Westside Story vs. the Warriors

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In this paper I discuss similarities between Westside Story and The Warriors as well as differences. I will bring to life both movies to my audience and make value judgments about what make one better than the other. Westside Story is a ten time Oscar Award winning musical classic said to be adapted from the romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. The movie was produced in the 1960’s when it was forbidden for women to be in gangs or even consider the thought. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs.

The Caucasian Jets, led by Riff and the Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can come to any form of an understanding. But when Riff’s best friend (former founder and once leader of the Jets) Tony and Bernardo’s younger sister Maria meet at a dance, they fell in love at first sight. No one can do anything to stop their love; they went to any length to meet. Maria and Tony began meeting in secret, planning to run away. Then the Sharks and Jets plan a rumble under the highway and whoever wins gains control of the streets.

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Riff decides to make the fight interesting by allowing their opponent to choose the weapon of their choice. The Sharks chose a knife. Maria sends Tony to stop it, since he was no longer in the gang, hoping it can end the violence. It goes terribly wrong and before the lovers know what’s happened, tragedy strikes and leaves both Riff and Tony dead. (Robbins and Wise, 1961) The Warriors was a movie produced in 1979, and in this movie there where many gangs. Cyrus, the messianic leader of the largest gang in New York, declares a truce and calls a summit with all the major gangs.

There is only to be nine members from each gang to attend this meeting ComparisonandContrast3 and they had to be unarmed. Cleon, the leader of the Warriors in Coney Island, announces to the other top members of the group that the meeting is still on. They will be attending an event called by a man named Cyrus, described as “the one and only. ” A series of other gang delegations is seen entering the subway in their full colors, as the Warriors rode toward the faraway Bronx. It is explained that Cyrus, leader of the largest gang in the city, called the Gramercy Riffs, has called a truce of all the gangs in New York.

At Prospect Park in the Bronx, the meeting is well attended with over 100 gangs represented. The big man Cyrus takes the stage and delivers a spellbinding speech. He punctuates his points with “Can you dig it? ” to the crowd’s wild response. The police are seen silently moving in. Most of the crowd is completely enthralled with Cyrus’s vision. Unfortunately there is a trouble maker that has to ruin everything. Luther, the leader of a gang called the Rogues, has snuck a gun into the gathering. Luther fires at Cyrus from point blank range, killing him instantly.

Luther turns to see that one of the Warriors witnessed him shooting Cyrus and turns the gun on him to kill him, but the police shine bright spotlights, blind him from shooting the guy. The Warriors regroup around Cleon. Cleon walks toward the middle of the chaos to see whether Cyrus survived. The punk Luther screams like a girl to the crowd, “That’s him! The guy who shot Cyrus! ” Another member of the Rogues claims to have seen Cleon shoot Cyrus. Cleon denies it, but the Luther continues to scream “The Warriors did it! The Warrior did it! ” and charges at Cleon.

While Cleon is holding his own with those punks, the Gramercy Riffs, martial arts experts, step in and bring Cleon down with kicks and elbow hits. Cleon is presumably dead. ComparisonandContrast4 The other Warriors broke through a wooden fence to make their escape, winding up in a cemetery. They take head count and sees that Cleon is missing. Swan who, as war chief, is the second ranked member after Cleon, state they are going back to the subway, to catch a train back to Coney Island. Meanwhile, the Gramercy Riffs new leader, Masai, wants the Warriors, alive if possible.

The Riffs inform a local DJ and she puts the word out on the radio, urging local gangs to capture the Warriors for the Riffs. There are gangs throughout the city gearing up looking for the Warriors, to bring them their own version of justice. The Warriors runs into a gang called the Turnbills; this was their first encounter among many. They where able to get away from the Turnbills and word got back to the Riffs of their failure. Luther gets a telephone update that the Riffs have put the word out on the street that they want the Warriors alive.

The Rogues don’t want them taken alive, for fear of the stories they might tell, which would implicate them being the ones who murdered Cyrus. The Warriors thought they where home free when they where able to get on the train heading home. But the celebration of freedom is soon to be over when a strange fire on the tracks delays the train. They have no choice but to make their way to the next station on foot. That route takes them into many gang territories. They actually had to fight a total of six gangs, the Police, The Orphans, The Baseball Furies, The Punks, The Rogues and the girl gang The Lizzies.

Masai is told that there is a new witness who saw who really shot Cyrus. Meanwhile, the Warriors board the final train home. They are finally home and walking through their home turf, ComparisonandContrast5 only to realize that Luther and the Rogues are following them in a car. They take shelter under a dock and arm themselves with what’s around. Swan leads his crew out to the beach, and the Rogues follow. Finally face to face, Swan asks Luther why he shot Cyrus, to which Luther replies “NO reason. I just like doing things like that”.

When Luther pulls a gun on Swan, Swan manages to flick his switchblade into Luther’s wrist, disarming him. At that moment, the Gramercy Riffs show up, the Warriors are able to leave with the screams of Luther’s death agonies. (Shaber and Hill, 1979) I compared Westside Story to The Warriors because are gang related. There is the Shark and Jets both fighting for control of territory. Then there was Cyrus trying to unite all the gangs in New York to out number the police to take control over the city of New York. Also both stories lost their leaders Riff, Tony and Cyrus, senselessly from greed of one gang wanting to be the boss of the turf.

Last but not least two lovely women Maria and Lincoln lost the men they loved so much to the streets. The contrast between both of the movies is that The Warriors wasn’t a classical musical play with men running around in tight pants singing all the time, like Westside Story. Also, it wasn’t based on a love story like Westside Story. The women in The Warriors had a gang where as the women in Westside Story wouldn’t have if they could, due to the era of time. Overall Westside Story will always be a classical to many, unfortunately not to me. However, The Warriors is a phenomenal movie that has real action, drama and suspense.

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Westside Story vs. the Warriors. (2017, Mar 29). Retrieved from


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