Comparative analysis of the films "West Side Story" and "Romeo and Juliet" | Free writing example (2023)

Although the two film adaptations of Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet: West Side Story (1961) and Romeo + Juliet (1996) explore essentially the same themes of love, revenge and "corporate solidarity", they have a semantic message The effect conveyed by these films is very different, which can be explained by the peculiarities of the American socio-political reality that are linked to the time when both films were made. In this article we will try to explain in detail the conceptual difference between "Romeo + Juliet" and "West Side Story" by pointing out what a thematic shift in people's understanding of the causes of groups of people means. united by a common interest in indulging in antisocial behavior. In our opinion, such a shift has occurred since proponents of the neoliberal agenda gained a monopoly on the interpretation of historical and political events in the realms of public education and entertainment. For before the United States was gradually stripped of its national integrity (early 1960s), most Americans believed historical dialectics to be essentially rational; By the late 1990s this was no longer the case, simply because the politically correct hawks had managed to instill in most citizens the idea that social animosities between groups of people united by a common agenda are purely irrational. 🇧🇷 Watching and comparing the two films supports the validity of this proposal better than anything else.

Our experts can provide a custom attachment tailored to your instructions for as little as $13.00 $11.05/side. 308 Qualified Online Experts Learn more

Even a brief analysis of "West Side Story" and "Romeo + Juliet" leaves no doubt that the apparent resemblance between the two films is only superficial. This in turn explains why "West Side Story" is produced in musical form, but the plot seems much more realistic compared to the plot of "Romeo + Juliet", although the latter uses original Shakespeare. Text for character dialogues and monologues. The reason for this is quite simple, while “West Side Story” depicts a racial (rational) conflict between the gangs “Jets” (white) and “Tiburones” (Puerto Rican), with members of both gangs pointing out their mutual hatred. Based on the widely accepted notion that "this territory is too small to contain them all", "Romeo + Juliet" depicts the conflict between two equally corrupt families, the Montague and Capulet, whose members have not even good reason to continue to admit it do one shoot at the other. others, as the film shows, simply because they seem too busy “celebrating diversity”. Apparently, the producers of "Romeo + Juliet" were unaware that the terms "gang violence" and "gang solidarity" cannot be discussed as such, since they stem only from people's unhealthy preoccupation with the accumulation of material wealth. In a multicultural society, gang-related activities correspond directly to the racial affiliation of gang members. For this reason, illegal family businesses in America have traditionally been associated with the Italian, Russian, black, Vietnamese and Irish mafia: only gangsters who are blood relatives can shoot at the police without much fear that their own friends will turn up their identity with the police . The "creative" decision of the producers to let a Black Mercutio play can therefore be described as anything but too clever. Also, the film's producers made a point of portraying the (white) "Montague Boys" as a bunch of nitwits who just couldn't face the (Hispanic) "Capulet Boys" effectively.

(Video) Comparing All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) with the original 1930 film

In "West Side Story," on the other hand, the members of the "Jets" (White) are portrayed in a much more favorable light, revealing as the ultimate cause of their attitude that they simply don't want to see the island of La Manhattan becoming another Puerto Rico. There's a memorable scene in West Side Story where Anita talks utterly sarcastically about her native Puerto Rico: "Puerto Rico! The devotion of my heart! Let it sink back into the ocean! Hurricanes always blow! Always the population is growing! And the money that's owed!” In “West Side Story,” the members of the “Jets” gang come across as anything but gangsters: their youthful idealism led them to fight for what they considered theirs, what each other in turn, explaining that they belong to a generation that is not affected brainwashing neoliberal. The "sharks", on the other hand, are also portrayed as honorable people who are quite willing to risk their lives to defend their interests. Therefore, we can say that West Side Story, unlike Romeo + Juliet, portrays the conflict between two opposing gangs as essentially rational and therefore both: inescapable but solvable. For this reason, "West Side Story" reveals the tragic outcome of his conspiracy that leads to the end of hostilities between "Jets" and "Sharks"; only after the members of both gangs have demonstrated their physical and moral strength in open confrontation. They started treating each other with respect. Tony's tragedy is that he naively believed it was possible to make peace between two gangs by preventing such a confrontation. He has behaved like modern-day liberal politicians who simply cannot understand that by constantly promoting notions of political correctness (tolerance, equality, multiculturalism, diversity) they are making things worse and even raising the level of racial tensions in this country. By attempting to end a lonely fight between Ice and Bernardo, Tony escalated this frequent (and even necessary) bout of violence into a "kill or be killed" situation that resulted in the deaths of Riff, and eventually Bernardo. .. in his own death. So it would be very fair for us to say that love turned Tony into a habitual crybaby, for which he paid a heavy price. As such, it's impossible for viewers with sane instincts to be more than repelled by Tony.

