Study Guide

West Side Story Prologue

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  • A whistle pierces through the monotonous buzz of a working class neighborhood in New York City.
  • The aerial view wanders through the buildings until we close in on the Jets, a bunch of white gangbangers with names like Ice, A-rab, Baby John, and Action. They're running the basketball yard snapping their fingers. (There's a lot of finger-snapping in this flick. Lots of Daddy-o, too. It's the '50s.)
  • The Jets survey their territory where local kids try to enjoy their summer day in the sun.
  • When they bump into the members of another gang, the Puerto Rican Sharks, a game of one-upsmanship quickly ensues.
  • The tension escalates until the action comes to a head and the cops show up to break up the fun.

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