West Side Story (film)
|West Side Story|
|Directed by||Robert Wise
|Produced by||Robert Wise|
|Screenplay by||Ernest Lehman|
|Based on||West Side Story by
Romeo and Juliet by
William Shakespeare (uncredited)
|Music by||Leonard Bernstein
|Cinematography||Daniel L. Fapp|
|Editing by||Thomas Stanford|
|Studio||The Mirisch Corporation|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||152 minutes|
|Language||English, some Spanish|
West Side Story is a 1961 American musical film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris and was photographed by Daniel L. Fapp, A.S.C., in Super Panavision 70.
The film opens with a sequence of aerial views of Manhattan that begins at the southern tip and moves north, soaring silently over the vertical topography of Lower Manhattan and Midtown, and stops and descends to ground level in the Upper West Side's Lincoln Square neighborhood, in the area where the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts now stands. Veteran director Robert Wise was chosen as the director and producer for his experience with urban New York dramas such as Odds Against Tomorrow. Wise had not previously directed a musical and when it was suggested that Jerome Robbins, who had directed the stage version, be brought in to direct the musical and dance sequences, Wise agreed. After about one third of the movie had been shot, the Mirisch Company, which had become increasingly concerned that the production was running over-budget, dismissed Robbins. According to Saul Chaplin in his autobiography, Robbins nearly suffered a nervous breakdown during the time he worked on the film. The remaining dance numbers were directed with the help of Robbins' assistants. Recognizing Robbins' considerable creative contribution to the film, Wise agreed that Robbins should be given co-directing credit, even though Wise directed the greater part of the film. The ending title sequence was created by Saul Bass, who is also credited as "visual consultant" on the film.
The film was released on October 18, 1961, through United Artists. It received praise from critics and the public, and became the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States. The film won ten Academy Awards in its eleven nominated categories, including Best Picture, as well as a special award for Robbins. West Side Story holds the distinction of having won more Academy Awards than any other musical film (unless one counts the Honorary Award given to Maurice Chevalier in 1959, the year that Gigi won its nine Oscars).
Although the plot summary here is divided into two acts, and the film was originally intended to have two acts, it was finally decided[by whom?] that it would work better without an intermission, in order to increase the tension in the plot.
The film opens in the streets of the West Side of Manhattan in the late summer of 1957. There is a mounting tension set to music ("Prologue") between a white American gang, the Jets, led by Riff Lorton, and a rival gang of Puerto Rican immigrants, the Sharks, led by Bernardo Nuñez. The Jets harass the Sharks and vice versa, culminating in a free-for-all throughout the streets. Eventually, the Sharks catch the youngest member of the Jets, Baby John, on the playground. As they begin to "bloody" him, all the other Jets and Sharks rush in and start brawling. Soon, Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke arrive and break up the melee. Schrank insists that he will not tolerate any more fighting on his beat, and he orders the Sharks off the playground, and the Jets "to make nice with them Puerto Ricans" or there will be a price to pay. Once Schrank and Krupke are gone, Anybodys, a tomboy who was in the fight, pleads with Riff to be in the gang, but is rebuffed. The Jets discuss challenging the Sharks to an all out rumble that will decide who gets control of the streets, and decide to deliver the challenge to the Sharks at a dance later that night, because it is neutral territory. Riff also explains to the Jets that they have seen other gangs (the Emeralds and the Hawks) come and go, but the Jet members state that the Sharks are different compared to the other gangs. However, Riff eases the statement, that no matter the odds or the situation the Jets will always pull through.
Riff decides that his best friend Tony Wyzek, a co-founder of the Jets who has left the gang to work at a local candy/drug store, would be the best member to present the challenge to the Sharks because he has always come through for the Jets ("Jet Song"). Riff visits Tony at the store and asks him to come to the dance, but Tony is not interested in fighting anymore. He tells Riff that he senses something very important is about to happen to him. After a little cajoling from Riff, Tony changes his mind and agrees to meet him and the Jets at the dance, in case it is there that he will discover that "something" ("Something's Coming").
