‘West Side Story’: Disney Plus release date, Oscar nominations and everything we know about the Steven Spielberg musical

West Side Story Ariana DeBose
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Steven Spielberg took on one of the biggest challenges of his career in remaking West Side Story, the beloved, Oscar-winning 1961 musical, but by most accounts he has pulled it off. 

West Side Story is of course not only a beloved movie but a Tony-winning Broadway play that is widely regarded as not only one of the best musicals, but in the conversation for best movie ever made. 

Before you watch Spielberg’s West Side Story, here is everything we know about the movie.

When is the 'West Side Story' Disney Plus release date?

West Side Story was released exclusively in movie theaters in December 2021, and it is movie theaters are still the only way to watch West Side Story. However, we now know when West Side Story is going to be available for people to stream.

Disney Plus has announced that Steven Spielberg's West Side Story will make its streaming debut on the platform on March 2 in the U.S., U.K. and most international markets (Taiwan will get it on March 9, then Japan on March 30). Of course, West Side Story on Disney Plus will only be available to Disney Plus subscribers.

For anyone not subscribed to Disney Plus but waiting for West Side Story to be available at home, no information has been shared as to when the movie will be available for digital purchase or when a 4K/Blu-ray/DVD will be released.

In the meantime, the 1961 version of West Side Story is available to stream right now on HBO Max.

'West Side Story' reviews

The critics have been singing the praises of Steve Spielberg's West Side Story. The movie has been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 92%, as well as scoring an 85 on Metacritic (just one point below its 1961 predecessor) and earning the site's "Must-See" designation.

In Todd Gilchrist's review of West Side Story for What to Watch, he called the film "a triumphant, socially-relevant update that showcases Steven Spielberg's excitement for staging the musical of his dreams while simultaneously offering a sense of purpose — if not necessarily meaning — to the seemingly unrelenting volatility that has defined the last year (or two)."

In addition to the positive reviews, West Side Story has been raking in a number of award nominations, including with the Oscars ...

'West Side Story' Oscar nominations

The 2022 Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday, Feb. 8, and West Side Story had a pretty good day. The musical earned seven nominations in total, including Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose. West Side Story's seven nominations were tied for third most from any movie this year.

Here are all of West Side Story's nominations:

Best Picture
Best Director - Steven Spielberg
Best Supporting Actress - Ariana DeBose
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Production Design
Best Sound

What is the plot of ‘West Side Story’?

West Side Story was first produced for Broadway in 1957. Featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents, West Side Story is the story of forbidden love between teenagers Tony and Maria. While their friends and family are involved in rival street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, divided by their ethnic background, the young couple attempt to conduct their romance in secret. Escalating tensions however threaten their happily ever after.

Inspired by Williams Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story adds an immigration aspect as Maria and the Sharks all hail from Puerto Rico; something that screenwriter Tony Kushner is likely to play up in the new script.

Of course it also features classic songs like “America,” “Maria,” “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty.”

Who is in the ‘West Side Story’ cast?

Spielberg’s West Side Story cast is a mix of some recognizable Hollywood stars and fresh faces. Headlining the film are Ansel Elgort as Tony and newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria. Zegler is making her film debut with West Side Story after being among a reported 30,000 Latin actors to submit an audition for the film. Elgort is best known for his roles in Baby Driver and The Fault in Our Stars.

Some other big name cast members include Ariana DeBose, who has broken out over the last couple years with roles in The Prom, Hamilton and Schmigadoon!, as Anita, Maria’s closest friend and confidant. Rita Moreno, who originally played and won an Oscar as Anita in 1961’s West Side Story, is also starring in Spielberg’s remake, this time as a new character Valentina, who is a reimagining of Doc, the manager of the store Tony works at.

Here is a rundown of other key members of the cast:

  • David Alvarez - Bernardo Vasquez
  • Mike Faist - Riff 
  • Josh Andrés Rivera - Chino 
  • Ana Isabelle - Rosalia 
  • Corey Stoll - Lieutenant Schrank 
  • Brian d’Arcy James - Officer Krupke 
  • Curtiss Cook - Abe 
  • Kevin Csolak - Diesel 
  • Ezra Means - Anybodys 
  • Ben Cook - Mouthpiece 
  • Sean Harrison Jones - Action 
  • Patrick Higgins - Baby John 
  • Paloma Garcia Lee - Graziella 
  • Maddie Ziegler - Velma 

Is there a ‘West Side Story’ trailer?

There have been a few West Side Story trailers released so far, but a new one just came out on Sept. 15 that you can watch below. This trailer puts the spotlight on Rachel Zegler’s Maria, while also showcasing some of the incredibly looking musical numbers that Spielberg and his crew have crafted. 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.