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West Side Story (Special Edition Collector's Set) (1961)

Natalie Wood , George Chakiris , Jerome Robbins , Robert Wise  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (806 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: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, Box set, NTSC
  • 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: 2.20:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 152 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (806 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008972S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,314 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "West Side Story (Special Edition Collector's Set)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Disc 1:
  • New Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
  • Option to play feature with or without intermission
  • Disc 2:
  • "West Side Memories": 1-hour retrospective documentary containing Natalie Wood's original vocal recordings and new interviews with the cast and crew, including Robert Wise and Stephen Sondheim
  • Original film intermission music, restored and remixed in 5.1 surround
  • Storyboard-to-film comparison
  • Original release trailers and behind-the-scenes photos, plus production design and storyboard galleries
  • Collectible scrapbook:
  • Ernest Lehman introduction
  • Complete copy of the working film script
  • Reproduction of the original lobby brochure
  • Behind-the-scenes memos plus film reviews from 1961

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

West Side Story, considered by many the greatest movie musical ever, is beautifully packaged in its collector's edition set. The film itself has a new transfer and 5.1 sound mix (though the picture and 5.1 sound of the original DVD release were also excellent), and adds 90 seconds of intermission music, which is an instrumental version of "I Feel Pretty" before the film resumes with that song. The opening menu allows viewers to select whether they want to hear the intermission music (it's not separately tracked). The second disc offers numerous features, such as storyboards, international advertising, and, of chief interest, a 56-minute 2003 documentary that interviews key contributors such as director-coproducer Robert Wise, playwright Arthur Laurents, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim (who says that even when the show was on stage he wanted "Gee, Officer Krupke" and "Cool" switched to the order they appear in the film). Most interesting are the discussions about the extensive dubbing. It's common knowledge that Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer were dubbed (you can hear her original "I Feel Pretty," which is adequate, and her part in the "Tonight" quintet, which is not), but Russ Tamblyn says that associate producer Saul Chaplin insisted on dubbing everyone, and Rita Moreno expresses her dissatisfaction with the character of her dubbed voice. The package is rounded out by a lovely and thick (if somewhat small-sized) booklet that reproduces the original screenplay and lobby brochure, supplemented by a new letter from screenwriter Ernest Lehman and other goodies. --David Horiuchi

Product Description

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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Has not aged.
Published 1 day ago by TV Child
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wife loves this
Published 2 days ago by Mark Bernas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic DVD
Personal Favorite!
Published 2 days ago by B. J. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted with the sharp visuals/graphic images that this Blue-Ray...
Delighted with the sharp visuals/graphic images that this Blue-Ray Version provided of this beautiful, almost perfect film. A major improvement over past releases of this film.
Published 5 days ago by Marta G. Aguado
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excelent movie
Published 7 days ago by Rafael Sequeira
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it & watched it 2 times already & love all the extras......
Published 10 days ago by peter konstantopoulos
5.0 out of 5 stars Best musical ever
Absolutely the best musical ever.
Published 12 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 13 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 15 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 15 days ago by johnpmartin
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