Meanwhile Maria Nunez, Bernardo's younger sister, who has been living in America for about a month, but is extremely sheltered, expresses her excitement to be attending the dance, to her best friend Anita, who is also Bernardo's girlfriend. However, she isn't very excited about Chino, another Shark member to whom she is to eventually be married to. Eventually Bernardo and Chino arrive to take them to the dance, but Bernardo acts very protective of his sister. At the dance, which is held at the gym, the Jets, Sharks, and girls are greatly enjoying themselves ("Dance at the Gym"), but there is still tension in the air. The host of the dance, social worker Glad Hand, tries to ease the obvious tension, by getting the members of the rival gangs to dance together. Even so, the rival gang members and their girlfriends remain apart. Tony eventually arrives, during a mambo, and he and Maria see each other, become infatuated, going into a trance-like state, and begin to dance, oblivious to the rivalry between their ethnic groups. They eventually kiss, but Bernardo angrily interrupts them. He tells Tony to stay away from his sister, and orders Chino to take her home. It's at this point that Riff proposes a "war council" with Bernardo, who agrees to meet at Doc's drug store after the dance. Tony leaves in a happy daze, singing of his newfound love ("Maria").
Maria is sent home, and Anita argues with Bernardo that he is being overprotective of Maria, and that they are in America, not Puerto Rico. At the Sharks' apartment building, Anita and other girls from Puerto Rico engage in a spirited argument with Bernardo in defense of Maria's right to dance with whomever she pleases. They debate the advantages and disadvantages of their country, where the girls talk about the freedom and the dreams, while the boys sing of the prejudice and poverty they have encountered. ("America"). Eventually the women and the men disperse as Bernardo and his gang go to the war council.
Tony discreetly visits Maria outside the fire escape at her home, but Maria is concerned because of their ethnic differences, and is fearful that her parents will feel the same way as Bernardo. But they still affirm their love for each other. ("Tonight"). They arrange to meet the next day at the bridal shop where Maria works. Meanwhile, the Jets gather outside of Doc's store to wait for the Sharks. Anybodys continues to plead to be in the gang but is again rebuffed by Riff, and mocked by Riff's girlfriend, Grazalla. The Jets are visited by Officer Krupke, who had been at the dance and knows they are up to no good, and he warns them not to cause trouble on his beat. After he leaves, they lampoon him and the various theories of how to deal with juvenile delinquency ("Gee, Officer Krupke!"). Doc is about to close the store, but the Jets convince him to stay open. Doc tries to talk the Jets out of fighting but they do not listen. The Sharks finally arrive and the war council begins. In the middle of this, Tony arrives and calls them chickens for having to fight with weapons. He demands that they have a fair one-on-one fist fight instead of an all-out rumble. The gang leaders agree, with Bernardo representing the Sharks and Ice representing the Jets (much to Bernardo's disappointment, as he was hoping to face Tony). They are soon alerted of Lieutenant Schrank's arrival, so the gangs quickly intermix together and feign happiness and fun. Schrank pretends that it is a good thing that they are getting along and remarks he might even get a promotion, but he knows what they are up to. Schrank stamping orders the Puerto Ricans out (while they whistle "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"), then asks the Jets where the rumble is taking place, saying he's on their side and that he will even help them fight off the Sharks himself. When they deliberately don't reply, he deliberately angers several members with sarcastic and insulting comments including A-Rab (Implying that his father is an alcoholic) and especially Action, (Implying that his mother is a prostitute), who almost attacks Schrank, but is restrained by the other Jets much to the lieutenant's pleasure. Soon, the Jets disperse and Schrank angrily leaves as well, leaving Tony and Doc alone in the store to clean up. Tony, who is in a good mood, surprises Doc and tells him about his love for Maria, leaving Doc fearful. The day comes to an end as a distressed Doc closes the store and Tony leaves.
