February 25th, 2014

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Oscars: Top 25 Best Picture Winners
Eighty-five movies in elite club, but some stand taller than others: Our picks

By Darren Franich, Chris Nashawaty, Denise Warner

11. West Side Story (1961)

The Manhattan-set riff on Romeo & Juliet had a fascinating, somewhat fraught production. Director Robert Wise was an old studio pro. Legendary Broadway choreographer Jerome Robbins was brought in to film the dance numbers, went way over budget, and was ultimately kicked off the project. He still shares a co-director credit, though, and the film itself is an addictive, high-energy cocktail of old-fashioned melodrama and youthful daring — a perfect merger of Old Hollywood and Sondheim. Also, try not to snap your fingers during the opening number. —Darren Franich