Cover of this title
West Side Story
Steven Spielberg

The musical drama West Side Story is the recent film adaptation of the stage musical by the same name. Set in 1957, the film tells the story of territorial and personal conflict between two gangs in Manhattan’s West Side. Prior to a planned ‘rumble’ between the Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks, Tony and Maria meet at a local dance. They immediately fall in love, but are scared of the repercussions of their feelings as Tony is part of the Jets and Maria is the Sharks leader’s sister. Tony tries to stop the rumble, but the blood spilled in that fight is the beginning of a series of events that lead to inevitable tragedy.

West Side Story can be viewed in one sitting or in excerpts. For example, one could compare the recent film adaptation to the 1961 version or discuss the parallels to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The film would be suited to watch as part of an interdisciplinary project related to Music or Theatre. It addresses themes like the American Dream, multiculturalism and social classes in American metropolises.

/ · · 2021

Critical edition

West Side Story. Directed by Steven Spielberg. 20th Century Studios, 2021. 158 min., FSK 12, Website

Jump to further sections

In favour of this entry

  • Award-winning
  • Explores historical contexts
  • Interdisciplinary or cross-curricular teaching