The next day at Madam Lucia's bridal shop, Maria sings to her co-workers about how happy and excited she is ("I Feel Pretty"). After everyone except Maria and Anita leaves, Anita tells Maria about the impending rumble accidentally, as Anita plans to prepare for a date with Bernardo afterwards. Maria questions why Bernardo and his gang have to fight with the boys from the dance, and Anita, who isn't sure herself, replies it's just heavy emotion. Anita tells Maria to come home with her, but Maria insists that she wants to close the store by herself because she has work to do. Suddenly, Tony arrives to see Maria, leaving Anita in shock. Tony tells Anita of his and Maria's love, and Anita mocks Maria. Anita, despite her shock, shows some tolerance but worries about the consequences if Bernardo were to find out. Anita leaves them alone, but not without warning Maria that she'd better be home ASAP. Maria pleads with Tony to prevent the rumble altogether, even if it is only a fist fight, and Tony promises to do so. Then Tony and Maria, using clothes in the bridal shop, fantasize about their wedding ("One Hand, One Heart"). They use the headless mannequins as their parents, best man (Riff) and Maid of Honor (Anita). They exchange wedding vows and kiss.
A musical montage ("Quintet") intertwines the feelings of the Jets and Sharks in anticipation of the rumble, Tony and Maria's anticipation of meeting each other, and Anita preparing for her date with Bernardo. The Jets and Sharks arrive at their agreed location for the rumble, a fenced dead-end under a stretch of New York highway. As the "fair fight" begins between Bernardo and Ice, Tony arrives and tries to stop it, but is met with ridicule and mockery from Bernardo and the Sharks, as Bernardo clearly is more interested in fighting with Tony rather than Ice, but Tony refuses to fight back. Unable to stand by and watch his best friend be humiliated, Riff angrily lashes out and punches Bernardo ("The Rumble"). Enraged, Bernardo draws a knife and Riff draws one too, and they fight each other. Tony tries to stop them, but Riff has two other Jets hold him back. Riff gets the upper hand and about to stab Bernardo but Tony manages to stop him. Riff breaks away and runs back into the fight, only to be fatally stabbed by Bernardo. Riff collapses while handing the knife to Tony and Bernardo looks shocked at what he has done. Enraged, Tony kills Bernardo with Riff's knife, resulting in a full-fledged melee, several Sharks mercilessly pounding Tony. Suddenly, police sirens blare out and the gang members flee, leaving behind the bodies of Riff and Bernardo. Tony, who initially has difficulty moving lingers and looks at Bernardo's dead body realizing in horror what he has done. He bursts into tears, and is nearly caught. However, Anybodys snaps him back to reality and he too, dashes off.
Blissfully unaware of what has happened, Maria is waiting for Tony on the roof of her apartment building, dancing around. One of the Sharks, Chino arrives with bad news that the rumble (That Maria thinks was stopped) escalated worse than planned, and Maria fears that something bad happened to Tony. Chino angrily tells her that Tony killed her brother. Maria initially refuses to believe it, but upon hearing the others talking about it, is horrified. She retreats to her room, and prays that it's not true, and then Tony arrives and Maria lashes out at him in feigned anger, but Tony explains what had happened and asks for her forgiveness before he plans to turn himself in to the police. Maria declares that she still loves Tony and begs him to stay with her forever. They reaffirm their love ("Somewhere"), share another kiss, and make love for the first time (offscreen).
Meanwhile, the Jets (with Ice now in command and joined by the Jet girls) have reassembled outside a garage. Action demands revenge for Riff's death, but Baby John as well as A-Rab, oppose it. Action yells at Baby John for being scared, As tensions flare among several Jets, Action is subdued by Ice, who pulls all of the Jets into the garage and tells them their revenge on the Sharks is not important right now, but what is, is that they act carefully at ease, as to when the cops start questioning them, or else they will pay the consequences for their actions. ("Cool"). When all of the Jets have cooled down, they each quietly file out of the garage and make their way back to Doc's Candy Store when Anybodys arrives after infiltrating the Sharks' turf and warns them that Chino is now after Tony with a gun. Ice sends the Jets to various locations to find Tony and warn him. Anybodys' persistence finally pays off as Ice asks her to search in and out of the shadows and commends her for her deed.
