West Side Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

West Side Story Reviews

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April 16, 2017
I enjoyed this film a lot. I found the music beautiful. The story was compelling, you didn't know where it was going and I hardly felt myself loose interest. The dancing was choreographed spectacularly. I found the insta-love a little annoying, but it wasn't that bad. I felt that Tony was a little overplayed and melodramatic. My biggest problem with the film is that they white washed the character of Maria.
All in all, it's worth the watch but watch out for the cons of it being made in the 1950's.
April 12, 2017
Oh so cheesy acting and writing but of course classic memorable musical numbers with some great dancing, choreography, and cinematography.
March 10, 2017
An odd version of Romeo and Juliet involving New York gangs. I like it, but I don't love it. Some of the songs are good and some not so much. It is a pretty film to look at with beautiful sets, but it is a little too long for me and boring at times. (First and only full viewing - 1/21/2009)
½ March 2, 2017
A immaculately choreographed modern re-telling of Romeo & Juliet set in the gang world of the west side of NYC in the early 1960's.

Although a musical it touches on many great themes & issues of the day e.g. racial intolerance, gang mentality & urban lower demographic living.

Splashed with color & iconic musical numbers this is also a breakthrough film for Natalie Wood. Although dated in aspects this film has tremendous pull & I'm sure would be an unforgettable experience on stage on Broadway.
March 1, 2017
The movie is filled with musical numbers that do not stick, some of the lyrics are just plain terrible, not to mention the signing. The acting is also not that great, watched it for the first time and was not impressed.
½ February 28, 2017
Stunning choreography, excellent music, and commentary on race and social class in America are what makes this film so fantastic.
February 12, 2017
Love all the songs in this musical.
½ February 6, 2017
How have I gone this long without seeing the defining musical in all of cinema? Probably for the same reason that my boss still hasn't seen "Avatar." When you miss the zeitgeist, keeping up to speed on pop culture is very much a self-starting activity. I didn't have the occasion, or the drive really, to get off my ass and find a digital copy. After 27 years, though, that's all behind me. Was it worth the wait? Kind of.

"West Side Story" is undoubtedly a work of artistic genius. Every set piece is painted in rich, emotive color. The choreography bulldozes through the supposed limits of the human body. The music is (mostly) one show-stopping tune after another, burrowing like a mass of earworms into your brain. It's fun, fun, fun with a capital "F" and its influence can still be felt years later. "La La Land" in particular owes this film a huge debt. Without its groundbreaking camerawork and kinetic choreography, we wouldn't have "Another Day in the Sun" or any of its freeway-stomping madness.

It isn't all unmitigated fun though. I'm going to echo the words of my girlfriend in saying that the leads are the weakest part of this film, both in performance and how they're written in the screenplay. Tony and Maria are two wet blankets whose Romeo and Juliet love story has all the trappings of the classic story, but none of youthful lust that is supposed to make their coupling petulant but believable. Natalie Wood at least has a go at bringing a Latina fire to her role (she's Russian *cough cough*), but she and co-star Richard Beymor pale in comparison to the blazing spotlights of Anita (Rita Morenco) and Bernardo (George Chakiris). They are the film's real draw. Forget the setting, the bland retread of a story, or the sliver of logic that escapes everyone involved. "West Side Story" is the Morenco and Chakiris show.

If you sit down expecting a gorgeously mounted song and dance showcase and let trivial things like story and character development slide, there's hardly a more thrilling ride than "West Side Story." This is one case of a boatload of Oscars (11 in total) well deserved. 7.1/10
½ February 4, 2017
Not a big fan of musicals but this is easily my favourite. Great set pieces, choreography and fantastic score!
½ January 18, 2017
While it'll never, EEEVEEER, be for everybody, West Side Story perfectly matches its tone with the progression of its socially relevant and powerful story. It also features the greatest visual spectacle in musicals.
January 8, 2017
I have to be honest I do find Richard Beymer a bit wet as Tony and to the modern audience she of the Beatnik 1950's slang terminology does sound very dated but West Side Story is still one of the best movie adaptations of a musical going. The Leonard Bernstein score is punchy, at times soaringly beautiful and highly evocative and coupled with the gaudy, colourful direction of Robert Wise the whole movie is a visual treat. A integral part of the success of this movie is Jerome Robbins choreography which is balletic and memorably dramatic. The dancers whirl around in a Technicolor blaze of energy that is filled with energy and life. This is seen at it's best when the Puerto Rican's gather on the rooftop of their tenement building and perform "America". Of the cast, Rita Moreno has always stood out for me. She is fabulous as the proud, flamboyant Anita and easily eclipses the more demure Maria played by Natalie Wood. George Chakiris may look as though he's been crested but dances like a demon and I'd actually forgotten just how good Russ Tamblyn is as Riff. The classic songs come thick and fast from the word go. Songs such as Tonight, Maria, I feel Pretty, Somewhere and Jet Song are so familiar and the action moves effortlessly from one to another. This movie rightly won a shed-load of Oscars and has gone on to be regarded as one of the finest examples of the movie musical genre.
January 7, 2017
An old favourite with a creative flair for violence, the story that based itself on Romeo and Juliet, applies so strongly still today in so many scenarios despite it's datedness.
December 29, 2016
it gets full marks for the soundtrack alone
December 15, 2016
I'm definitely a fan of musicals, but I have always had issues with West Side Story. For one thing the music and dance numbers are somewhat playful, but they are tackling serious subject matter. It just strikes me as comical when these tough gang members start leaping and dancing and singing. I shouldn't be chuckling when lives are on the line. There are a few iconic songs and engaging dance numbers that I enjoy, but it seems for every good song there is also a dud. Another flaw in the film is Natalie Wood, who struggles to affect me in any emotional way. I don't think she is a bad actress, but it seems like she is working so hard on faking the Puerto Rican accent, that properly conveying emotion is asking too much. Finally, I have difficulty with West Side Story simply because I'm not a fan of the Romeo & Juliet story. While I can accept some "love at first site" stories I usually crave a slower build-up to the relationship after that initial spark. In this film, similar to the Shakespeare play it is based on, after one quick glance these two seem ready to be married or even sacrifice their lives for one another. I don't think West Side Story is a bad movie, and I understand the love for it. There are flashes of greatness, and the concept is intriguing, but I don't foresee myself watching it again if I can avoid it.
November 11, 2016
Musicals.. meh. Although this is supposed to be one of the classical ones, I couldn't really get into it despite the whole Romeo & Juliet set in 50's NY vibe. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. The two and a half hour run time didn't help things either.
½ November 2, 2016
Al principio no conocía está historia, con forme pasó el tiempo, se me fue pareciendo un poco a Romeo y Julieta, luego más, y al final, me di cuenta que es la historia completa de Romeo y Julieta, pero me gusta que sea contada en un tiempo moderno con Pandillas, fue entretenida, algunos personajes me parecieron muy sobreactuados.
November 1, 2016
Masterpiece that ages quite well and reminds us of the level of racial tension existing in America. No, the melting pot did not quite work there, and still does not. A pleasure to watch and a shock to face the underlying violence of that topic. More realist than it seems.
½ October 5, 2016
I had an extremely difficult time getting into this movie since it started out with the gang members prancing (dancing) about, with fake punches and limited words. I did like some of the famous songs, but am not sure this is for me.
½ October 2, 2016
Brilliant, American Opera - I-think the best American musical
September 18, 2016
10 out of 10:

A well directed film with great performances and songs that modernizes the classic story of Romeo and Juliet.
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