Film: West Side Story

Opened: October 18, 1961

Directed by: Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, William Bramley, Ned Glass, Betty Wand, Tucker Smith, Jimmy Bryant & Marni Nixon

When this story about race relations is just as important to listen to today as it was over 50 years ago, you know we have a problem.

Puerto Rican Maria (Natalie Wood) falls for American Tony (Richard Beymer) and their friends and family are strongly against it. Tony was a one time member of the Jets, an American gang, now led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn) whose rivals are the Sharks, led by Maria’s brother Bernardo (George Chakiris).

Simply said, this film is iconic. The passion flows through every dance, character and scene. Rita Moreno as Bernardo’s girlfriend Anita gives a career-defining performance that is sure to give you chills.

Based on Romeo & Juliet, this is an emotional love story. It moves fast, but it feels more impactful than its source material.

Final say: A lovely – and still relevant – story. ★★★★★

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