In Maria's bedroom, she and Tony have just finished making love. Tony puts a small mysterious box on Maria's bedroom with the words "Capullo de Rosa". The couple hear Anita arriving home, and Maria and Tony make quick, whispered arrangements to meet at Doc's drug store, where Tony will get some getaway money, and run away together to marry. Anita hears them through the door and knows that something is going on. Tony escapes through the bedroom window and flees, but Anita sees him running away. Anita chides Maria for the relationship ("A Boy Like That") and says that a man who kills is bad, but she soon softens as Maria sings back. Maria's heartfelt love ("I Have a Love") wins over Anita, and despite her grief over Bernardo's death, Anita agrees to cooperate with a plan to help Maria and Tony run away and marry because she is her friend. Anita quickly tells Maria that Chino is searching for Tony with a gun.
Schrank arrives and questions Maria about the events leading up to the rumble, but Maria is protective of Tony and lies to cover for him, saying she only danced with another Puerto Rican boy. To deceive the policeman, Maria sends Anita to Doc's drugstore on the pretense that she is fetching medicine for her headache. She asks Anita to say she has been detained, explaining she would have gone herself otherwise. Anita's real purpose is to tell Tony (who is found by Anybodys outside Maria's apartment and takes refuge in the cellar of Doc's drugstore) that Maria is detained from meeting him. But when Anita enters the drugstore and asks for Tony, the Jets (minus Ice, who is keeping an eye out for Chino) refuse to believe that Anita is here to help, and mock, harass, and mock rape her until Doc stops them. Infuriated by the attack, Anita declares that Bernardo was right about how bad they were, and gives the Jets a different message for Tony: Maria is dead, shot by Chino for loving Tony, and storms out. Doc furiously reprimands the Jets for their behavior, and throws them out of the store. Then he heads to the basement to give Tony his getaway money. Tony is in a good mood thinking only of himself, and his future with Maria, which infuriates Doc so badly that he smacks Tony across the face, and angrily reminds him of what he's done. Then he somberly delivers Anita's message to him. In shock and despair, Tony runs from the drug store to find Chino, shouting "Come and get me, too!", not knowing that Chino is actually secretly waiting for him. Anybodys sees Tony and tries to stop him, but Tony ignores her.
Now on the playground next to Doc's store, Tony suddenly sees Maria and they begin to run toward each other with joy. Suddenly, Chino appears and shoots Tony. As the Jets and other Sharks and their girls from both gangs arrive on the scene, Maria and a fatally wounded Tony reaffirm their love ("Somewhere"), but Tony dies in her arms. The two gangs watch and prepare to fight again, but Maria stops them. She takes the gun from Chino, and threateningly points it at him, and then at everyone else, blaming both gangs for the deaths of Tony, Bernardo, and Riff with their hate. With her new found hate, she threatens to kill as many of them as she can, while still leaving one bullet for herself. However, she cannot bring herself to do such a horrific deed and drops the gun before sinking to the ground, sobbing. Schrank, Krupke, and Doc arrive on the scene, and Schrank starts to intervene. However, Maria protects Tony's body from him, and Shrank just stands back. Everyone just stands and watches as Maria softly gives Tony a final goodbye, then three of the Jets start lifting his body and two Sharks join them to help carry him off. A deeply distraught and heartbroken Maria and several Jets and Sharks walk behind them in a funeral procession, while the other Jets and Sharks go their separate ways. The film ends with Shrank, Krupke, Chino and Doc lingering on the playground for one more moment. Then Doc too, walks away, and Chino is arrested and led away by Schrank and Krupke for killing Tony.
- Natalie Wood as Maria Nuñez, Bernardo's younger sister, Chino's fiancée, in love with Tony Wyzek
- Marni Nixon as Maria's singing voice
- Richard Beymer as Tony Wyzek, inactive co-founder of the Jets with best friend Riff, works at Doc's drug store, in love with Maria Nuñez
- Jimmy Bryant as Tony's singing voice
- Russ Tamblyn as Riff Lorton, leader of the Jets, best friend of Tony
- Rita Moreno as Anita del Carmen, Bernardo's girl, Maria's closest confidante
- Betty Wand as Anita's singing voice during "A Boy Like That"; Marni Nixon during parts of the "Quintet".
