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West Side Story Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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 Robert Wise 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 all" rumble. He decides to meet Sharks leader Bernardo (George Chakiris) for a war council at a gymnasium dance; to bolster his argument, Riff wants his old pal Tony (Richard Beymer), the cofounder of the Jets, to come along. But Tony has set his sights on vistas beyond the neighborhood and has fallen in love with Bernardo's sister, Maria (Natalie Wood), a love that, as in Romeo and Juliet, will eventually end in tragedy. In contrast to the usual slash-and-burn policy of Hollywood musical adaptations, all the songs written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the original Broadway production of West Side Story were retained for the film version, although some alterations were made to appease the Hollywood censors, and the original order of two songs was reversed for stronger dramatic impact. The movie more than retains the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, which is recreated in some of the most startling and balletic dance sequences ever recorded on film. West Side Story won an almost-record ten Oscars, including Best Picture, supporting awards to Chakiris and Rita Moreno as Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita, and Best Director to Robbins and Wise. Richard Beymer's singing was dubbed by Jimmy Bryant, Natalie Wood's by Marni Nixon (who also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in Audrey Hepburn), and Rita Moreno's by Betty Wand. The film's New York tenement locations were later razed to make room for Lincoln Center. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 27, 1962

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sid Ramin Best Musical Score 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ernest Lehman Best Adapted Screenplay 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Irene Sharaff Best Color Costume Design 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Johnny Green Best Musical Score 1961 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Rita Moreno Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Rita Moreno Best Supporting Actress 1961 Winner
Directors Guild of America Robert Wise Best Director 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Wise Best Director 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Robert Wise Best Picture 1961 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Robert Wise Best Director 1961 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Robert Wise Best Film - Any Source 1962 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Saul Chaplin Best Musical Score 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Boris Leven Best Color Art Direction 1961 Winner
Directors Guild of America Jerome Robbins Best Director 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jerome Robbins Best Director 1961 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Jerome Robbins Best Director 1961 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jerome Robbins Best Film - Any Source 1962 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association George Chakiris Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George Chakiris Best Supporting Actor 1961 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Richard Beymer Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1961 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Daniel L. Fapp Best Color Cinematography 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fred Hynes Best Sound 1961 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gordon Sawyer Best Sound 1961 Winner

Cast

Natalie Wood
as Maria
Richard Beymer
as Tony
Russ Tamblyn
as Riff
Rita Moreno
as Anita
George Chakiris
as Bernardo
Simon Oakland
as Lt. Schrank
William Bramley
as Officer Krupke
Ned Glass
as Doc
John Astin
as Glad Hand, social worker
Penny Santon
as Madam Lucia
Jay Norman
as Pepe
Gus Trikonis
as Indio
Larry Roquemore
as Rocco
Eddie Verso
as Juano
Andre Tayir
as Chile
Tony Mordente
as Action
Eliot Feld
as Baby John
David Winters
as A-Rab
Bert Michaels
as Snowboy
Robert Banas
as Joyboy
Anthony Teague
as Big Deal
Sue Oakes
as Anybody
Gina Trikonis
as Graziella
Carole D'Andrea
as Velma
Yvonne Othon
as Consuelo
Suzie Kaye
as Rosalia [The Sharks]
Jimmy Bryant
as Tony [singing]
Marni Nixon
as Maria [singing]
Jaime Rogers
as Loco
Rudy Del Campo
as Del Campo
John Zaccaro
Jimmy Bryant
as Tony [singing]
Jaime Rogers
as Loco
Rudy Del Campo
as Del Campo
Marni Nixon
as Maria [singing]

Crew

Robert Wise
Director
Jerome Robbins
Director
Robert Wise
Producer
Ernest Lehman
Screenwriter
Harold Prince
Play Author
Daniel L. Fapp
Cinematographer
Leonard Bernstein
Composer (Music Score)
Saul Chaplin
Musical Direction/Supervision
Johnny Green
Musical Direction/Supervision
Sid Ramin
Musical Direction/Supervision
Boris Leven
Production Designer
Saul Chaplin
Associate Producer
Irene Sharaff
Costume Designer
Murray Spivack
Sound/Sound Designer
Vinton Vernon
Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Lau
Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Hynes
Sound/Sound Designer
Jerome Robbins
Choreography
Irene Caine
Costumes Supervisor
Johnny Green
Conductor
John Flynn
Script Supervisor
Stephen Sondheim
Lyricist
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