In 1961, West Side Story, a filmed version of the hit Broadway musical that was inspired by William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," was released to viewers, who just could not resist the energy and excitement of the movie. Thirty-eight years later, viewers, like myself, still cannot resist it. I had never seen the film, which was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, before, but I had always wondered why people loved this multi award-winning movie so much. After viewing the film, I think that it deserved the ten Academy Awards that it won because it has withstood the test of time and it truly is a remarkable film. It still has the same flair and ability to lure the viewer into the plot as it did when it was first shown in theaters. I think that it truly is one of the best pictures of this century because it offers entertainment and an important lesson about hate as well.
West Side Story is primarily a social statement with a touching love story surrounding the social aspect of the film. West Side Story has three main themes, love, tragedy, and justice, which are brought to light throughout the course of the movie. The plot of the film involves two race-based gangs fighting to rule the same strip of street on the West Side of New York City in the late 1950's. The film teaches a valuable lesson; a lesson about how hate can kill a person and destroy the lives of his or her loved ones. The Jets, a white gang of teenagers led by Riff, and the Sharks, the Puerto Ricans who recently came to the West Side, are the two gangs vying to rule the same area on their block. The Jets immediately hate the Sharks because they are different and vice versa. The two gangs' hatred is brought to a public level at a dance the same night as the first fight. During the dance, sparks fly between the sister of the leader of the Sharks, Maria, played by Natalie Wood, and former co-founding member of the Jets, Tony, and their Romeo and Juliet-like romance begins....
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