Movie Review: West Side Story

West Side Story Trailer

West Side Story Summary

Two teenage gangs struggle for control on the Upper West Side in New York City in the 1950s. The Jets, a white gang led by Riff, brawl with the Sharks, a group of Puerto Ricans led by Bernardo. Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke arrive and break it up. The Jets decide to challenge the Sharks to a rumble after an upcoming dance.

Riff wants his best friend Tony, co-founder of the Jets, who left the gang, to fight at the rumble. Riff invites Tony to the dance, but Tony tells Riff that he senses something important is coming, which Riff suggests could happen at the dance. After more persuasion, Tony agrees to go. Bernardo’s younger sister, Maria, tells her best friend and Bernardo’s girlfriend, Anita, how excited she is about the dance. At the dance, the gangs and their girls refuse to intermingle. Tony arrives; he and Maria fall in love instantly, but Bernardo angrily demands that Tony stay away from her. Riff proposes a meeting with Bernardo at Doc’s drug store at midnight to settle the rules for the rumble.

Maria is sent home; Anita argues that Bernardo is overprotective of Maria, and they compare the advantages of Puerto Rico and the United States. Tony sneaks onto Maria’s fire escape, where they reaffirm their love. Krupke, who suspects the Jets are planning something, visits them and warns them not to cause trouble. The Sharks arrive, and the gangs agree to have the showdown the following evening under the highway, with a one-on-one fistfight. When Schrank arrives, the gangs feign friendship. Schrank orders the Sharks out and unsuccessfully tries to discover information about the fight.

The next day at the bridal shop where they work, Anita accidentally tells Maria about the rumble. Tony arrives to see Maria. Anita, shocked, warns them about the consequences if Bernardo learns of their relationship. Maria makes Tony promise to prevent the rumble. Tony and Maria fantasize about their wedding.

The gangs approach the area under the highway. Tony arrives to stop the fight, but Bernardo antagonizes him. Unwilling to watch Tony be humiliated, Riff initiates a knife fight. Tony tries to intervene, which leads to Bernardo stabbing and killing Riff. Tony then kills Bernardo with Riff’s knife, and a melee ensues. Police sirens blare, and everyone flees, leaving behind the dead bodies. Maria waits for Tony on the rooftop of her apartment building; her fiancé Chino (an arranged engagement) arrives and tells her what happened. When Tony arrives, he asks for her forgiveness before he turns himself in to the police. Maria confirms her love for him and asks Tony to stay with her.

The Jets and their new leader, Ice, reassemble outside a garage and focus on reacting to the police. Anybodys arrives and warns them that Chino is now after Tony with a gun. Ice sends the Jets to warn Tony. A grieving Anita enters the apartment while Tony and Maria are in the bedroom. The lovers arrange to meet at Doc’s, where they will pick up getaway money to elope. Anita spots Tony leaving through the window and chides Maria for the relationship with Bernardo’s killer, but Maria convinces her to help them elope. Schrank arrives and questions Maria about the rumble. Maria sends Anita to tell Tony that Maria is detained from meeting him.

When Anita reaches Doc’s, the Jets harass her until Doc intervenes. Anita angrily says that Chino has killed Maria. Doc banishes the Jets, gives Tony his getaway money in the basement and delivers Anita’s message. Tony, distraught, runs into the streets, shouting for Chino to kill him too. In the playground next to Doc’s, Tony spots Maria and they run toward each other, only for Chino to shoot Tony. The gangs arrive to find Maria holding Tony, who dies in her arms. Maria stops the gangs from fighting, takes the gun from Chino and threatens to shoot everyone, blaming their hate for the deaths. Schrank, Krupke and Doc arrive, and the gangs form a funeral procession, with Maria following. The police arrest Chino and lead him away.

West Side Story Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The fight, the dancing, the singing and the storyline all fall in line for the perfect musical. This was the original however there are remakes in the works.

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