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West Side Story (Full Screen Edition) (1961)

Natalie Wood , George Chakiris , Jerome Robbins , Robert Wise  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (818 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno
  • Directors: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
  • Writers: Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Ernest Lehman, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Robert Wise, Saul Chaplin
  • Format: Full Screen, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (818 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AM6IY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,812 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "West Side Story (Full Screen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New transfer
  • New 5.1 soundtrack

Editorial Reviews

This brilliant (The New Republic) film sets the ageless story of Romeo and Juliet against a backdrop of gang warfare in 1950s New York. Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and scripted by Ernest Lehman, the film combines Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's unforgettable score ( Maria, America, 'somewhere, 'tonight ) with Robbins own exuberant choreography to achieve an exhilarating work of art (Saturday Review). A love affair is fated for tragedy amidst the vicious rivalry of two street gangsthe Jets and the Sharks. When Jets member Tony (RichardBeymer) falls for Maria (Natalie Wood), the sister of the Sharks leader, it's more than these two warring gangs can handle. And as mounting tensions rise, a battle to the death ensues, and innocent blood is shed in a heartbreaking finale.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
315 of 324 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WEST SIDE STORY Impresses April 3, 2003
Format:DVD
Wow. What a great DVD.
The one hour documentary featuring interviews with some of the cast, Robert Wise, Harold Prince, Sondheim, and some key crew members is completely engrossing. Home movie footage showing the filming of the movie is included. Examples of the techniques that the movie makers used to film a musical are fascinating. I was amazed that the knife scene, for example, is COMPLETELY counted out and the actor/dancers' movements were choreographed down to the second (breath, two, three, four; stab, two three; look, two, three, four). Incredible! Rita Morena is particularly informative regarding the dubbing of her song "A Boy Like That". The Robbins/Wise codirecting of the film is explained. And some of Natalie Wood's original vocals are included. The documentary is invaluable for fans of the film.
As for the film itself, it looks and sounds incredible on my widescreen HDTV. The anamorphic transfer is very good.
The DVD is packaged very well. The book which accompanies the set is very cool, with a great introduction by screenwriter Ernest Lehman (who is one of my movie heros).
I'm very impressed with this special edition of WEST SIDE STORY. The film is a classic, and deserves such treatment.
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131 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Musical, As It Should Be Presented December 14, 2004
Format:DVD
"West Side Story" is proof that the sum of its parts can not only be greater than the whole, but possibly be the greatest!

Little known writer in Elizabethian England pens a drama about two star-crossed lovers. Flash ahead to the turbulent streets of New York in the late 1950s and early 60s. Turn feuding families to rival gangs. Add music, choreography, make it vital. Then find a brilliant director who knows what to show, and watch as it takes home every Oscar it can.

We know the story of this film but what's important for you to know about here are the extras you get in this package that make it worth your while: The first disc is the film, preserved perfectly. And the second disc has your special features.

First, you get a great documentary on the making of the film. Titled "West Side Memories," Principals like Sondheim, Moreno, Chakiris, Beymer and more sit before the cameras and explain the process of preparing and executing what could be the finest example of the Hollywood Musical, ever. It's a piece that's could have been a stand alone DVD, it's so rich with insights.

You also get an interesting "Storyboard to Film" montage, where you see the artist's renderings of the scenes, and how those shots looked when they appeared in the film. You get to study these storyboards more carefully in several galleries on the disc. Lots of other goodies, like the theatrical trailers and photos galore... everything from Jerome Robbins's cattle call for dancers to location shots during production!
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BAD BLU RAY MANUFACTURE November 10, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
There are known issues on this blu ray release. The studio says it will fix the problems ONLY in future manufacturing. Don't buy this one right away. It's a great film and it's opening moments were accidentally mutilated by the blu ray mfr. I am surprised a mass distributor like Amazon is moving forward and shipping this bad pressing.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING MOVIE MUSICALS EVER! April 1, 2003
By Nix Pix
Format:DVD
When "West Side Story" hit the Broadway stage it must have shocked theater critics. A balletic musical about street gangs and murder, with such an emotional swell built in, that even the most hardened cynics must have left the show dewey-eyed and humming the Leonard Berstein score. The film created nothing less than an international craze and garnered an unprecidented 10 Oscars - the most of any musical.
PLOT: In a nut shell, this is Romeo and Juliet in the ghetto. Natilie Wood (dubbed by Marni Nixon) is Maria; poor, Puertorican and in love with Richard Beymer (Tony). But her brother, Bernardo (George Chakaris) and his girlfriend, Anita (Rita Moreno) don't approve. If you know your Shakespeare, you know how this one ends. The difference here are the songs, so electric and outstanding that they easily steal the show. Try listening to "America" or "I Feel Pretty" without tapping your toes or "One Hand, One Heart" without getting goose-bumps. It's impossible.
MGM gives us some nice packaging and some extras but let's state the obvious first: this transfer is identical to the one previously issued on DVD. Having said that, the transfer is quite good, with a rich bold color scheme and fair solid blacks. But there are cases where edge enhancement is present and quite obtrusive. There's also a lot of pixelization in the backgrounds.
Certain scenes appear slightly out of focus, while others are so sharp that even with your televsion sharpness turned to zero, the image is rather hard to look at on the screen.
The soundtrack is very strident. Songs are presented at an explosive listening level that really rocks the house. But other bits of dialogue are soft or muffled. Some of the songs have a grating high pitch to them that really strains the ear.
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