* AccidentalInnuendo: "When you come, use the back door."
* AuthorsSavingThrow: The Spielberg film specifically asked for Latino actors for the Shark auditions, after the controversy of the original film's casting.
* AwardSnub: It lost that year's Tony to ''Theatre/TheMusicMan''.
** Many, like "Mambo" and "America".
** "Tonight". Big time.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Both [[SpicyLatina Anita]] and Anybodys, although Anybodys joining in taunting Anita during the rape scene can make her unlikable for some (although in the film when the taunting gets to the attempted rape she's seen in the back looking disgusted and it's clear she isn't on-board anymore).
* FauxSymbolism: The virginal Maria wears a white dress to her first dance (and unsuccessfully asks Anita to dye it red so she'll look more "grown up"), but a red one following the loss of her virginity to Tony. Also, in the final scenes, she's wearing a black shawl around her head. Probably representing her mourning for her brother, but it comes in handy when she has to mourn Tony as well.
** "America" has a couple:
*** The line of "the money owing" is this because, in 2016, the government of Puerto Rico started to miss payments on its debt, requiring the government of the United States of America to step in.
*** The line "Let it sink back in the ocean" from the same song becomes this after Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane ''Maria'' in 2017, with the US government being criticized for not doing enough to help.
*** For that matter, the line "Nobody knows in America/Puerto Rico's in America" is particularly relevant to the above situations.
* HoYay: Playwright Arthur Laurents (a gay man himself) supported the idea that Tony and Riff may have previously been lovers and that Riff is still in love with Tony even though the latter has moved on. Under his direction, the 2009 Broadway revival played up the subtext. Of course, they are based on [[Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet Romeo and Mercutio.]]
* ItWasHisSled: Tony dies. Though in fairness, Maria ''not'' dying is a big case of NotHisSled from the source material.
* MemeticMutation: A rare case of a memetic dance--the Jets snapping their fingers and leaping in the air.
* MisaimedFandom: The entire argument over which gang is more sympathetic. It completely spits in the face the theme that both sides are adding to the conflict.
* MoralEventHorizon: It's pretty hard to root for the Jets after [[NearRapeExperience they attempt to rape Anita]]. Granted, [[RealityEnsues the entire point]] is to ''[[MisaimedFandom not]]'' [[MisaimedFandom root for either side]].
** The fact that Action in the film looks like Creator/MattLeBlanc.
** Or the fact that "Baby John" doesn't look or sound that much younger than the other Jets.
** A lot of the slang used by the Jets is cringe-worthy by today's standards. Ironically, it's not even real '50s slang, but was invented by the writers so as ''not'' to date the piece.
** Anita's section of "Tonight," with her simply wanting to get laid being given the exact same dramatic weight as the rumble.
* NightmareFuel: 'Cool' in the film is a little unsettling to watch, especially with the multiple shots of all the Jets coming towards the camera, and the dancing makes them seem a tad unhinged, especially with the intermittent 'POW!'s.
** In the stage version, the unnamed girl who sings the song "Somewhere".
** John Astin as the MC at the dance in the film.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: It can seem horribly cliche nowadays -- not least because it's adapting ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', which itself underwhelms many readers who find it trite, shallow, and immature. There's also the fact that it's meant to be [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped against bigotry and racism]], but the Sharks have much less stage/screen time than the Jets and the film casts white performers with affected accents in major Puerto Rican roles.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Maria's closing speech where she chews out everyone over [[spoiler:Tony's death]].
** "You're a girl, Anybodys. ''Be'' a girl!" is supposed to be part of Tony objecting to the senseless gang violence, but now it just sounds sexist, as if the violence is especially bad because ''even a girl'' wants to fight. Due to the ambiguity over Anybodys' gender identity (some productions play the character as a transgender boy), there's another layer of dissonance added in that they might be misgendering Anybodys on top of the sexism.
** In "Gee Officer Krupke", the reasons for the Jets being delinquents are pretty fair (My father is a bastard/My ma's an S.O.B./My grandpa's always plastered), until we get to "My sister wears a mustache" and "My brother wears a dress" which sounds pretty ignorant against crossdressers and trans people.
* ValuesResonance: The song "America", in which the Puerto Ricans discuss how it feels to live in America and the differences between it and their homeland, feels a lot more relevant today with regards to the treatment of immigrants and Mexicans.
** For a part of a Puerto Rican in a musical, a Russian-American was cast, who couldn't sing (okay, Creator/NatalieWood actually could sing, but she wasn't good enough for this movie).
** Compare white Carol Lawrence in the original Broadway cast (although she could sing).