Tony and Maria, the protagonists of “West Side Story,” a musical directed by Steven Spielberg, are star-crossed lovers whose love for one another is tested by their membership in opposing gangs.
The film, which is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, examines the racial tensions between two rival gangs: one composed of Puerto Ricans known as the Sharks and the other of whites known as the Jets.
As a result of the gangs settling their differences with a fight, Tony and Maria’s touching romance is disrupted. Like the 1961 original, this film ends on a cliffhanger that leaves viewers wondering what will become of Tony and Maria. Check out the last developments for the couple. Warning: The following contains spoilers.
In West Side Story, Does Tony End Up Dying?
True, just like in the original 1961 movie, Tony dies at the end of “West Side Story.” Tony assures Maria he will make an effort to prevent the fight after she begs him to do so. Tony tries to convince the gangs not to start the battle on the day of the rumble, but Bernardo mocks him. Riff steps in to defend Tony, but Bernardo stabs him.
Tony takes revenge for the death of his best buddy by murdering Maria’s brother. When cops arrive, he runs away to Maria. After they have saved up enough money, they intend to flee the city.
However, Maria has to shelve her plans because the police have intervened. She then dispatches Anita to brief Tony on the situation, but Anita’s efforts to do so are met with hostility from the Jets.
She explodes with rage and accuses Chino of murdering Maria. When Tony hears what Anita said, he becomes distraught and begs Chino to kill him as well. A vengeful Chino kills Tony with a gun at the end of the film.
Tony’s suicide is a result of his emotional breakdown. Though he is aware of what Anita said to the Jets, his undying affection for Maria makes him oblivious to the truth. He chooses death over the possibility of ever knowing a world without his beloved Maria.
Given that death is now his only remaining option for finally being reunited with Maria, he eagerly accepts his fate. However, he has no idea what Anita was talking about when she stated that. Just when his hopes of moving in with Maria were beginning to rise again, Chino shot 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?
Maria does not perish in either of the two ‘West Side Story’ movies. The Jets hassle Anita when she tries to tell Tony that Maria can’t meet him. A humiliated Anita fabricates a tale about how Chino murdered Maria. When Tony finds out what Anita really said to his friends, he gives up all hope of ever living again.
He decides to end his life because he believes Maria has been dead, but before he can escape Chino’s clutches, he is killed. While Maria is blissfully unaware of Anita’s deception, she is looking forward to a future with Tony once she is finally left alone. At this point, all she can do is comfort Tony’s lifeless body.
Maria nevertheless opts to keep living after Tony’s death. She grabs the gun Chino uses to kill Tony, but she doesn’t use it to end her own life. Maria has had enough of the violence between the gangs and the resulting murders. She’d rather not be another person needlessly forgotten in the Jets-Sharks rivalry.
Instead of taking her own life to match Tony’s, she uses the gun to threaten the rival gang members into ending their fight. After losing her brother and her sweetheart in the pointless fighting between the two gangs, she is reluctant to make the same mistake twice. Maria, in her misery, is still alive in the film’s final shots.