West Side Story (1961)
IMDb Rating 7.7
Front Cover Actor Back Cover
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
Tucker Smith Ice, Riff's Lieutenant
Tony Mordente Action
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. — Hal Erickson
Movie Details
Genre Drama; Musical; Romance
Director Jerome Robbins; Robert Wise
Producer Robert Wise
Writer Jerome Robbins; Arthur Laurents
Studio United Artists
Country USA
Language English
Audience Rating G
Running Time 151 mins
Movie Release Date 10/18/1961
Color Color
Personal Details
Format DVD
Seen It Yes
Index 78
Collection Status In Collection
Purchase Date 1/1/2000
Product Details
Edition Special Edition
Region Region 1
Screen Ratio 2.20:1
UPC (Barcode) 027616673329
Release Date 4/1/2003
Subtitles English; French; Spanish
Audio Tracks English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Nr of Disks/Tapes 2
Extra Features
Color Closed-captioned Widescreen
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