West Side Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

West Side Story Reviews

Page 1 of 303
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.
September 12, 2016
Classic film on racial segregation. Music was really upcoming and intense.
September 12, 2016
A film in my "films to see before you die" book so I gave it a chance. not my cup of tea really. The songs used are memorable but the acting isn't
½ August 29, 2016
West Side Story, a film adaptation of the stage play of the same name, takes the familiar story Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet and adds some twists to make it fresh and unique: following rival gangs in 1950s New York City, the film adds an ethnic twist to complement the traditional tale of star-crossed lovers and the tragedy that ensues.

So much of the film's charm comes from the impressively crafted musical numbers. Of course the highly stylized dance numbers and songs clash with the idea of gang warfare, but there's something about the way it's handled here that has an undeniable amount of charm in its campiness. The dance numbers themselves have such an immense scale to them, and are beautifully choreographed by co-director Jerome Robbins. Each set feels like a real location hidden somewhere in the alleyways of New York, and the camerawork is slick and stylish in capturing every number and every scene: all in all, it's just a technically marvelous movie, and certainly deserving of the many technical Oscars it won.

Where it falters is in the narrative. The romance aspect of the story, following Tony (Richard Beymer) and Maria (Natalie Wood), is handled nicely and the two leads share nice chemistry, and the gang warfare side of the movie is handled well and ultimately ends up strengthening the romance plot: the problem is that, like many plays, it starts to drag in the second act. Both subplots come to a halt and crawl their way through story development that could easily be covered in half as much time, and with the film running two and a half hours long, this pacing can sometimes become kind of boring. This is a mostly minor problem though, because a film as charming as this is simply too absorbing to be brought down too heavily by a pacing issue. It's a classic for a reason, one that even those who aren't fans of musicals or Shakespeare can enjoy.
August 23, 2016
The best musical ever made for the big screen!
July 15, 2016
Absolutely beautiful in 70mm.
June 28, 2016
55 years ago! Experiencing the magic again!
June 28, 2016
What makes this film great isn't the music or dancing. It's the story. Yes, it's an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But it's not just that. It's about the youth culture and their rebellion towards society. Applying Shakespeare's play to this particular time in America is genius because it elevates the story to a place where it can have new meaning. This couldn't have been done during any other period in time in America. Because of this, the film is historically and culturally important. Not just to that time, but to generations that came after this film.
June 23, 2016
I really enjoyed this musical, and unlike so many other, lazy adaptations of Shakespeare, this changes the source material in the right ways while keeping the original spirit and tragedy of the play. I'd recommend it.
June 8, 2016
West side story 1961
½ June 3, 2016
Beautifully shot, great score, fantastic script and commentary. Ever poignant.
Page 1 of 303