Director: Steven Spielberg
We won't belabor you with the facts of the 1957 stage play or much about the original film. There's an endless stream of media on the topic, and even last year we were treated to a lengthy special on the 1961 film reuniting Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn.
I know I was aware of West Side Story when my mom took me to see it as a play in a small, downtown theater in Austin's former warehouse district around 5th or 6th grade. I don't remember much in the way of my impressions other than being shocked that our heroes didn't walk away into the sunset - unhappy endings were still a novelty at that point.
It's likely I saw at least part of the 1961 version when I was 14 and my English class covered Romeo and Juliet. But I didn't see it in full til summer of 1992 when I was at a drama camp for 7 weeks.* I very much remember crowding around the TV and the silence from a room full of 17-year-olds at the film's end. And, of course, being told "no, the girl in purple is Rita Moreno."