While the producers of Romeo + Juliet failed to realistically portray the true causes of gang violence, they also managed to instill in viewers the idea that love is actually a "male" thing. Resentment In contrast to "West Side Story", this particular film reveals love as such, which can encourage not only men (Romeo) but also women (Juliet) to behave masculinely. Romeo's love for Juliet had transformed him from someone who used to wander aimlessly on the beach, brooding over romantic sensuality, to someone who could pull the trigger easily: his love for Juliet had made him worthy of being loved. This in turn suggests that unlike the producers of West Side Story, the producers of Romeo + Juliet were able to give viewers a glimpse of what the term "great tragedy" means. Shakespearean context of that word. "Romeo + Juliet" describes love as something that has intrinsic value. Moreover, like Shakespeare in his original tragedy, this film actually promotes the idea that the more tragic undertones tinged with a romantic sentiment, the more admirable and noble it becomes. Considering that it's entirely conceivable what would have happened if Maria had married Tony (immediate pregnancy, lots of noisy kids running around, Tony eventually succumbing to alcoholism, etc.), we just can't imagine that Romeo and Julia could get together . 🇧🇷 happy ever after," from the picture as they hug while lying in the coffin. Because the screenwriters of "Romeo+Juliet" belonged to the so-called "third generation" of white people, whose former willpower and physical strength have largely been taken away and only intellectuality and a sense of decadent aesthetics remain. the existential characteristics of his psyche. Representatives of the "first", "second" and "third" generation exchange information in an endless loop as the story progresses. Like Shakespeare, "third generation" people feel that the only way they can mentally understand their true selves is when they are exposed to a particularly powerful emotion (love in our case). We can say that while love has no effect on the “first generation” (founders of new nations, religious leaders, barbarian warriors, etc.), it does weaken the “second generation” (baby boomers) (who are described in “West Side Story”) and, more interestingly, it makes “third generation” (DiCaprio's portrayal of Romeo) existentially stronger. Only when the point of a nervous breakdown is reached does Romeo begin to treat his enemies as they deserve and shoot them dead without emotion. Such behavior by Romeo is nothing more than a sublimation of the producers' own unconscious fears. It is no coincidence that, according to statistics, the overwhelming majority of those who kill before ending their own lives in America today fit the stereotype of the “middle-aged white man” as such, posing a potential danger to society. It is the existential weakness of such men that has created a condition for the process of slowly transforming the United States into a Third World slum to gain momentum. Faced with life's challenges, these people often can't even admit to themselves that they don't particularly enjoy celebrating "diversity" as their most important societal task. For example, they explain their desire to live in white suburbs because those suburbs “live safer” and have “better schools” while lacking the courage to speak openly about the whitening process. your own country. 🇧🇷 They are no longer able to defend their interests as part of a racial-cultural group (as shown in "West Side Story"); All they can do now is try to placate the representatives of racial minorities in the naïve hope that doing so would redeem their historical guilt as the descendants of slave owners. And it's only when they experience a nervous breakdown that their true selves are revealed. That's why "Romeo + Juliet" has achieved cult status, especially among white moviegoers, even if most don't even know why this film appeals to them so much.

(Video) Comparing the film versions of West Side Story

Before concluding this document, we need to summarize the ideas expressed above: 1) The motifs contained in "West Side Story" and in "Romeo+Juliet" are directly related to the socio-demographic dynamics of the United States during the early 1960's and 1960's respectively. late 1990s. 2) Watching both films is highly recommended for almost everyone. While West Side Story offers viewers a glimpse of raw strength as the sole "engine of the story," Romeo+Juliet helps us better understand what explains the process of draining people of their willpower and the potential social implications of such a process, especially when the love factor comes into play 3) Watching the two film adaptations of Shakespeare's tragedy allows the viewer to see love as a highly complex psychosomatic phenomenon; because according to both films, love in the psychological context of this word is equally capable of weakening or strengthening people.

1). Two clear thematic shifts can be identified in the way in which both films depict motifs of love and group violence. In "West Side Story", gang-related violence is portrayed as essentially rationalistic: members of the "Jets" and "Sharks" realized that their neighborhood was too small for both gangs to coexist peacefully. Though they didn't hate each other personally, the Sharks and Jets still indulged in acts of violence to show opposing gang members that they were ready to "stand their ground." On the other hand, "Romeo+Juliet" depicts gang violence fueled only by irrational hatred: members of the Capulet and Montague families hate each other out of hate alone. Also, the theme of tragic love seems to be underdeveloped in "West Side Story" (in their songs, Tony and Maria really rationalize the different aspects of living together, and the viewers don't even suspect that the love story of the two characters could end in tragedy, until the end of the film), in "Roma+Julia" the strong motif of tragic love is established from the beginning of the film because: a) the love between Romeo and Juliet is portrayed as particularly passionate b) both lovers are also young ( Juliet is 13 years old).

