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12 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Movies, Ranked
Not all adaptations are alike in dignity

1. West Side Story (1961)

It speaks to the eternal brilliance of Shakespeare that when we reimagine his plays in strange new places, they work all the better — and it speaks to the perfection of Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story that it beat out all these lush Renaissance retellings for the top spot among Romeo and Juliet movies. Fair Verona becomes Manhattan in the 1950s, where rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks are embroiled in a bitter turf war, and former Jet Tony (Richard Beymer) romances the Sharks’ leader’s sister Maria (Natalie Wood) from the bottom of a fire escape. While nobody speaks a word of Shakespeare, the movie’s got the next best thing in Stephen Sondheim, who got one of his first major gigs writing the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s songs. And while the young lovers are both sufficiently charming, it’s George Chakiris’ Bernardo (the Tybalt character) and Rita Moreno’s Anita (the Nurse) who steal the show in Oscar-winning performances buoyed by some killer dancing. West Side Story may not be written in iambic pentameter, but its passion and sincerity get to the heart of Romeo and Juliet better than anything else.



Nov. 3rd, 2016 04:23 am (UTC)
Some people claim that West Side Story is a modern-day version of Romeo & Juliet.
The people who call West Side Story a modern-day or hip version of Romeo & Juliet may have a point, but after a certain point; the similarities between West Side Story and Romeo & Juliet end. First of all, unlike Romeo and Julliette, Maria survives. Secondly, unlike West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet doesn't involve dancing as an indication of the various emotions in it. Thirdly, West Side Story takes place in the United States' very largest city; New York, on Manhattan's West Side .

Plus the dialogue is also much more hip than Romeo & Juliet's, as well.


wss crazy cool by dallowayward
West Side Story

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