West Side Story

West Side Story

1961 film by Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins
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West Side Story

West Side Story is a 1961 American musical romantic drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. With a screenplay by Ernest Lehman, the film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was inspired by 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 in Super Panavision 70.

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Directed by
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Produced by
Robert Wise
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Written by add_black written by
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Screenplay by
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Story by add_black story by
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Based on
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Starring
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Narrated by add_black narrated by
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Music by
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Cinematography
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Edited by
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Animation by add_black animation by
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Layouts by add_black layouts by
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Backgrounds by add_black backgrounds by
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Color process add_black color process
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Production company
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Distributed by
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Release date
  • October 18, 1961 (1961-10-18)
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Running time
152 minutes
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Country
United States
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Language
English
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Budget
$6,000,000 USD
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Box office
$44,000,000 USD
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ADDITIONAL DETAILS

Type
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Theme
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Lieutenant Schrank: [as they exit] Say goodbye to the nice boys, Krupke. Officer Krupke: Goodbye, boys. Snowboy: [mimicking Krupke] "Goodbye, boys." Action: [mimicking Shranke] "You hoodlums don`t own the streets." Snowboy: "Go play in the park!" Action: "Keep off of the grass." Ice: "Get outta the house!" Action: "Keep off the block!" A-Rab: "Get outta here!" Action: "Keep off of the world!" A gang that don`t own the street is nothin`! Riff: WE DO OWN IT!
  • Robert Wise wanted the film to have a single rising line of tension, with no light moments after the rumble. Therefore, "I Feel Pretty" was moved earlier, and the positions of "Cool" and "Gee, Officer Krupke" were reversed. Those who feel that the sassy, light-hearted tone of "Gee, Officer Krupke" is out of place following the deaths that end the first act prefer the film`s ordering of the numbers. The placement of "I Feel Pretty" and "Gee, Officer Krumpke" after the Rumble in the stage version was meant to help cheer people up after the deaths of Bernardo and Riff, as audiences were not used to death occurring in Broadway musicals. This issue is still heatedly debated among the film`s fans.
  • Chita Rivera originated the role of Anita when West Side Story premiered at New York`s Winter Garden Theatre (September 26, 1957). Rita Moreno later played Anita in the film adaptation of the show.
  • The play "West Side Story" opened at the Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 1957, and ran for 732 performances.
  • Jerome Robbins rehearsed with the dancers for three months before shooting began. Once location shooting began, however, he kept revising and revising his original choreography. The dancers all claimed that they had never worked so hard on a dance piece, and most of them at one point or another sustained injuries during shooting.
  • Jerome Robbins initially refused to work on the film unless he could direct it. Producer Walter Mirisch was nervous about handing the reins entirely over to Robbins, who had never made a film before, so he enlisted Robert Wise to direct the drama while Robbins would handle the singing and dancing sequences. Robbins developed a habit of shooting numerous takes of each scene, to the point where the film went over budget and behind schedule. This led to his firing.

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