Watch This: West Side Story remains one of the great Broadway adaptations

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: Recent releases Annie and Into The Woods have us thinking about our favorite film adaptations of Broadway (and off-Broadway) musicals.

West Side Story (1961)

Few Hollywood musicals have ever used the widescreen canvas as expertly as West Side Story, directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ big, bold, and brash adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical. From its opening city playground sequence, Wise and Robbins (who was hired to helm the dance sequences, and then fired midway through the production) shoot their material in expansive panoramas that capture both the rough, swift beauty of the gang members’ combat-like dance moves as well as the towering Manhattan buildings and structures that make the characters’ turf-war grievances seem so petty and insignificant. Boasting long takes that emphasize Robbins’ sharp, graceful choreography, as well as a …

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