Just before the 2012 version of the Oscars it is a great time to look back at the history of the ceremony and its winners. This great love story and lauded musical was the winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1961. West Side Story is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This version takes place in New York City in the 1950s and involves two opposing gangs. The whole experience is amplified by the wonderful score by Leonard Bernstein (On the Waterfront).
A white New York street gang known as The Jets are led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn – Drive, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) are at war with a Puerto Rican gang named The Sharks led by Bernardo (George Chakris – from television’s Dallas). That doesn’t stop Bernardo’s sister Maria (Natalie Wood – Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass) and Riff’s best friend, Tony (Richard Beymer – The Longest Day, The Diary of Anne Frank) from falling in love after meeting at a dance.
Knowing that no one would approve they try to keep their love a secret and plan to run away. In such tight knit communities such a secret cannot be kept, however. The Sharks and The Jets plan a rumble that will decide once and for all who controls the streets. Before they run off, Maria sends Tony to stop the fight. Before anyone knows what is happening a tragedy occurs and true love does not conquer all.
Yes, you could sit there and point out all the flaws in the film, but that would be small minded of you and you would miss one of the great musicals in film history. The dancing is fantastic and energetic, the music is passionate and the performances of most of the cast is strong. Pop some popcorn and enjoy!
-Pow! The Dances of West Side Story
-A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy
-West side Memories
-Storyboard to Film Comparison Montage
-Original Theatrical Trailer
-Original Issue Trailer