- George Chakiris as Bernardo Nuñez, leader of the Sharks, older brother of Maria
- Simon Oakland as Lieutenant Schrank, neighborhood police lieutenant
- Ned Glass as Doc, drugstore owner, Tony's boss. He tries to talk sense to Tony and the Jets, but they rarely listen.
- William Bramley as Officer Krupke, neighborhood cop, Schrank's right-hand man
- John Astin as Glad Hand, social worker
- Penny Santon as Madam Lucia, owner of neighborhood bridal shop
Differences from the stage show
- In the stage show, it is A-Rab who gets beaten up by the Sharks at the beginning, before the free-for-all breaks out between the two gangs. In the film, it is Baby John who gets chased and beaten up after being caught changing some wall graffiti from "SHARKS" to "SHARKS STINK". It is interesting, that as David Winters played Baby John in the stage show and A-rab in the film, he avoided being chased and beaten-up both times.
- One of the lyrics of the "Jet song" was changed in the movie. Instead of second being "When you're a Jet let them do what they can" in the play It is "...when you're a Jet if the spit hits the fan."
- In the stage show, "Jet Song" ends, "...on the whole ever mother-lovin' street." In the film, it ends, "...on the whole buggin' ever-lovin' street."
- In the stage show, Tony and Riff's friendship combination is "Womb to tomb. Sperm to worm." In the film, it is "Womb to tomb. Birth to earth."
- The order of "Tonight" (Duet) and "America" is reversed.
- In the stage show, Anita and Rosalia sing the beginning of "America", not Anita and Bernardo; the boys are not in the number at all. Show business legend has it that the men were omitted from the number in the stage version because of an error in scheduling. Robbins, typically, blamed the male dancers, and this was his way of punishing them.
- The lyrics of "America" are different in the film as is some of the dialog leading up to it.
- In the stage show, at Doc's drug store, it is the song "Cool" that is sung and in the garage it is "Gee, Officer Krupke", but they were switched in the film at the request of lyricist Stephen Sondheim as the songs were changed in order related more to the situations at those points in the film.
- On stage, it is Riff who sings "Cool" and Action who sings "Gee, Officer Krupke."
- In one part of "Gee, Officer Krupke", the lyrics were changed. The line "My daddy beats my mommy, my mommy clobbers me" appears in the film but in the stage musical it was "My father is a bastard, my mom's an S.O.B.".
- "One Hand, One Heart" is sung only once in the film, without the instrumental section and the repeat of the second half of the song, in order to avoid repetition.
- On stage, during the Quintet, Riff sings to Tony, not Ice. (Ice was actually a character created for the film and was not present in the original Broadway production.)
- On stage, during the Quintet, Anita sings about Bernardo, "He'll come home hot and tired, so what? No matter if he's tired, as long as he's hot." In the film, the lyrics were changed to, "He'll come home hot and tired, poor dear. No matter if he's tired, as long as he's here."
- "I Feel Pretty" appears at the beginning of Act II after the rumble in the stage musical.
- "Somewhere" in the stage show is sung by Tony and Consuela as part of the "Somewhere" ballet. For the film verson, sung by Tony and Maria, the ballet portions were omitted as it slowed down the pace.
- Action takes over as leader of the Jets in the stage show, not Ice.
- "A Boy Like That"/"I Have a Love" avoids the repetition in the film version, omitting the duet where Anita repeats two of the stanzas, that she just sang, while Maria continues to resist Anita's complaints, which was slowing the pace of the film. Maria resumes, without the duet with Anita, to the transition to the song "I Have a Love" with the words, "You should Know Better".
- The character of Ice [Tucker Smith], who was written for the film, was named Diesel in the stage show.
