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West Side Story (1961)

Original Version

Robert Wise/Jerome Robbins | 1961 | 151 MINS
The classic original version in which two gangs battle for control of the turf while one gang member falls in love with a rival’s sister.

In Detail

One of those happy collisions of breath-taking talent with Robert Wise’s classy direction, co-director Jerome Robbins’s sublime choreography all blending with Bernstein’s iconic score and Sondheim’s lyrics.

Two gangs, the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks, have a constant turf war in New York City's Upper West Side. At a dance after which the gangs are scheduled to rumble, Tony, best friend of Jets leader Riff, meets and falls in love with Maria, the sister of Sharks leader Bernardo.

Bernardo and his girlfriend Anita protest this new relationship. Tony and Maria reaffirm their love, but when tragedy strikes during the rumble, their conflicting loyalties to their respective gangs are challenged.

Following the film, Neil Brand leads an illustrated talk comparing this film with the recent Spielberg production. See below.

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Neil Brand's 'West Side Story' Talk