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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 March 2006
What can you say about a film over 40 years old that still has the ability to captivate, excite and delight? The basic premise is that of romeo and juliet, brought into the 20th century new york gang culture. The Bernstein score still sounds fresh and vibrant, with it's jazzy yet flowing rhythms and melodies and the choreography is incredibly multi-layered but easy on the eye. The dancing is particularly impressive, with russ tamblyn and george chakiris leading the way. Okay, the singing voices of natalie wood and richard beymer are over-dubbed, but this should not detract from a musical which has the best score of any musical ever (great lyrics, too), and also some of the best choreography. A visual and aural treat.
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on 18 October 2011
This review is for the recently released (I only got my pre-order yesterday) Blu-ray version of West Side Story. I couldn't wait to get the item out of its packaging and slotted into my Blu-ray player! I have waited years to watch this film in more or less the same video quality as I saw it on its release!

Well I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that some aspects of this film have become a bit dated. However, this is an absolute classic musical and there is so much to savour and enjoy. The music is magnificent as is the dancing and choreography.

The main purpose of this review is to pass comment on the quality of the new Blu-ray release. Is it worth the upgrade? My answer would be an emphatic `Yes'! The new release is superb. The colour palette is much improved with generally rich colours and good blacks and the picture is much sharper with better overall clarity. The sound quality is also excellent with a couple of options for the English listener. I chose the 7 track DTS default version which provided a very satisfying sound quality.

The new release comes with a modern picture in picture menu system and the useful `bookmark' feature so that you can personally mark all your favourite pieces. The film is presented in its original theatrical release complete with the intermission music. There are a whole host of extras which I have yet to view and my first impressions of this release are very favourable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 December 2005
I remember seeing 'West Side Story' for the first time in a Glasgow cinema in the 1970s when I was about 18 and being bowled over by it. I had never seen anything like it - in particular, the energy and expressiveness of the dance sequences were a new experience for me. It mirrors the 'Romeo and Juliet' story (which I did know) cleverly and effectively - there's a Prince, a Friar Lawrence, a Nurse and so on. The music is marvellous and the central performances excellent. I'm glad that it is now known that Marni Nixon was the wonderful singer who sang for Natalie Wood (she deserves that credit), but this does not detract from the pathos of the actress's performance ; she looks and behaves exactly as Maria should. It was a ground-breaking musical when it came out and there has been nothing since quite like it, so to have it in DVD is not just good but essential.
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on 9 January 2009
The Academy got it right for once in 1961, crowning this masterpiece with 10 Oscars. All these years later, it looks and sounds absolutely stunning - slight reservations about Richard Beymer's Tony apart [I feel guilty about even saying that], it remains an almost flawless representation of what Hollywood does best. Of course, a great part of it is down to Leonard Bernstein's timeless score - Maria, Somewhere, Tonight, America - who could cram so many great songs into a musical these days? [What I've never understood is why Bernstein wasn't nominated for an Oscar]. Jerome Robbins's choreography is breathtaking and executed pefectly by the cast - look at the Cool sequence, particularly the tracking shot, and the exuberant America, and Robert Wise's direction was groundbreaking. Natalie Wood is wonderfully touching as Maria, Rita Moreno a peerless Anita, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris are both perfect, the supporting cast committed and working wonderfully as an ensemble.
No film musical has reached these heights since. For all its theatricality, I defy anyone to remain unmoved by the closing sequence. This is one of the indisputable classics of American cinema.
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on 13 January 2004
If you love west side story this collectors edition is for you. The accompanying scapbook is divine, full of lots of information about the casting and making of the film, the stage play, and the entire film script. Then when you are finished reading the book you can watch the magic. I bought this for my sister and kept it for myself, i just returned to buy another copy for her - hope it's here in time for her birthday! Sorry Liz!!
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on 9 November 2000
As a Key Stage 2 teacher, teaching dance, drama and the literacy hour, there has never been a media that has captured my class' imagination like West Side Story did. The smoothly styled dancing makes the dancing as appealing to both boys and girls of various ages. It can be used as a great stimulus from the simple comparisons between the film and Romeo and Juliet, to the comparisons of gang fighting within a local area. Certainly gets a gold star from me!
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on 21 December 2005
Jerome Robbins' stunning choreography, Leonard Bernstein's classic score and Stephen Sondheim's unforgetable lyrics make this a classic masterpiece you'll never tire of watching! A must-see movie.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2005
"There's a place for us, a time and place for us. Hold my hand and we're halfway there."
Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

