"Romeo and Juliet"Ã¯Â¿Â½ versus "West Side Story"Ã¯Â¿Â½: Star Crossed Lovers This paper compares relationships depicted in two movies, Romeo and Juliet (1996) and West Side Story (1968). West Side Story (WSS) is considered a true Shakespearean model of love as reflected in the 1950's, whereas Romeo and Juliet (R&J) represents a modernized version of the seventeenth century classic written by William Shakespeare. The modernized version of Romeo and Juliet, which was produced in 1996, depicts a fictitious story set in Verona Beach in Miami. It is a story about two rival families, the Montague and Capulet's. Ironically, the Montague's son, Romeo, and the Capulet's daughter Juliet, fall deeply in love with one another. WSS is the story of rival gangs, the American "Jets"Ã¯Â¿Â½ and Puerto Rican "Sharks"Ã¯Â¿Â½ in 1950's New York. The main analogous characters are Tony and Maria versus Romeo and Juliet. The themes of both movies include: danger of bad association and evils of prejudice and problems and disrespect.
The story ends in tragedy, as both families are unable to accept a potential relationship that would contradict the long history of animosity between families; the lovers are forced to die together.
In Romeo and Juliet, the two feuding families are the basis of conflict for the ill-fated lovers. In West Side Story, Tony and Maria's different cultural backgrounds prevent their association. The families do not have support for their children's relationship. The groundwork for the similarly forbidden relationship between both sets of lovers occurs at the beginning of both films. In R&J, a violent spark between the Capulet's and a Montague servant creates tension that results in several deaths throughout the movie. Likewise, in WSS, friends of Bernardo (Puerto Rican Shark) Maria's brother, get into a brawl with one of Tony's closet friends.