Vital Stats: Year: 1961 Directors: Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins Stars: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris Choreographer: Jerome Robbins Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Summary: Set in 1950s Manhattan, this updated take on Romeo and Juliet has the conflict occurring between rival gangs (the Jets & the Sharks) with Tony and Maria as the star-crossed lovers.
Memorable Moments: There's some beautiful songs here ("Something's Coming", "Maria", "I Feel Pretty", "One Hand, One Heart", and "Somewhere") but the amazing energy of the music and dancing is perhaps best seen in moments like the opening interactions between the gangs, the dance at the gym, and during the songs "America", the "Tonight Quintet" and "Cool".
What I love about it: From the opening shots over the city to the end credits mixed in with urban graffiti, I watch this movie completely transfixed. I don't think there's a bad song in the bunch, although I do have my favorites. I find Bernardo and Anita a bit more interesting than Tony and Maria, although Natalie Wood is very watchable as Maria. I also like spotting Bud Frump (Anthony 'Scooter' Teague from How to Succeed) as one of the Jets.
The second act is increasingly bleak, but what do you expect of a movie based on one of the world's most famous tragedies? It's an emotional ride, but an amazing one.