West Side Story
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Romeo and Juliet is updated to the tenements of New York City in this Oscar-winning musical landmark. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Broadway production, the movie opens with an overhead shot of Manhattan, an effect that director Robert Wise would repeat over the Alps in The Sound of Music four years later. We are introduced to two rival street gangs: the Jets, second-generation American teens, and the Sharks, Puerto Rican immigrants. When the war between the Jets and Sharks reaches a fever pitch, Jets leader Riff (Russ Tamblyn) decides to challenge the Sharks to one last "winner take… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"West Side Story is a beautifully-mounted, impressive, emotion-ridden and violent musical which, in its stark approach to a raging social problem and realism of unfoldment, may set a pattern for future musical presentations."
‑ Whitney Willaims, Variety
"How does the film -- which won ten Oscars on its 1961 release -- stand up now? Very well indeed."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"Ten well-deserved Oscars -- plus a special award for Jerome Robbins's dynamic choreography -- adorned this electrifying and moving version of the magnificent Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim musical."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"Even though I had to play it for my high school choir, I was never a fan of the music. Everything else - the cinematography, choreography and story are all pretty stellar."
‑ Michelle Alexandria, Eclipse Magazine
"An extraordinary song and dance experience laced within a quotidian dramatic tale."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Unhappily, the film shares a serious flaw in the essential conception of the show; both are founded on a phony literary analogy and on some potentially vicious pseudo-sociology."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It is a great movie ... in parts."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"for all of its silliness for today, is still an epic film"
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"You have to admire the way every aspect of the film works toward the emotional impact."
‑ Hank Sartin, Time Out Chicago
"A landmark screen musical that left its own indelible stamp on popular culture. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Decent 1961 adaptation of the Bernstein-Robbins musical, if you can handle Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood in the leads."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The marvel is that the film still works so well."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"[VIDEO ESSAY] Indisputably the greatest musical ever made, "West Side Story" (1961) has sadly proven socially timeless regarding America's eternally troubled immigrant experience."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"West Side Story remains one of the best musicals of all-time."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"it is the heat of West Side Story's social and cultural conflicts that make it a pop-culture landmark unlike any other"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
More reviews for West Side Story on Rotten Tomatoes

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