(Video) 2019 IB Film HL Comparative Study (Received a 7)

two). In both films, the social messages differ significantly. While West Side Story conveys the message that the best way to resolve a conflict between groups of people united by the same interests is to allow those groups to have a final showdown, Romeo + Juliet subtly suggests that such a conflict can be resolved through education. "West Side Story" implies that using negotiation in the context of two gangs determining their "zones of influence" gets nowhere. "Romeo+Juliet" propagates the idea that peace between conflicting groups can only be achieved through negotiations. "West Side Story" portrays the white "Jets" gang in a much more favorable light than the Puerto Rican "Sharks" gang. In contrast, "Romeo + Juliet" portrays the Hispanic Capuleto family as deserving more respect from viewers than the predominantly white Montague family. While the cops side with the Jets (white) in West Side Story, they clearly favor the Capulets (Hispanics) in Romeo+Juliet.

Delivery time! Get your 100% personalized paper in just 3 hours. Let us begin

3). The above points are best substantiated by looking at the two films from a historical perspective. As we have already mentioned, the time gap between the production of "West Side Story" and "Romeo + Juliet" is more than 30 years. Since the early 1960s, the socio-political situation in the United States has changed dramatically as the policy of "multiculturalism" gained official status at that time. Today, this policy has led to the creation of an unofficial, politically correct censorship that requires filmmakers to actually promote the idea of ​​"harmonious races" in their cinematic works in order for those films to be released. For this reason, the producers of Romeo + Juliet went to great lengths to portray the Capulet and Montague families as racially diverse (the character of Mercutio is played by a black actor), although they understood this undermined the concept would concept of the film. . ability to pay. Given that there was no politically correct censorship at the time West Side Story was made, this film portrays gang violence in a much more realistic light, even though West Side Story is actually a musical one. .

(Video) IB Film Western Comparative Studies

4). The importance of the above arguments in relation to both films is apparent from the context of this document as a whole: the sequential showing of West Side Story and Romeo + Juliet leaves no doubt that race is irrelevant. , despite what neoliberal politicians would have us believe. Indeed, it is people's racial affiliation that largely determines their social attitudes and behavior. The sheer artificiality of the concept of "harmonious races" promoted by "Romeo + Juliet" is too obvious for viewers to miss. Therefore, only the love story between Romeo and Juliet has dramatic value in this film (both lovers are not just white, but have distinctly Nordic facial features, which actually explains their hypertrophied sense of existence). Idealism). While "West Side Story" is worth seeing for its realism, "Romeo + Juliet" is worth seeing for a superior artistic performance by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes alone.

5). It is very easy to anticipate criticism that may hypothetically target the main idea of ​​this article. This criticism can be summed up in one word: "racism". Potential critics are likely to point out that it is totally inappropriate to expose the factor of race as such, which actually defines the semiotics of both films. Needless to say, these critics of course failed to make their point with this kind of reasoning, simply because they didn't think it would make sense: they think "racism" is bad and expect everyone else to think so personally do subscribe to this view. If not, they just start blaming.

(Video) Movie Accent Expert Breaks Down 32 Actors' Accents | WIRED

6) Arguing with racial egalitarians about whether race matters or not is like arguing with Bible Students about whether or not God loves us: they can hardly reach consensus. The final message of this article can be summed up as follows: "The reason why the motivations of the characters in "West Side Story" and "Romeo + Juliet" appear to be conceptually different is that over the past thirty years they have been race, Integrity, intellectual and aesthetic aspects of American society have been severely undermined by proponents of the neoliberal agenda, who until now have had a near-monopoly on interpreting the meaning of politics, history and historical culture in this country. We just noticed that the policies of "multiculturalism" that have been imposed on our citizens since the early 1960's are doing America a great deal of harm. Our analysis of the two films confirms our opinion, as it shows that people's very preoccupation with the "celebration of diversity" undermines their ability to trust their reason when evaluating objective reality, leading them to engage in irrational violence ( "Romeo+Juliet" addresses violence as a kind of fetish; the same applies to other relatively recent "progressive" films such as "Reservoir Dogs" or "Natural Born Killers". On the other hand, our potential critics, without denying that the process of "multiculturalization" in this country that began in the 1960s indicate that this process is absolutely beneficial to the United States simply because it believes it is the case. Such a belief, because of its irrational nature, can hardly be reasoned with only when our potential critics are forced to leisurely stroll through the Hispanic, s Strolling in black or Chinese 'ghettos', they will be ready to change their minds on the issue of 'multiculturalism'.


1. Comparative study 01
(Edward Gregson)
2. Film vs Video Game Comparative Analysis
(Ben Finkelstein)
3. Comparing ‘America’ from “West Side Story” film 1961 and 2021 | Leonard Bernstein | Steven Spielberg
(LMM Remix)
4. Comparing Every Version of Little Women
(Be Kind Rewind)
5. How to recognize a dystopia - Alex Gendler
6. IB Film Comparative Study (H7 Example)
(Yasmin Hurley)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated: 10/11/2023

Views: 5513

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.