retains the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, which is recreated is some of the most startling and balletic dance sequences ever recorded on film. West Side Story won an almost-record 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, supporting awards to Chakiris and Rita Moreno as Bernardo's girlfriend Anita, and Best Director to Robbins and Wise. Natalie Wood's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon, who also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady; the film's New York tenement locations were later razed to make room for Lincoln Center.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Monica McIntyre
A masterpiece of the musical form, West Side Story sizzles with the propulsive rhythms and flash-point energy of New York City's streets in the late 1950s, thanks to the music of Leonard Bernstein, lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, choreography of Jerome Robbins, and direction of Robbins and Robert Wise. An adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" set in New York's Hell's Kitchen, West Side Story revolves around the ill-fated love affair between Tony (Richard Beymer) and Maria (Natalie Wood). Since Maria's older brother is Bernardo, leader of a Puerto Rican gang called the Sharks, and Tony heads a rival gang, the white ethnic Jets, their romance ignites a smoldering turf war into a full-scale rumble. The tenement fire escapes and chain-link fences of West Side Story are powerful accents to Bernstein's sophisticated score and Robbins's electric choreography. Winner of ten Academy Awards -- including Best Picture, Supporting Actor (George Chakiris's Bernardo) and Supporting Actress (for Rita Moreno, as Bernardo's girlfriend Anita) -- the film burns with intensity, using film techniques to present theatrical set pieces with a jazzy flair that has never been equaled.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
West Side Story is remarkable for its seamless transference from stage musical to screen classic, with the complete Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim song score intact, as well as the choreography of Jerome Robbins. The story, derived from Romeo and Juliet, works on a symbolic rather than realistic level; there is no pretense that this is a true representation of what New York City gangs were like circa 1960. Veteran director Robert Wise is probably the person most responsible for the film's success, and for retaining the best qualities of the stage production, though co-director Robbins, who feuded with Wise throughout the production, would likely disagree. After several weeks of delayed production due to Robbins' insistence on extra rehearsals, Wise tired of the Broadway legend and had him removed from the set. West Side Story swept the Oscars, taking ten awards, including awards for Best Picture and its decidedly non-cordial co-directors. The Academy gave a special choreography award to Robbins, who thanked a great many people in his acceptance speech, noticeably failing to mention Wise.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Blu-ray: Feature Film & Special Features; Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode; Song-specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim; Music Machine; ; Blu-ray: Additional Special Features; A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy; Creation and Innovation; West Side Memories; Storyboard-to-Film Comparison Montage; ; DVD: Feature Film & Special Feature; Music Machine

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Natalie Wood Maria
Richard Beymer Tony
Russ Tamblyn Riff
Rita Moreno Anita
George Chakiris Bernardo
Simon Oakland Lt. Schrank
William Bramley Officer Krupke
Ned Glass Doc
John Astin Glad Hand, social worker
Penny Santon Madam Lucia
Jose de Vega Chino
Jay Norman Pepe
Gus Trikonis Indio
Robert Thompson Luis
Larry Roquemore Rocco
Eddie Verso Juano
Andre Tayir Chile
Tucker Smith Ice
Tony Mordente Action
Eliot Feld Baby John
David Winters A-Rab
Bert Michaels Snowboy
Robert Banas Joyboy
Anthony Teague Big Deal
Thomas Abbott Gee-Tar
David Bean Tiger
Sue Oakes Anybody
Gina Trikonis Graziella
Carole D'Andrea Velma
Yvonne Othon Consuelo
Suzie Kaye Rosalia [The Sharks]
Joanna Miya Francisca
Jimmy Bryant Tony [singing]
Nich Covvacevich Toro
Harvey Hobnecker Mouthpiece
Marni Nixon Maria [singing]
Jaime Rogers Loco
Rudy Del Campo Del Campo
John Zaccaro Actor
Johnny Green Conductor

Technical Credits
Jerome Robbins Director,Choreography
Robert Wise Director,Producer
Leonard Bernstein Score Composer
Saul Chaplin Associate Producer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Johnny Green Musical Direction/Supervision
Fred Hynes Sound/Sound Designer
Irwin Kostal Musical Direction/Supervision
Fred Lau Sound/Sound Designer
Ernest Lehman Screenwriter
Boris Leven Production Designer
Sid Ramin Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert E. Relyea Asst. Director
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Murray Spivack Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas G. Stanford Editor
Vinton Vernon Sound/Sound Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- West Side Story
1. Scene 1 [5:01]
2. Scene 2 [9:51]
3. Scene 3 [:16]
4. Scene 4 [2:30]
5. Scene 5 [2:50]
6. Scene 6 [2:30]
7. Scene 7 [3:10]
8. Scene 8 [2:38]
9. Scene 9 [2:41]
10. Scene 10 [:14]
11. Scene 11 [1:46]
12. Scene 12 [2:30]
13. Scene 13 [3:03]
14. Scene 14 [3:45]
15. Scene 15 [1:23]
16. Scene 16 [2:40]
17. Scene 17 [2:29]
18. Scene 18 [5:00]
19. Scene 19 [1:33]
20. Scene 20 [1:45]
21. Scene 21 [5:15]
22. Scene 22 [:03]
23. Scene 23 [3:09]
24. Scene 24 [4:12]
25. Scene 25 [4:50]
26. Scene 26 [5:43]
27. Scene 27 [1:50]
28. Scene 28 [3:32]
29. Scene 29 [2:45]
30. Scene 30 [3:11]
31. Scene 31 [2:30]
32. Scene 32 [:02]

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