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West Side Story (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (1961)

Natalie Wood , George Chakiris , Jerome Robbins , Robert Wise  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (800 customer reviews)

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West Side Story (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] + Fiddler on the Roof (Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) + The Music Man [Blu-ray]
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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: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Original recording remastered, Restored, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (800 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005BDZN62
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,243 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "West Side Story (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

Disc 1: West Side Story Remastered in 1080p Hi-Def with 7.1 DTS-HD Sound

Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode
Song-Specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim
Music Machine

Disc 2: Blu-ray Additional Special Features

A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy
Creation and Innovation
A Timeless Vision
West Side Memories
Storyboard-to-Film Comparison Montage

Disc 3: DVD

West Side Story Digitally Restored in
Standard Definition
Music Machine

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

The 50th-anniversary Blu-ray edition features a huge selection of extras on both the main disc and a separate bonus features disc. On the main disc, "Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode" offers insight into seven of the film's dance sequences by a variety of contemporary directors and choreographers, as well as actors from both the film and Broadway play. The discussion ranges from why specific moves were chosen for individual dances to how extensively choreographed and rehearsed most dances were and how the dances managed to successfully integrate music, word, and dance into a powerful expression of both plot and emotion. The "Song-Specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim" is an intriguing and candid discussion by Sondheim about how he created the lyrics for 14 distinct songs, which songs he felt were most successful, the lyrics he's most embarrassed about penning, and even an admission that, in his opinion, he was wrong to fight for the reordering of the songs "Officer Krupke" and "Cool." The 20-track "Music Machine," which allows viewers to go directly to their favorite musical numbers, is the final special feature on the main disc.

On the bonus features disc, "A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy" explores how incredibly groundbreaking and innovative the film was. Offering their musings are contemporary producers, directors, actors, and choreographers, among them Adam Shankman (Hairspray and Rock of Ages), Zach Woodlee (Glee), and Mikhail Baryshnikov (White Nights and Baryshnikov on Broadway), as well as Sondheim and assistant director Robert Relyea, and even composer Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie Bernstein. What comes through loud and clear is that West Side Story was a revolutionary film: a project in which three men from three separate disciplines came together to tell a story in a completely new way and in which the traditional boundaries between dancing, acting, and singing simply dissolved. The feature explores the emotional impact of this then-new form of storytelling and how it led the way for musicals, and later music videos, to tackle serious subject matter. It also looks at the global reach of the film, gives a nod to the many modern films and television programs that have paid homage to the film over the years, and explains how the musical inspired the West Side Story Project, in which police and theaters in places like Seattle join forces to facilitate open conversation and interaction among gang members, police, and local theaters. The 56-minute "West Side Memories" features director and coproducer Robert Wise, playwright Arthur Laurents, lyricist Sondheim, executive producer Walter Mirisch, various other cast and crew members, and even the voice of Jerome Robbins, thanks to a recording of a 1960 interview. They expound on everything, from the unique form of this musical to the genius of Leonard Bernstein and his uncanny way of combining popular music with Cuban and jazz influences, as well as aspects of classical music. They also touch on the complex choreography of Robbins and the intense relationship he had with the dancers, and Sondheim's uncanny ability to tailor a song to a specific role and to function as an extension of the author. There's discussion about how different the characters of Maria, Anita, Tony, and Riff are and how markedly the demands of playing each role differ, as well as an interesting and very frank conversation about Saul Chaplin's insistence on dubbing many of the singing voices. Other special features include a storyboard-to-film comparison montage and four trailers: original theatrical, original issue, reissue, and animated. --Tami Horiuchi

Product Description

The greatest love story ever told...in the most acclaimed musical of all time...on Blu-ray! Experience every sensational song, dazzling dance number and magical movie moment of West Side Story in sparkling high definition with pure 7.1 digital sound - along with fascinating special features created exclusively for this 50th Anniversary Edition! Winner of ten Academy Awardsr, including Best Picture, this electrifying musical sets the ageless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet against a backdrop of gang warfare in 1950s New York. Featuring an unforgettable score, exuberant choreography and powerful performances by Natalie Wood, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris,West Side Story will forever resonate as a true cinematic masterpiece.

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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it & watched it 2 times already & love all the extras......
Published 1 day ago by peter konstantopoulos
5.0 out of 5 stars Best musical ever
Absolutely the best musical ever.
Published 4 days ago by Christine Conrad
4.0 out of 5 stars Good DVD
I wish that I could have found the wide screen DVD, but this one is of good quality.
Published 5 days ago by Rachella
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Not to be Missed
West Side Story could have been just another remake of Romeo and Juliet. However, the combination of Leonard Bernstein's score and Jerome Robbins' choreography raises it from the... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jack Wardynski
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Yawnfest
Yawn fest. Not sure how this became so popular. A couple of good songs but all in all not nearly as good as so many other musicals from this time.
Published 7 days ago by johnpmartin
4.0 out of 5 stars Woderful Product. Fabulous musical for the price
Great DVD set. Many bonus features on disc 2. Picture quality is excellent. I highly recommend this product for any musical collectors.
Published 7 days ago by Kenneth Abramowitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great musical, have watched it countless times
Got this on VHS as a teenager and it took me until I was 25 to finally buy it on DVD. Great musical, have watched it countless times! Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amanda Jernigan
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAT IT!!!!!
Rita Moreno should have played "Maria" the lead role. Instead Hollywood's racial code cast Natalie Wood (who can't sing or dance) faking Spanish acceeent. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Samuel Augustus Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a cLASSIC WITH A SUPER LIFE LESSON IN THE END
Published 11 days ago by pink pearl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic movie!! Leonard Bernstein'music is a national treasure!! Everyone should see this movie!!
Published 11 days ago by Kathryn A DiCola
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What special features are on this Blu-Ray Edition?
http://hcc.techradar.com/playback/blu-ray/blu-ray-review-west-side-story-50th-anniversary-edition-02-10-11
Oct 22, 2011 by Krokfors |  See all 6 posts
"West Side Story" Blu-Ray problems?....
Robert Harris, a greatly respected film restorer, has written about the problems with the WSS blu disc at hometheaterforum.com. If you care about this film and, particularly if you were planning on shelling out big bucks for the big box, it's worth reading what he has to say and the discussion... Read More
Oct 28, 2011 by j in boston |  See all 17 posts
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