West Side Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

West Side Story Reviews

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October 4, 2017
This 10 oscar winning whopper is a true masterpiece of musical films. It deserves to be said in the same breath as "singin in the rain".The musical numbers & the romeo/Juliet love story is done wonderfully. You wont wanna turn away.
½ August 23, 2017
I don't get the appeal of this movie. I like the songs, I love musicals, and I love romance. For whatever reason this movie just falls flat with me.
August 18, 2017
This Movie Was 34 Years Old In 1995.
August 13, 2017
Never in my life have I seen such a messed up movie, the singing scenes are too long and I did not care for "Most iconic of all the Shakespeare Adaptions" enuff said!
August 7, 2017
Boring terrible musical movie.
July 17, 2017
Memorable song and dance numbers help make this among the more memorable musicals out there. Strong side performances such as the Oscar winning performance by Rita Moreno help to keep this a movie worth watching to this day.
½ June 13, 2017
Without a doubt, a classic. But some things are hit or miss for me. There's a ton of overacting. Some of the songs/dances, I was not a fan of.... Others, I LOVED so much. The ballet side of it is kinda odd, because these are meant to be terrifying gangs and it has the opposite effect. I like Wood and Moreno, and George Chakiris as Bernardo. For the most part, Sondheim's tunes are brilliant, really. Overall, a film that NEEDS to be seen, but is not without it's flaws.
June 11, 2017
This is THE definitive musical for me -- fast action, believable, storyline, with a realistic and relevant social message set to fantastic song, music, and dance.

Most liberals preach all racial bias emanates from Whites. As a white kid who often dated Hispanic girls, and who lived for a while in the Mexican quarter of Tucson, Arizona, I have experienced as much or more racial bias by Hispanics than I ever saw by Whites. Oh, Hispanic girls are interested in white guys, but their brothers, cousins, fathers, uncles, and even their mothers are all too often ferociously opposed.

So, for me, the depiction of bias by both the white Jets gang members and the Hispanic Sharks gang members against each other rang more true to my own experience, making the movie experience all that more realistic, relevant, and assimilative.

The main characters are Anita (Rita Moreno) as the fiery, dark-skinned hottie and girlfriend of Bernardo (George Chakiris), leader of the Sharks and older brother of the light-skinned María (Natalie Wood), who is the ingénue object of affection of Tony (Richard Beymer) a white boy who has just become enamored of the Hispanic Maria. Riff (Russ Tamblyn), Tony's best pal and current leader of the Jets, doesn't make life any easier for the budding romance.

The story line starts off highlighting the ethnic mutual animosity between the Sharks and the Jets. Then Tony accidentally sees Maria at a dance, the two are drawn together almost immediately. They are separated by Bernardo, and Maria is forbidden to see Tony. In the meantime, friction between the Sharks and Jets has escalated to the point the two gangs decide to rumble. Tony secretly meets Maria in the alley by her flat, and she sends Tony to try to prevent the two gangs from fighting. Instead Tony gets sucked into the fray as Riff is killed by Bernardo, and in retaliation Tony kills Bernardo.

Tony goes back to Maria and confesses his failure to prevent the rumble that resulted in the death of Biff and her brother Bernardo. Tony and Maria vow to run away together. Maria sends Anita to tell Tony where to meet her, but Anita is mistreated by the Jets and instead tells Tony that Chino (Felipe Rangel) has killed Maria. Other Jets tell Tony that Chino has a gun and is hunting for him. Tony in abject grief, not wanting to live without Maria, goes looks for Chino and begs him to shoot him too. Chino kills Tony, and then Maria arrives at the scene hoping to find Tony and run off together. Instead she and finds Tony dead. She at first doesn't want anyone to touch Tony, but finally members of each gang help carry Tony's body off..

The story ends at this point.

This story line is now somewhat dated after fifty years, though aspects of it may still be relevant today wherever large numbers of an immigrant group settle together in one place. The very culture they bring with them that binds then together, also acts to delay and in some cases prevent assimilation into the general population. But the large influx of Hispanics into the US has largely abated and assimilated. If any bias remains, it is from Hispanics who set themselves apart.
Another aspect of the ethnic divide theme, which was not treated in the storyline, are religious differences. Hispanics are almost universally Roman Catholic, while whites tend more toward Protestant denominations. When ethnic differences don't provide much barrier, religious differences often do. When ethnic and religious differences combine to be exclusionary, it is a most formidable chasm to cross.
½ June 1, 2017
not really a fan it took its self to seriously and because of that the dancing and singing took me out of the drama of the story which is romeo and juliette i perfered baz lurmans take on romeo
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.
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