And there is a movie for us. "West Side Story" is a classic on too many levels to describe here. Everything from the music to the choreography to the actors to...

One big plus is even if the story line is a classic they did not try to duplicate Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" with modern clothing. The movie still maintains the feel and action of the play.

This movie tells the story of two people Tony and Maria (Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood) from adverse backgrounds that fall in love. They must cope with their new feelings. And to complicit things they have trouble from their families and society. Will they overcome these things or will fait and circumstance thwart their efforts and tragedy arise?

I could write a book on what makes this movie great but it is best that you watch and judge for yourself.
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on 25 November 2010
I had the CD but thought it would be nice to see the pictures as well as I haven't seen the film for many years

What a shame that the lip sync is so far out. Makes it almost unwatchable. I don't know if it was always that bad or if this is some kind of new digital improvement
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on 26 October 2011
I am giving this posting a single star to bring people's attention to a flaw that exists in the Master that was produced for the Blu-ray disc being sold through and other outlets. It is not a reflection on the film itself, which is brilliant and a personal favourite. According to Archivist Robert Harris, who in 2011 obtained the UK Blu-ray release of West Side Story, he noted that what was originally a dissolve transition from designer Saul Bass's skyline pattern to the main title at 4.40 on the disc, now appears as a fade-to-black/fade-in transition lasting a few seconds. According to Harris, this mistake occurred in the HD mastering of the film; it went unnoticed and eventually appeared in the Blu-ray release. The flaw was also in the original U.S. released version. After an outcry from purchasers of the disc in the U.S., Fox corrected the flaw and re-issued the blu-ray. While is aware of the flaw, and has been in contact its suppliers and Fox, it is "awaiting instructions".

Having contacted Fox in the U.K., I was invited to return my disc for a replacement. Fox was able to make changes, in that a small adjustment was made at the point of the fade to black to lessen the impact. As a result of this possibility, the obvious question that comes to mind is, "if they could do that, why couldn't they restore the film to the way it was originally made?". Fox stated the fade to black had been inserted to create a chapter break that would be user friendly [for anyone who didn't wish to see/hear the lead-in]. You don't have to fade a movie to black on DVD or Blu-ray in order to insert a chapter break. All that said, as the U.S. re-issue is region free, I ordered a copy. Yes, the copy I received is the "corrected" copy but the "correction" is not perfect.

I discovered on the internet a posting of a visual comparison of these various images and, as pictures speak louder than words, anyone interested in this discussion may like go to there. I have tried to post a specific link but Amazon deleted it. Let me now try and get around this by suggesting the following steps. Using your browser, enter a search using the words "West Side Story Opening Credits Comparison". From the list go to the site for "highdefdigest". At the end of the review, after the images of the discs and the packaging, you will see a further link for "See what people are saying about this story". A few entries down the list that appears will be one for a member called Xylon. It will be obvious as you will immediately see a four picture image of the opening sequence for the film. When you click play, the sequence for the DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray "corrected" releases will simultaneously be played and from that you can make your own judgement. The duration of the comparison sequence is about one minute.

Finally, let me acknowledge that there are film lovers, like myself, who see the fixing of this particular flaw as important, as it preserves the film's history and integrity, while others might wonder what all the fuss is about. It simply boils down to a matter of personal choice. I have deleted all my previous replies and now let the current situation speak for itself. My thanks to all who have shared their comments, both in agreement and disagreement. There will be no further postings. Best wishes.
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