What West Side Story’s Spanish Scenes Say In English

Several scenes in West Side Story (2021) include use of Spanish, leaving some viewers to wonder what the characters are saying in those moments. Spanish is used sporadically throughout scenes involving the prominent Puerto Rican characters of the movie. English is still the primary language used in the film, and the story can still be easily understood without knowledge of Spanish, but English-speaking audiences will likely be curious about what is being said.

One of the new film’s major selling points was its casting of Latin/Latina actresses as the Puerto Rican characters. The cast of the 1961 film version of West Side Story also included Latin actors, including Rita Moreno as Anita. But the most prominent Puerto Rican character, Maria, was played by Natalie Wood, a white woman. Allowing the characters to speak their native language in the 2021 version adds to the authenticity of the casting.

West Side Story (2021) is now available for streaming; for those who are curious about what the Puerto Rican characters are saying, here are translations of the scenes in which Spanish is prominently used in the movie. The following translations will be of longer Spanish portions of dialogue of the movie and less common terminology of the language; some singular uses of common Spanish words such as “niña” or “si” are left out. Dialogue spoken in Spanish and then repeated in English in the movie is omitted. The dialogue is translated in chronological order from the movie script, so this article can be used as a tool while watching West Side Story (2021).

Why West Side Story 2021 Doesn’t Use Subtitles

The lack of subtitles in the West Side Story (2021) is not a mistake; it was a conscious decision made by Steven Spielberg. One of the more prominent changes in this version of the musical is that it evens out the playing field between the Sharks and Jets, the gangs who use Tony and Maria’s romance as an excuse to fight. The 1961 film gives a little more attention to the Jets, but the 2021 version more fully characterizes the Puerto Rican Sharks and more expressly addresses the racism of their rivals. The lack of subtitles was an aid to this story point, so that no preference was given to primarily English-speaking viewers of the movie.

Opening Fight Between the Sharks and Jets

West Side Story 2020 Jets

West Side Story’s opening scene introduces the racial tensions at its core, depicting a street fight between the Jets and Sharks before it is broken up by New York police. Bernardo and some Sharks use Spanish intermittently in this scene.

¡Oye, deja la mierda!” – Hey, stop the crap!

¡Por muchachitos como ustedes ¡Déjennos en paz! es que este mundo está lousy!” – For little boys like you, leave us alone! is that this world is lousy!

Vámonos, chicos, ¡vamos! ¡Por acá, por acá!” – Come on, guys, come on! Over here, over here!

¡Ven acá, blanquito! ¡Estate quieto!” – Come here, white boy! Be quiet!

¿Tu crees que tu mandas aquí? ¡Ven acá canto’e mama’o, pa’ decirte quién es jefe!” – Do you think you’re in charge here? Come here I’ll show you who’s boss!

A mí no me preguntes nada.” – Don’t ask me anything

Déjenlo. No vale la pena.” – Leave it. It’s not worth it.

¡Vamos!” – Let’s go!

La Borinqueña

west side story - sharks

As they leave the dirty lot in which the opening fight scene takes place, Bernardo leads the Sharks in singing the Puerto Rican national anthem.

“¡Despierta, borinqueño – – que han dado la señal!

¡Despierta de ese sueño que es hora de luchar!

A ese llamar patriótico ¿no arde tu corazón? ¡Ven! Nos será simpático el ruido del cañón.

Nosotros queremos la libertad y nuestros machetes nos la darán.

Vámonos, borinqueños, vámonos ya, que nos espera ansiosa, ansiosa la libertad. ¡La libertad, la libertad!”

“Wake up, Puerto Rican – – they’ve given the signal!

Wake up from that dream that it’s time to fight!

Doesn’t your heart burn at that patriotic call? Come! The noise of the cannon will be nice to us.

We want freedom and our machetes will give it to us.

Let’s go, Puerto Ricans, let’s go now, because freedom awaits us anxiously, anxiously. The freedom, the freedom!”

Anita and Maria Before the Dance

Anita and Maria talking in a bedroom in West Side Story

This scene introduces the audience to the female leads of the story, Maria (Rachel Zegler) and Anita (Ariana DeBose, who has a chance to make Oscars history in this role) as they excitedly speak to one another in both English and Spanish before Bernardo (David Alvarez) and Chino (Josh Rivera) pick them up for the dance.

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¡María, ya vienen por ahí!” – Maria, they’re coming this way!

