The film West Side Story was released on September 15, 1989. It was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The lead actors are Natalie Wood as Maria, Richard Beymer as Tony, Russ Tamblynas Riff, Rita Moreno as Anita, and George Chakiris as Bernardo. This film fits under the genres of both romance and drama.
The movie starts with a brawl between the Jets, an American gang, and the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang. After the policeman, Officer Krupke, breaks up the fight, the Jets plan to have a rumble with the Sharks in order to regain dominance over the streets of New York. In the next scene, Riff, leader of the Jets, approaches former member and loyal friend, Tony, and begs him to come to a ball and help negotiate the terms for the rumble with the leader of the Sharks, Bernardo. Tony goes on about how he feels something big coming up in his life and then finally agrees to go. Then Maria, Bernardo 's sister, is introduced getting ready to go to the same ball. At the ball, the rivalry between Puerto Ricans and "pure" Americans is clear as both groups split up into different halves of the room to dance. Then Tony locks eyes with Maria. They begin to dance with each other and then they kiss until Bernardo snatches Maria away from Tony resentfully. In the following scene, there is an argument among the Puerto Ricans at their apartment. Some like living in America and point out the freedom it gives them and the others point out the prejudice they face there. Then, Tony and Maria are shown being romantic on a balcony. Then, Officer Krupke is shown pulling up to the Jets in his police car and warning them not to fight with the Sharks. The Jets sing a mocking song about how they are looked down upon and are simply products of bad upbri...
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...o create in a viewer a strong connection with the characters in the film.
The conflicts displayed in West Side Story are comparable to events occurring in the West Bank. Similarly, to the Puerto Ricans and Americans, there is a strong hatred between many Israeli citizens and many Palestinians which has no solid foundation. The hatred leads to violence between individuals on both sides which escalates. This is often driven by revenge. This film ties in to the class discussion of racial discrimination. Just like there was racism against blacks throughout American history, there is plenty of racism displayed against Puerto Ricans in this movie.
I rate West Side Story a four out of four. It was very engaging and held my attention throughout the entire film, it was extremely meaningful, and it was very clear as to what was going on in the movie and what the message was.
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