- The stage show features 11 Jets (including Tony) and 10 Sharks. The film features 12 Jets and 11 Sharks with the additions of Joyboy and Chile, respectively.
- The stage show Sharks named Anxious, Nibbles and Moose are renamed Rocco, Del Campo and Loco in the film.
||This section possibly contains original research. (April 2011)|
Larry Kert, who originated the role of Tony on Broadway, was 30 around the time of the production and the producers wanted actors who looked believable as teenagers. Carol Lawrence, who originated the role of Maria on stage, was then 29 and considered too old for Maria. This caused some controversy and dissatisfaction when some prospective audience members learned that she had been passed over in favor of a new actress. Tony Mordente (A-Rab on stage, Action in the film) and George Chakiris (Riff on stage in the London production, Bernardo in the film) were invited to act in the film version, as was Tucker Smith, who joined the Broadway production several months after its 1957 debut. Smith went on to play Ice, a role created specifically for the film. David Winters, who originated Baby John, played A-Rab, Eliot Feld (an ensemble member and understudy for Baby John on Broadway) played Baby John, Carole D'Andrea reprised her role as Velma, Tommy Abott reprised his role as Gee-Tar, Jay Norman (Juano on stage) appeared as Pepe, and William Bramley reprised his role as Officer Krupke.
Elvis Presley was originally approached for Tony. However, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, strongly believed the role to be wrong for Elvis and made him decline in favour of other movie musicals. According to legend, the Colonel didn't want Elvis associated with gang warfare and knife crime, although three years earlier, Elvis' character Danny Fisher stabbed and killed the small-time gangster 'Shark' played by Vic Morrow in the movie King Creole. When the movie became a hit and earned 10 Oscars, Elvis later regretted having given up the part. Others who auditioned for the part included Warren Beatty, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, Russ Tamblyn, Burt Reynolds, Troy Donahue, Bobby Darin, Richard Chamberlain, Dennis Hopper, and Gary Lockwood.
Bobby Darin made a strong impression on the producers at his audition and was, at one point, in talks for the role. However, he turned it down due to his concert and recording commitments. Tab Hunter, then 30, and Burt Reynolds, nearly 26, were also considered, due to their Broadway and singing credits, but they were dismissed as being too old. Richard Chamberlain was also thought too old at age 26, and chose to renew his contract for Dr. Kildare that same year. Eventually the producers settled on their so-called "final five": Warren Beatty, Anthony Perkins, Russ Tamblyn, Troy Donahue, and Richard Beymer. Although he was 28 before filming began, Perkins' boyish looks and Broadway resume seemed to make him a contender for the role, and he was trying to avoid getting typecast after the success of Psycho. Robert Wise originally chose Beatty for the role, figuring that youth was more important than experience. Ultimately, the former child actor Beymer (the most unlikely of the candidates) won the part of Tony. Having been invited for several callbacks, Tamblyn impressed the producers and was given the role of Riff.
The producers had not originally thought of Natalie Wood for the role of Maria. She was filming Splendor in the Grass with Warren Beatty and was romantically involved with him off-screen. When Beatty went to screen test for the role of Tony, Wood read opposite him as Maria as a favor because she had been practicing with him. The producers fell in love with the idea of Wood as Maria but did not cast Beatty.
Jill St. John, Audrey Hepburn, Diane Baker, Valerie Harper, Elizabeth Ashley, and Suzanne Pleshette were among the many actresses who lobbied for the role of Maria in the film adaptation. However, Hepburn later withdrew because she became pregnant.
