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4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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 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 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 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 10 February 2016
55 years after its release & 10 Oscars, to give a review, has to be a personal response to what many others consider to be a musical masterpiece. The original Broadway stage production changed the concept of musical theatre forever. No curtain had ever come down on the 1st act with two dead bodies onstage! The story, an updated version of Romeo & Juliet, with its tragic finalé was groundbreaking at the time, although the character of Maria (Juliet), remains alive in both the stage production & film.
The film version was able to enlarge on the production to such an extent that it became a world-wide success - the original soundtrack one of the all-time best sellers beaten only years later by The Sound of Music.
This Special Edition I found absolutely spellbinding in its 'Special Features' as being a former dancer myself, it was fascinating to hear the insights of many of the stars & interviews with some of the creative team, many of whom are now no longer with us. The memories of how the dance routines were filmed, 'off-shot' movies of various sequences etc are a joy to behold. Rita Moreno in particular describes working with Jerome Robbins & how demanding he was as a choreographer, also the dubbing of her voice in the duet between Anita & Maria,(which is where the tears come for me when I watch the film or a particularly well-cast stage production!).
It has to be said, the dancing & the energy in these scenes is unique & has never been eclipsed, Bernstien's music is a truly remarkable achievement & the songs benefit from the inspired lyrics of the young Stephen Sondhiem.
The subject of dubbing the voices of the main characters is discussed & the relevant clips give credit to the singers - of which Marnie Nixon does yet another tremendous job, as Natalie Wood recorded all the songs, but when the studio said her voice wasn't up to it, had to let Nixon match her lip-sync, rather than the other way around!
These features are amongst the most comprehensive ever to accompany a film musical from that era & are invaluable to anyone interested in how a Broadway show is brought to the screen & in this instance one can see it was a labour of love!
It's a bargain! I got it delivered in 2 days!
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