Steven Spielberg reveals the significance his West Side Story remake had on his late father Arnold


Fico Cangiango: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is stunning. His first musical is without a doubt superior to the 1961 film. The cinematography, music and dancing are amazing, and most importantly, it treats Puerto Ricans & Latinx community with the respect they deserve. Spielberg delivers.’

Fandango’s Erik Davis:Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is a TRIUMPH! It’s beautiful & brilliantly photographed – a real love letter to NYC w/ a tremendous ensemble cast who truly redefine this classic story for a new generation. Shout outs to @rachelzegler & @ArianaDeBose who CRUSH it in this film.

Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy: ‘Spielberg does not disappoint with #WestSideStory. OK maybe not as much dance-fighting this time, but sets a mood from the opening moments and delivers all the way through that gut-punching climax. ‘America’ is the easy highlight but man Rachel Zegler is magnetic in every scene.’

Discussing Film’s Diego Andaluz: ‘#WestSideStory is INCREDIBLE. Spielberg delivers an award-worthy visual spectacle that expands on the original as a timely technical MASTERPIECE. Every department fires on all cylinders, & Rachel Zegler steals the show with THE star-making debut performance of the year. LOVED IT!’

Disney’s Marshall Weinbaum: ‘Sending thoughts and prayers to all the Oscar Pundits out there who will be spending the next several hours updating their predictions now that they’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s absolute masterpiece #WestSideStory.’

Film Inquiry’s Kevin L. Lee: ‘Surprise surprise! #WestSideStory is really good, featuring some breathtaking choreography elevated by the cinematography and production design. Everyone in the cast is great, but the real standouts are Mike Faist and David Alvarez as Riff and Bernardo. Yeah, THIS is a musical!’

The AV Club’s Jesse Hassenger: ‘I was hoping that WEST SIDE STORY (2021) would sate my decades-long desire for Spielberg to do a musical. Alas, it is so beautifully shot and staged, such an absolute schooling of the usual musical directors, that I fear I now want him to make two or three more.’

Discussing Film’s Chris St. Lawrence: ‘WEST SIDE STORY has rocked my world. Everyone is at the top of their game. Spielberg is a master. Under his direction, Kamiński is a camera wizard, aiming a show-stopping light on the shining star that is @rachelzegler. So many things to rave over here. Too many to mention.’

Vulture and NY Mag’s Jackson McHenry: ‘Spielberg’s West Side Story does understand that the best thing that can happen on film is a bunch of people strutting toward the camera singing in harmony.’ 

Flickering Myth’s EJ Moreno: ‘Steven Spielberg directs the Hell out of a mediocre script. What an eye-roll inducing story. Anything related to The Jets is insufferable, Hell most of The Sharks are as well. The ladies do the heavy-lifting. This is Zegler, DeBose, and Moreno’s movie. The camera work is stunning, the choreography is great, and the singing is strong from 50 per cent of the cast. Spielberg directs this within an inch of his life, just wish he could’ve transformed the dated material a bit more.’

Epic: The cast have been lauded for their 'tremendous' appearance

Epic: The cast have been lauded for their ‘tremendous’ appearance

BuzzFeed’s Nora Dominick: ‘My #WestSideStory review is simply: I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this. They knock it out of the park as Maria and Anita in this beautiful crafted movie.’

Uproxx’s Mike Ryan: ‘Hot damn. So, yes, as it turns out, Steven Spielberg knows how to make a WEST SIDE STORY movie.’

Variety and Broadway Direct’s Ayanna Prescod: ‘I saw West Side Story tonight and I’m happy to report that musical theater will show up at the Oscars for impeccable visuals, Ariana DeBose is A DAMN STAR and it’s only the beginning for Rachel Zegler. I love this for us.’

Glove and Mail’s Barry Hertz: ‘WEST SIDE STORY: If it’s not quite essential, it’s still tremendously entertaining. Vivid, beautiful work from our greatest living American moviemaker. Invigorating choice to have subtitle-less Spanish comprise ~40 per cent of dialogue. David Alvarez is the breakout, but everyone’s aces.’

Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2.0 is an ecstatic act of ancestor-worship: a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified, visually staggering revival, passionately conservative but brilliant. No-one but Spielberg could have brought it off – review later.’

