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West Side Story [1961]

Director:Jerome Robbins
Robert Wise
Writer:Ernest Lehman
Composer:Leonard Bernstein
Length:152 minutes
(2 hours 32 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Suggested Event Use:Valentines Day
Sorting Category:Romance
IMDB Rating:7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:92%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
User rating sites like above
are subject to change
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  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Action
  • Family
  • Comedy
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Synopsis: Musical about two youngsters from rival NYC gangs who fall in love.

Reaction: Great movie. This is a wonderful adaptation of Shakespeare into a more modern setting.

Personal Rating: 9/10

Jerome Robbins => Director
Robert Wise => Director
Ernest Lehman => Writer
Leonard Bernstein => Composer
Arthur Laurents => Book of musical play
Stephen Sondheim => Lyrics
Anthony 'Scooter' Teague => Big Deal (as Scooter Teague)
Bert Michaels => Snowboy
Betty Wand => Anita (singing voice) (uncredited)
Carole D'Andrea => Velma
David Bean => Tiger
David Winters => A-rab
Eliot Feld => Baby John
George Chakiris => Bernardo
Gina Trikonis => Graziella
Harvey Evans => Mouthpiece (as Harvey Hohnecker)
Jay Norman => Pepe
Jimmy Bryant [II] => Tony (singing voice) (uncredited)
John Astin => Glad Hand (uncredited)
Jose De Vega => Chino
Marni Nixon => Maria (singing voice) (uncredited)
Natalie Wood => Maria
Ned Glass => Doc
Penny Santon => Madam Lucia (uncredited)
Richard Beymer => Tony
Rita Moreno => Anita
Robert Banas => Joyboy
Russ Tamblyn => Riff
Simon Oakland => Schrank
Susan Oakes => Anybodys
Tommy Abbott => Gee-Tar
Tony Mordente => Action
Tucker Smith => Ice
William Bramley => Krupke

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Robert Wise wanted the film to have a single rising line of tension, with no light moments after the rumble. Therefore, {I Feel Pretty} was moved earlier, and the positions of {Cool} and {Gee, Officer Krupke} were reversed. Those who feel that the sassy, light-hearted tone of {Gee, Officer Krupke} is out of place following the deaths that end the first act prefer the film's ordering of the numbers. The placement of {I Feel Pretty} and {Gee, Officer Krupke} after the Rumble in the stage version was meant to help cheer people up after the deaths of Bernardo and Riff, as audiences were not used to death occurring in Broadway musicals. This issue is still heatedly debated among the film's fans.
  • The second highest grossing film of 1961, coming in just behind One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
  • Robert Wise's original choice to play Tony was Elvis Presley.
  • Cool was such a demanding number for the performers, Harvey Evans (aka Harvey Hohnecker), who played Mouthpiece, later stated that the actors ritually burned their kneepads upon wrapping the scene.
  • The "America" sequence on stage was conceived as a duet between Anita and Rosalia. For the film, it was altered to be one between Anita and Bernardo.
  • The film ran in Paris for a grand total of 249 weeks, making it the longest running film in French history.
  • During the entire production, the actors wore out 200 pairs of shoes, applied more than 100lbs of make-up, split 27 pairs of pants and performed in 30 different recording sessions.
  • The song "Gee Officer Krupke" was banned by the BBC because of its mentions of drug use and sexual ambiguity.
  • With its win of 10 Academy Awards, this became the biggest Oscar-winning musical of all time, beating the record Gigi set three years before with its nine Oscars.
  • At the time, this became the biggest selling soundtrack album.