Both Wood and Beymer tried to do their own singing for the movie, but their voices were ultimately deemed insufficient and they were dubbed by Marni Nixon and Jimmy Bryant, respectively. Wood's contract stated that she would pre-record all her songs. When Wood struggled with the challenging soprano role her voice was blended with Marni Nixon's. Natalie sang the lower portions and Marni provided the higher vocals, (this is similar to Marni's work dubbing some of the vocals for Marilyn Monroe on the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"). Wood filmed to the mixed vocal recordings. During production, she was led to believe that these versions would be used (with Wood singing the majority of the vocals), although music supervisors Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green had already decided her singing voice would later be completely dubbed by Nixon. As well as acting and singing the role of Ice, Tucker Smith dubbed the singing voice of Riff in "Jet Song", instead of Russ Tamblyn. Russ' own voice was used in "Gee, Officer Krupke" and the "Quintet". Rita Moreno was dubbed by Betty Wand in the song "A Boy Like That" because the song was in too low a register for her; she sang her own vocals in "America". Marni Nixon sang some of Moreno's parts in the "Quintet". Moreno had intended to sing this herself but couldn't due to illness; Betty Wand was also ill on the day of final recording, so Nixon stepped in to record Anita's vocal line. So, technically, the song is made a quartet and in the counterpoint section of the song, Marni Nixon is singing both Maria's and Anita's lines.
Awards and honors
The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1997. The film holds the distinction of being the musical film with the most Academy Award wins (10 wins), including Best Picture (three other films also won 11 Oscars each, but they are not musicals).
- Academy Award for Best Picture – Robert Wise, producer
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – George Chakiris
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress – Rita Moreno
- Academy Award for Best Art Direction (Set Decoration, Color) – Victor A. Gangelin and Boris Leven
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Color) – Daniel L. Fapp
- Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Color) – Irene Sharaff
- Academy Award for Best Director – Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
- Academy Award for Best Film Editing – Thomas Stanford
- Academy Award for Best Original Score – Saul Chaplin, Johnny Green, Irwin Kostal, and Sid Ramin
- Academy Award for Best Sound – Fred Hynes (Todd-AO SSD), and Gordon E. Sawyer (Samuel Goldwyn SSD)
- Academy Award for Brilliant Achievements in the Art of Choreography on Film – Jerome Robbins
American Film Institute lists:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies – #41
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – #3
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
- AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – #2
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #51
Score and soundtrack
Leonard Bernstein was displeased with the orchestration of the movie, which was done by Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal, who had orchestrated the original Broadway production. That show was orchestrated for roughly 30 musicians; for the movie, United Artists allowed them triple that, including six saxophone parts, eight trumpets, five pianos and five xylophones. Bernstein found it "overbearing and lacking in texture and subtlety." 
For the 50th anniversary of the film's 1961 release, a score closer to the Broadway version was created by Garth Edwin Sunderland of the Leonard Bernstein Office, to be performed live at screenings of the movie with the score removed, but the original vocals maintained. The score's New York City premiere was presented at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, built atop the original film locations, which were razed in a late 1950s urban renewal project. The film's cast appeared and was honored at the 50th anniversary of West Side Story at the 2011 Ventura Film Festival.
The Stan Kenton Orchestra recorded Kenton's West Side Story, an entire album of Johnny Richards' jazz orchestrations based on the Bernstein scores in 1961. It was previewed at Capitol Records by the producers of the motion picture during the editing and mix down who lamented that, had they known of its existence, it would have been used as the musical foundation of the new film. The Kenton version won the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Recording by a Large Group. A still picture from the movie is the front cover of the Kenton LP
- "West Side Story (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. January 12, 1962. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
- "David Winters Tribute Site". Davidwinters.net. 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Internet Movie Database
- Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 177
- "West Side Story (1961) – Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2008.
- "The 34th Academy Awards (1962) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- West Side Story at Rotten Tomatoes
- Wakin, Daniel (September 6, 2011), "Classic Score by Bernstein is Remade", The New York Times, retrieved September 7, 2011
- Berson, Misha (2011). Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination. Applause.
- "Path of Discovery: West Side Story at 50", Justin M. Craig, September 27, 2011, leonardbernstein.com
- Sarah Waxman, "The History of the Upper West Side", ny.com
- West Side Story 50th Anniversary
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: West Side Story|
- Official website
- West Side Story at the American Film Institute Catalog
- West Side Story at the Internet Movie Database
- West Side Story at the TCM Movie Database
- West Side Story at Rotten Tomatoes
- Official West Side Story site for all incarnations
|Academy Award winner for
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
The Last Picture Show