Slash Film’s Chris Evangelista: ‘WEST SIDE STORY is *phenomenal.* Steven Spielberg has been talking about making a musical for almost his entire career, and this was worth the wait. This is top-tier Spielberg. Been having a rather awful few days and I walked out of this like I was walking on air. Thank you, Mr. Spielberg.’

MTV News Correspondent Josh Horowitz: ‘So WEST SIDE STORY is my favorite Spielberg film in nearly 20 years. It is gorgeous filmmaking in every respect. @rachelzegler & @AnselElgort are amazing. The supporting cast is impeccable. And Rita Moreno made me cry. So yeah it’s a classic reborn as another classic.’

Variety’s Brent Lang: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #westsidestory is bold and stirring. The best parts are Tony Kushner’s book and the dramatic reimagining of classic numbers such as ‘America’ and ‘Somewhere.’ Ansel was a bit flat, but the rest of the cast is great and it feels like an #Oscars contender. The cinematography is another standout. Spielberg and longtime DP Janusz Kaminski create some of their most striking images. Also, Kushner’s script departs notably from the original book (gentrification and racism are the film’s primary antagonists).’ 

Gamespot’s lead entertainment editor Chris Hayner: ‘There’s no day quite like new Spielberg day. #WestSideStory is magical. The choreography is off the charts, it’s filmed beautifully, and there are some wonderful performances happening throughout (including Rita Moreno). But Rachel Zegler, she blew me away as Maria.’

Actor Alex Wyse: ‘I saw the new West Side Story tonight and WOW it is spectacular. Sweeping, emotional, remarkable staging, each shot looks like a painting, and I swear I didn’t breathe until the credits.’ 

Good Day Chicago anchor Jake Hamilton: ‘I’m in awe at how phenomenal WEST SIDE STORY is. Steven Spielberg makes it look easy — but every frame of this film is him at the top of his game. There’s not a misstep — figuratively or literally. Oh, and @rachelzegler is about to be one of the biggest stars on the planet.’

Fandago’s Nikki Novak: ‘#WestSideStory is EXTRAORDINARY. 10 more Oscars please! #Spielberg’s cam work is UNREAL- directors pls watch! The CAST- megatalented megawatt energy balls! @rachelzegler is magic @ArianaDeBose may be the 2nd Anita 2 win��#MikeFaist #DavidAlvarez r lightning! LOVED the love story!’

Thrillist’s Emma Stefansky: ‘WEST SIDE STORY: when every frame of your movie looks like something you’d hang on the walls of your home that’s The Kaminski Method.’ 

Film critic Robert Daniels: ‘A shocker: I didn’t dislike Spielberg’s #WestSideStory. It’s not a patch on the original (what is?). People’s skin are rendered way too pale. And the VFX is jarring. But Ariana DeBose and her evocative eyes were incredible. So were Rita Moreno and David Alvarez. Ansel? Eh. Really astounded by Ariana DeBose. Can’t imagine the pressure acting alongside Rita Moreno. She doesn’t at all crumble. She’s a throwback to when actors had presence and panache and could paint a scene in a million different hues just by the glance of her eyes.’

@camden28_ : ‘#WestSideStory is a blast, even better than the 1961 film. Steven Spielberg has done something really special with his adaptation of the beloved musical. As for me, Rachel Zegler has earned herself a huge fan, delivering a fantastic film debut as Maria.’

@@xoxocorthenley: ‘OMG #WestSideStory is a MASTERPIECE! I was anti a remake because the original is one of my favs ever! But this was better than the original by a long shot! Production design and shots gave me goosebumps. And the kid who plays Riff is Oscar worthy! I want to see it again & again!’

Anthony Gagliardi: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory does an outstanding job paying homage to the timeless classic from its authentic set designs to its incredible dance sequences and performances. This is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year.’

BroBible’s Eric Italiano: ‘I am very much not a musical guy, so I’m perhaps not the best judge of #WestSideStory. I do, however, know what a movie star looks and @rachelzegler is absolutely that. She is *ridiculous*. More so than her massive voice, her ability to act with her eyes was stunning.’

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