West Side Story

Directed by Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise
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The Independent Culture

West Side Story (1961) Westside story is the award winning adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliette. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs- the white Jets led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Brenardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Riff's best friend (and former Jet) Tony and Bernardo's younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love. Maria and Tony begin meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Skarks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway - whoever wins gains control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop it, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong, and before the lovers know what's happened, tragedy strikes and doesn't stop until the climatic and heartbreaking ending.


Jerome Robbins

Robert Wise


Jerome Robbins (conception) and

Arthur Laurents (play)


Natalie Wood... Maria

Richard Beymer... Tony

Russ Tamblyn... Riff

Rita Moreno... Anita

George Chakiris... Bernardo

Simon Oakland... Lieutenant Schrank

Ned Glass... Doc

William Bramley... Officer Krupke

Tucker Smith... Ice

Tony Mordente... Action

David Winters... Arab

Eliot Feld... Baby John

Bert Michaels... Snowboy

David Bean... Tiger

Robert Banas... Joyboy


  • Russ Tamblyn had originally tried out for the role of Tony. It was down to just him and Richard Beymer, and Beymer ended up getting it. But then the casting directors called him back and asked him to read for Riff, and he got the part.