Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

West Side Story (1961)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

West Side Story (1961)

In co-directors Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise's Best Picture-winning adaptation of the popular Broadway musical:

  • the opening prologue with aerial shots of Manhattan
  • the remarkably energetic Jerome Robbins' choreography (filmed in New York's Hell's Kitchen district) especially in the opening balletic sequence, demonstrating the rivalry between the Caucasian Jets and the immigrant Puerto Rican Sharks - and the dance-song "The Jet Song"
  • the dance at the gymnasium during the first meeting of star-crossed lovers Maria (Natalie Wood) and Tony (Richard Beymer), and Tony's subsequent singing of "Maria" about his newfound love
  • the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene re-enacted on a tenement fire escape with the singing of the duet "Tonight" by both Tony and Maria
  • the scene of Anita's (Oscar-winning Rita Moreno) passionate skirt-tossing dance with other Puerto Ricans on the rooftop in the singing of "America"
  • the biting satire of "Gee Officer Krupke," Maria's "I Feel Pretty" dance in a bridal shop, and Tony and Maria's sensitive exchange of love vows during a make-believe wedding between them in "One Hand, One Heart"
  • the action-oriented rumble/dance sequence leading to the killings of two rival gang leaders Riff (Russ Tamblyn) and Bernardo (Oscar-winning George Chakiris)
  • the melodramatic finale when Tony died in Maria's arms as she knelt by his side (singing a reprise of Somewhere: "Hold my hand and I'll take you there")


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