No digas esas cosas, niña. ¿Qué te pasa? Con los muertos no se juega, ¿ah?” – Don’t say those things, girl. What’s wrong with you? You don’t play with the dead!

¡Ay, este es el traje más ancho y más feo que he visto en mi vida!” – Oh, this is the biggest and ugliest outfit I’ve ever seen in my life!

Ahorrar tus chavitos, fancypants.” – Save your pennies.

¡Mira qué bella!” – Look how pretty!

¡Me has salvado la vida! ¡Eres una santa!” – You have saved my life! You are a saint!

¡Necesito lipstick!” – I need lipstick!

Mi primer baile en Nueva York and I have to go with that, that, that zángano and I don’t want to.” – My first dance in New York… drone….

¡Y Bernardo es un dictador!” – And Bernardo is a dictator!

Dale, entra. You gotta dance with her. ¡Júralo! Pero no te vayas a echar pa’trás como-” – Come on in. …Swear it! But don’t go back like-

“Pero tú tienes que- ¡Coño, Buddy Boy! Lo abotonaste mal.” – But you have to – sh*t… you buttoned it wrong.

Preciosa, ¿ah?” – Lovely, yes?

¡Sí! ¡Bien linda!” – Yes! Very pretty!

And Chino, ¡qué quapo!” – And Chino, how handsome!

Bossy, como te dije, y una wiseass. Óyeme bien: the gringos tonight, they stare because – because our girls make their girls look lousy. Si alguno de ellos te falta el respeto-” – Bossy, like I told you, and a wiseass. Listen to me carefully…If any of them disrespect you-

Tony and Maria’s First Meeting At the Dance

A split screen of Tony and Maria in West Side Story.

As all the other characters dance in the school gym, Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria are drawn to one another from across the room. This angers Bernardo, creating an opportunity for Riff (Mike Faist) to arrange a fight between their respective gangs.

Tú estás metido en el medio, ¿qué te pasa?” – You’re stuck in the middle, what’s wrong with you?

¿Pero qué carajo quieres, gringo estúpido?” – But what the hell do you want, stupid gringo?

¡’Pérate, ‘pérate! ¿Y a usted dónde le toca?” – Wait, Wait! And where is your turn?

¡Ponle fuego, vamos!” – Put fire on it, come on!

¡Conmigo no!” – Not with me!

Creo que sí, pero…como yo nunca.” – I think so, but…like me never.

¿Qué haces? ¡Sal de ahí ahora mismo!” – What are you doing? Get out of there right now!

¿Dónde está mi hermana?” – Where is my sister?

¿Estás bien?” – Are you OK?

Sí, estoy bien. ¿Y Anita?” – Yes, I’m fine. And Anita?

No, no, no, ¡no me hizo nada!” – No, no, no, he didn’t do anything to me!

Déjalo quieto. No digas nada.” – Keep quiet. Don’t say anything.

¡No me toques!” – Don’t touch me!

¿Tú conoces al pendejo ese? ¿Tú no sabes lo que él quiere?” – Do you know that asshole? Don’t you know what he wants?

Ya, tranquilo, que no pasó nada.” – Calm down, nothing happened.

María, ¿te quieres quedar o te llevo a la casa?” – Maria, do you want to stay or should I take you home?

¿Dónde queda eso?” – Where is that?

Tanta mierda que hablan estos gringos que si navaja, que si mierda, pero cuando ven sangre se cagan encima.” – So much crap that these gringos talk about, yes, a knife, yes, crap, but when they see blood they crap on themselves.

Maria’s Balcony (Tonight)

West Side Story Tony & Maria

In West Side Story’s most overt reference to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Tony speaks to Maria on her balcony and the two profess their love for each other.

¿Quién es?” – Who is it?

¡Tú no puedes estar aquí!” – You can’t be here!

¡No hables!” – Don’t speak!

¡María! ¡Vente pa’dentro!” – Maria! Come inside!

¡Sí, ya voy! ¡Me estoy vistiendo!” – Yes I’m going! I am getting dressed!

Te adoro, Anton.” – I adore you, Anton.

Breakfast With Anita and Bernardo

Anita walking with Bernardo in the street in West Side Story.

Following their romantic duet, Maria must pretend all is normal when joining Bernardo and Anita for breakfast the morning after the dance but the siblings find it difficult to get along, just prior to one of the best songs in West Side Story (2021).

– y después – Poquito a poco te voy a hacer todo eso, esas cositas que te encantan.” – and then, little by little I’m going to do all that to you, those little things that you love.

