Tony and Maria, the protagonists of Steven Spielberg’s musical picture “West Side Story,” are star-crossed lovers whose love is tested when they are forced to choose between their allegiances to two opposing gangs.
The film, which is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, delves into the racial tensions that arise between the Sharks (a Puerto Rican gang) and the Jets (a white gang).
When the rival gangs decide to settle their differences with a fight, Tony and Maria’s blossoming romance is disrupted.
Like the original eponymous picture from 1961, this one concludes with a conclusion that will leave you wondering about Tony and Maria’s future. Let’s take a close look at the climax and see what happens to the couple. THIS HAS SPOILERS.
Is Tony killed off in West Side Story?
True, just like in the original 1961 movie, Tony dies at the end of “West Side Story.” Tony assures Maria that he will make every effort to prevent the fight after she begs him to do so. When Tony tries to talk the gangs out of starting the battle on the day of the rumble, Bernardo mocks him.
While trying to save Tony, Riff is stabbed by Bernardo. Tony takes revenge for the death of his best buddy by murdering Maria’s brother. He avoids the police and makes his way to Maria as soon as they arrive. After they have saved up enough money, they intend to flee the city.
However, due to interference from law enforcement, Maria has temporarily shelved her plans. She then dispatches Anita to brief Tony on the situation, but Anita’s efforts to do so are met with hostility from the Jets.
Irate, she claims that Chino was responsible for Maria’s death. When Tony hears what Anita said, he becomes distraught and begs Chino to kill him as well. The film concludes with a vengeful Chino shooting and killing Tony.
Tony’s suicide is the result of an emotional breakdown. Even if he overhears what Anita told the Jets, his undying affection for Maria makes him oblivious to the truth. Since he cannot conceive of a life without Maria, he chooses death to living in a world without her.
As he sees it, death is his final opportunity to be reunited with Maria, therefore he eagerly requests it. Yet how little he understands of the truth that lies underlying what Anita stated. Just as his hopes of moving in with Maria begin to rise again, Chino shoots them down.
Tony’s bravery in facing death head-on illustrates the intensity of his feelings for Maria and the triumph of emotion over logic.
In West Side Story, does Maria end up Dying?
In both versions of “West Side Story,” Maria does not perish. Tony doesn’t want Maria to meet him, so Anita goes to tell him the bad news. However, the Jets interfere and start harassing her.
When Anita is insulted, she makes up a story that Chino is responsible for the death of Maria. When Tony finds out what Anita really said to his friends, he gives up all hope of ever living again. He makes the ultimate sacrifice, assuming Maria has been dead, but is ultimately taken out by Chino.
Maria, meanwhile, is blissfully unaware of Anita’s deception and looks forward to a future with Tony once they are no longer a threat to her. All she can do now is hold Tony’s lifeless body in her arms.
Maria continues to pick life over death, even after Tony’s death. Even though she grabs Chino’s gun after he kills Tony, she doesn’t try to end her own life. Maria has had enough of the violence and murder between the gangs. She’d rather not be another person needlessly forgotten in the Jets-Sharks rivalry.
Instead of following Tony’s lead and taking her own life, she uses the gun to threaten the rival gang members into ending their fight. She’s already lost her brother and her sweetheart to the pointless fighting between the two gangs, and she doesn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Maria, in a state of hopelessness, is still alive in the film’s last moments.