Why is West Side Story rated Not Rated?
Official MPAA Rating: West Side Story is rated Not Rated for
A young couple falls in love despite the fact they have ties to opposing gangs who are fighting for the same piece of New York’s west side. This modernized (and musical) version of Romeo and Juliet won numerous awards.
Gang violence including bulling, intimidation, verbal threats, and racial prejudice is depicted throughout film. Fighting sequences are highly choreographed with wrestling, hitting, punching, kicking, rock throwing and spitting. Police officers misuse their authority. Gang members mock and show little respect for the law. The use of weapons is discussed at a war council. Young men carry tools and other objects to be used as weapons. During a rumble, knives are pulled—injury and deaths from stabbing result (no blood is shown.) Distracted character narrowly escapes being hit by a car. A group of young men harass a woman. A character slaps another out of frustration. A character threatens others with a gun and one character is shot.
Sexual Content: B-
References to infidelity or prostitution are used as insults. A young woman wants to lower the neckline of her party dress. Some female characters wear 1950’s style tight-fitting, low-cut dresses, one is shown dresses in a slip and another shows a lot of leg while putting on nylons. Couples are shown dancing very closely, kissing and necking. Dance numbers include some mild sensuality. A sexual relationship between an unmarried couple is implied. Man’s bare chest is shown. A group of young men who are harassing a young woman appear to have some sexual motives (they are stopped before they can carry them out.)
At least: 7 mild profanities and numerous instances of name-calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: C+
Main and secondary characters are shown smoking cigarettes. Comments about drug and alcohol abuse are used as insults or mentioned in the lyrics of some songs.
Gang members discuss the positive merits of belonging to a gang (although the negative realities are shown.) Racial prejudice and chauvinism towards women are portrayed. A character prays on two occasions.