All member reviews for West Side Story

Common Sense Media says

Musical masterpiece tackles race, with some violence.

Users say

(out of 35 reviews)
age 12+
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Adult Written byChrissy505 March 8, 2009

Amazing

This was an amazing, amazing movie with memorable characters and a wonderful story. It's also very sad I started crying when Tony gets killed and when Maria takes the gun and wants to kill herself. It's beautiful. I highly suggest it for older kids because my little brother started crying really really hard and asked if he was dead (I told him he was just passed out so he wouldn't cry harder). Still an amazing movie though. See it See it See it!!!!!!!
Adult Written bysbdreamin April 9, 2008

Great for conversation on social issues

West Side Story is another classic, along the lines of To Kill a Mockingbird, except with some fantastic singing and dancing. The social message is the whole point of the movie; it is a modern day Romeo and Juliet, where the boy and girl, due to their social backgrounds, are NOT supposed to be together but fall in love anyway. There is a lot of stuff about race, gangs, etc. that is still relevant over 40 years later. There are fights and violence and a main character gets killed, so this is not for the littlest ones... save this for your jr. high school and up age kids, unless very mature.
Adult Written bypaddy19 April 9, 2008

Classic

I disagree, I think this movie should not be R. This movie is a classic musical and I think it brings up a lot of good topics. Yes you might have to talk to you child afterwards about parts but that is what it is there for. It is to bring up thoughts and to bring publicity to problems that were happening in the US. I watched this when I was in middle school and liked it and understood it. I do believe that some children might not be ready for it, but it is a classic because it is a good movie and musical.
Kid, 12 years old August 21, 2009

amazing movie... but a bit violent...

i thought that this movie was really good, but they could have taken out some of the violence and killing... the ending was incomplete... i wish they had added a little bit more... like what happened to maria... the beginning was super, but then for the "ramble" it got a bit violent... but it all depends on how mature the person watching it is and it is majorly the parent's decision if their kid is mature or not...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byrmgondella April 9, 2008

High Art But Not For Children

We thought we'd let our 9 and 6 year olds see this one... Boy what a mistake! The violence is visceral, there's a great deal of hate language to explain, and at the end of the day, a musical in this context is hard to explain... Like, why are they singing and dancing when they're killing and beating each other up? A pretty good bet for a high school junior or senior, when prefaced with the proper sociological background. But no matter how good the movie is (and it's one of the best ever) it is definitely NOT suitable for children 16 or under.
Adult Written byyuri13 February 8, 2016

A great classic that is surprisingly violent!!

In my opinion, "West Side Story" is along with "Cabaret" and "Singing in the Rain" as the top 3 greatest musical film ever made and one of the top-10 films of all time. But i don't think that kids it's the best audience for this film. There is considerable violence including stabbings and fights, but the most awful scene comes with the rape attempt. There's nothing explicit and the rape doens't happens but the scene is VERY intense. Nothing sexual, only a scene which a female is preparing a night for sex but nothing explicit. Even so, the point of the film is that hate only cause hate and there's no winner in that fight.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Written byAnonymous February 12, 2013

Sex is on the 2 oh my.

The Sex is on the 2 so say this movie with 4 for the Violence. and I say Iffy for 15 Year Olds.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byrlwilson January 9, 2012

Good story .... Bad language

Language is VERY bad. The use of the Lords name in vain and derogitory name calling with the use of many curse words. This book is not for children. I had to have my 13 year old read an alternative book at school. I can't believe this got past the schook board!!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bypepsicola147 April 9, 2008

Not A Children's Movie

I watched this at school, it is definetely not for those who disapprove of violence or the like. There are a few references to drugs and alcohol, and the Jets are seen smoking a lot. There is a gangster fight, and a girl is almost raped. It's a cruel movie, and shows how brutal people can be.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

From ballerinas to gangsters...

I don't understand this movie at all. Good dancing , check , catchy tunes , check but they go from dancing ballerinas to knife holding gangsters. We had to watch it in music class and everyones was like " what the heck??!!" This movie took forever to get to the movie, I mean , what's the point of the color changing screen in the beggining for 15 minutes? Not really appropriate... a bit odd.
Kid, 8 years old September 24, 2011

Phenomenal movie, soundtrack and script.

Kinda violent, profane, sexual....but great lessons about race and a well-written script. one of the best films i’ve ever seen.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old February 12, 2011
My Dad told me it was a version of Romeo and Juliet, and you know what that means the ending will be..... It was a bad sad ending. And yes there can be good sad endings.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byreader333 May 5, 2009

Graph-Sad (the worst mix)

It was great in the begining, but it got so sad and violent I had to force myself to turn it off. For kids at least 14 at least.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byethanct86 January 3, 2016

A poignant treat for mature audiences, fans of musicals or not.

