West Side Story (1961)

2007 #53
Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins | 146 mins | DVD | PG

West Side Story“Everything’s free in America,” goes the famous line; but this film is probably more accurately summed up in its following line: “For a small fee in America”.

For, surprisingly, underneath the song and dance numbers (some impressive, some embarrassing), the Shakespearian romance story, and the vibrant and beautiful cinematography, beats the heart of a gritty, political, social drama about gangs, racism, immigration, and more — issues that seem as pertinent today as ever.

It’s a brilliant film, which falls short of full marks only thanks to some of those weaker song & dance bits (and I might be being a tad unfair there).

4 out of 5

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