West Side Story


(out of 5)

Fantastic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes the tale of star-crossed lovers and sets it as a musical among warring gangs of 1960s New York. Jerome Robbins’ energetic choreography is the main highlight of this colourful film, about a young Puerto Rican girl named Maria (, with singing voice dubbed by Marni Nixon) who falls in love with a white boy named Tony () against the wishes of their friends and family. It’s a huge danger for them to want to be together considering that Maria’s brother is part of the Sharks gang and Tony is an ex-member of the Jets. Supporting cast members ,  and especially  add a lot of flair, though the film sometimes borders on the tiresome and is much more enjoyable when the cast is dancing up a storm than when it’s trying so hard to be a realistic drama. Still, the overall effect is powerful by the time you get to the end, and the many excellent Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim songs are memorable to the point of unforgettable.

USA, 1961

Directed by Robert Wise,

Screenplay by , from the play conceived by Jerome Robbins, book by , adapted from the play Romeo and Juliet by

Cinematography by

Produced by Robert Wise

Music by Leonard Bernstein

Production Design by Boris Leven

Costume Design by Irene Sharaff

Film Editing by Thomas Stanford

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Awards
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George Chakiris as “Bernardo”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Rita Moreno as “Anita”)
Best Art Direction (Colour) (art direction: Boris Leven; set decoration: Victor A. Gangelin)
Best Cinematography (Colour) (Daniel L. Fapp)
Best Costume Design (Colour) (Irene Sharaff)
Best Director (Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)
Best Film Editing (Thomas Stanford)
Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture) (Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal)
Best Motion Picture (Robert Wise, producer)
Best Sound (Todd-AO Sound Department, Fred Hynes, sound director; and Samuel Goldwyn Studio Sound Department, Gordon E. Sawyer, sound director)

Best Writing (Screenplay–based on material from another medium) (Ernest Lehman)

Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture-Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (George Chakiris)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Rita Moreno)

Best Director (Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Richard Beymer)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Writers Guild Award
Best Written American Musical

Directors Guild Award
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Robert Wise)

British Academy Award Nomination
Best Film From Any Source



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