West Side Story (1961)


Movie Review

Directed by: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, David Winters, and George Chakiris

West Side Story is a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s signature play Romeo and Juliet.  The setting is New York.  The warring gangs are the Jets—American teenagers—and the Sharks—Puerto Rican immigrants.  The Jets are led by Riff Lorton (Russ Tamblyn), while the Sharks are led by Bernardo Nunez (George Chakiris).  When Riff’s best friend Tony (Richard Beymer) and Bernardo’s younger sister Maria (Natalie Wood) fall for each other, their love becomes undeniable.  Though their love is strong, these “two star-crossed lovers” may be doomed to a failed romance because of their affiliations with the two rival gangs.  Everyone should know the rest of the story.  West Side Story is a triumphant musical and one of the most creative adaptations of Shakespeare’s famous romantic tragedy.  With memorable hits such as “Maria”, “America”, and “Cool”, you can’t help but love this musical.  West Side Story undoubtedly deserves a sober rating.



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