Some classic films have gotten no critical acclaim on their release; others have gotten huge critical success yet have fallen in popularity in recent days. One such is West Side Story. Resulting in one of the profoundest films of all time, West Side Story gathered legends of the present and future from all genres: famed director Robert Wise (Sound of Music) and legendary Broadway choreographer Jerome Robbins** at the helm, prolific composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein with his iconic score, and Stephen Sondheim with the lyrics in his big break. Though it has fallen in popularity and ratings in the past years, Robbin’s memorable characters of Tony, Maria, and the teenage gangs of Manhattan merging with notable dance sequences offer a poignant treat for mature audiences, fans of musicals or not. With the united, recurring finger snaps put to Bernstein’s blaring and catchy score in a nine-minute prologue, we meet two rival teen gangs, the Puerto Rican Jets and the Caucasian Sharks, and, distinguished by the keen cinematography, their two dear and beloved leaders, Bernardo (George Chakiris) and Riff (Russ Tamblyn), respectively. Furthermore in this scene, we witness a brawl between the fuming gangs rendered in spectacular choreography, setting the plot and subsequently building a foundation for future elements towards the frightful “Rumble,” an all-out war between those gangs. Next, the Jets arrive at a Shark’s dance to intimidate the Sharks, but they involuntarily strike a spark between two young attendees, Maria (Natalie Wood), sister to Sharks chief Bernard, and Tony (Richard Beymer), best friend of the Jet’s Riff, resulting into a “love at first sight” against family and racial differences. This film, a possible PG-13 in today’s principles, has not much in question regarding negative content but rather in its material on sex and race that borders offensive. A spin-off from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it deals with the deep racial issues between the Puerto Ricans and covetous Jets, emphasized by strong hostility, various, sharp and inventive racial slurs, suggestive comments and mild swears. Just before the “A Boy Like That” number, the two main characters wake up together in bed, implying a sexual interaction, and in a building of tension, Anita, Bernardo’s sister (Rita Moreno), is almost raped by the Jets. Also, as mentioned before, darkness hangs over the film throughout, especially during the second half. Effortlessly, Wise, Robbins and Bernstein smoothed the thick line between the light and depressing. Establishing the standard for modern film-musicals, West Side Story won George Chakiris and Rita Moreno Oscars (justly), beginning Moreno’s journey to the EGOT***. However, the nominations for lead actor and actress were noticeably missing. Although not diverting, Richard Beymer appears tired and drunk throughout while Natalie Wood’s mock accent has been criticized duly as discriminatory. Also, because of Hollywood censors, the creators unfortunately could not include the lover’s suicides as depicted in Romeo and Juliet. But taking that out as a legitimate excuse, West Side Story formed strong characters that left me pensive. I like how the creators make you witness both sides of the episode. First you root for the Jets, then the Sharks, then both, agonizing like a lesser character once saying: “Why do you kids live like there's a war on? When do you kids stop? You make this world lousy!” West Side Story, hits deep with the significant characters yet doesn’t bother much about unimportant ones. The Honorary Oscar-winning choreography isn’t just a show-off of the dancer’s techniques; in my favorite number, “Cool,” an exhilarating release after the death of the Jet’s leader that depicts their pain and agony through grunts and shouts, the sharp choreography enhances their emotions. Let’s just hope that Robbin’s work of genius in West Side Story hopefully may procure its ancient acclaim with a re-release someday.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old July 4, 2015
I think this movie is good for 12 to 13 year old's. There is some racism and violence ( but no blood). There are to gangs that fight and the parents are NEVER SEEN !!!!Okay, maybe they are and I wasn't paying attention. But if were they didn't do anything. Other than that its pretty good
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byDominicboo1 June 22, 2013

Not For Me.

This is not a musical I enjoyed. It starts out lighthearted and fun, but then the first rumble starts....and I hear it only gets worse! The songs are great, but the violence was too much for me. (For Musical Lovers that don't like excessive violence I reccomend My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music) Some songs have references to drugs. (Particularly Officer Krupke) If you can handle the violence, it might be a good movie, but it's not for me!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byRobbyboyfye16 March 30, 2012

jh

ok but funny-crazy musical is weird and a-little clunky.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byOliviaReviewsIt September 14, 2015

A Win For Musical Fans Down Through The Generations

This musical is one of my favorites. It has a fantastic story, great songs, and will go down in history as one of the best musicals ever made. I first watched this movie in my drama class and was intrigued by the story. It is definitely a drama based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and the writers were able to pull of the classic story very well in this musical. Violence: There is some violence in this movie, and quite a bit of violent themes. The Jets (New Yorkers) are rivals with the Sharks (Puerto Rican immigrants) and there is a lot of taunting, name-calling, and physical contact. At the end there is a few deaths, and some mild blood visible on a knife. Language: mild. A few uses of 'damn'. Sexual: It is implied that two of the characters had a sexual encounter. The movie is also very long, so I wouldn't recommend watching it in one sitting, especially with younger audiences. Overall, this movie has some great messages about true love, and how not all endings are always happy.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byfonzieg April 3, 2015

An overlooked gem, a true musical masterpiece!

One of the very best musicals of all time! Let's go back to the 60's and see West Side Story! A brilliantly acted, well constructed musical with great music! Adults will be more interested, but this would make a great family film, it they have long attention spans! But yeah, it's a great film, i highly recommend it!
Kid, 9 years old February 27, 2015

West side story

I find this a good film but a little scary for a child of 8 . But for children of 11 better.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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