This 55-Year-Old ‘West Side Story’ Scene Still Depicts Life In America


On Oct. 18, 1961, West Side Story hit movie theaters. The Academy Award-winning musical film, which saw Rita Moreno as the first Latina ever to earn an Oscar, was originally inspired by Romeo and Juliet, and explores a deep-seated rivalry between street gangs the Jets and the Sharks.

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Members of the Sharks, who represent Puerto Rico, are challenged and contemptuously reproached by the Jets, a white gang, throughout the course of the drama. Political and socially conscious themes are intricately woven into the fabric of the script, marking a turning point in American musical theatre.

READ: Latinx Actors Are Not Here For Chicago’s Whitewashed ‘In The Heights’ Rendition

Much of its brilliant rhetoric, concerning racial politics, still applies. The scene below, for instance, nearly perfectly depicts life for people of color living in America, even today. Just as sad, Netflix is no longer streaming this classic.

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