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Hazme feliz esta noche.” – Make me happy tonight.

¿Oíste eso?” – Did you hear that?

¡Ya no lo soporto! ¡No soy una bebé!” – I can’t stand it anymore! I’m not a baby!

¡Mami estaría avergonzada!” – Mom would be embarrassed!

Te quiero mucho y tengo que proteger-” – I love you a lot and I have to protect you.

Yo también te quiero mucho.” – I love you a lot, too.

Pero Nueva York no te hace feliz-” – But New York doesn’t make you happy-

Mientras tú vivas-” – As long as you live.

Ah, ¿y ahora yo noy soy parte de la familia? ¿Y por qué? ¿¡Porque soy prieta!?” – Oh, and now I’m not a part of the family? And why? Because I’m right?

Eso no es lo que quise decir! Anita, eso no – ¡Te prohíbo ver a ese estúpido Polack!” – That’s not what I meant! Anita, not that – I forbid you to see that stupid Polack!

Pero yo no estoy interesada ni en boxeo ni en peleas. ¡Y tú no eres mi jefe!” – But I am not interested in boxing or fighting. And you are not my boss!

¿Ah sí, Señor, y tu no eres hincho?” – Oh yes, Sir, and you’re not a fan?

¡Cierto!” – Certainly!

¡Lo sé!” – I know!

The Rumble

The Jets and Sharks meet at night with their shadows projecting on the pavement in West Side Story

The climactic fight between the Jets and the Sharks takes place in a salt shed, where the leaders of the two gangs meet their premature ends.

La puerta.” – The door.

¿Que haces aquí? ¡Te dije que te quedaras fuera de esto!” – What are you doing here? I told you to stay out of this?

Lo sé, pero quiero ayudar. Me quedo.” – I know, but I want to help. I’m staying.

¿Qué carajo está pasando?” – What the hell is going on?

¡Ten cuida’o, jefe! ¡Te puede dar la puñalá por la espalda!” – Be careful, boss! He can stab you in the back!

¡Te lo dije, son un chorro de huele pegas!” – I told you, they’re a bunch of stinky glue!

¡Esto es un relajo! ¡Ellos no van a pelear!” – This is relaxation! They are not going to fight!

¿Pero con mi hermana? No.” – But with my sister? No.

¡No se metan!” – Don’t get involved!

The Department Store (I Feel Pretty) And Chino’s Message

Rachel Zegler Maria West Side Story

Maria basks in the joy of her love for Tony inside the department store where she works before Chino arrives with terrible news.

Yo tengo una prima que tiene una amiga, que trabaja en el Housing Department, y ella me dijo que…” – I have a cousin who has a friend who works in the Housing department and she told me that…

Ay, nena, we’re gonna get evicted nos van a botar como bolsa.” – Oh, baby, …they’re going to throw us out like a bag.

Antes que lo me quiten.” – Before they take it away from me.

They can evict you, con cheque o sin cheque.” – …with a check or without a check.

Si nos vamos, que sea con dignidad.” – If we leave, let it be with dignity.

Pues yo prefiero irme con 500 pesos.” – Well, I prefer to leave with 500 pesos.

¡María, Luz te está hablando!” – Maria, Luz is talking to you!

¡Solo los del sindicato tocan eso!” – Only the union guys touch that!

Muy graciosa.” – Very funny

¡Si estrujas ese chal, te van a botar!” – If you wring out that shawl, they’re going to kick you out!

Lo único que voy a decir es que I’m happy in my fancy rich lady apartment!” – The only thing I’m going to say is that…

¡María, la alcaldesa!” – Maria, the mayor!

¡Hasta aquí llegó la comedia! ¡A trabajar to’ el mundo!” – So far came the comedy! Get to work everybody!

¡Ay, espera!” – Oh, wait!

Eso es lo que le hace el amor a tu cerebro. ¡Voy a fumar!” – That’s what love does to your brain. I am going to smoke!

¿Hola? ¿Quién está ahi?” – Hello? Who’s there?

Soy… Soy yo.” – It’s me.

¿Chino, eres tú?” – Chino, is it you?

¿Que pasó? Chino, ¿qué pasó?” – What happened? Chino, what happened?

There was a fight, con los Jets, y me fui con ellos, y…Y hubo un accidente, María, like it was over before, before anyone could stop him, fue tan rápido que nadie… and Riff, he got stabbed, and-” – … and I went with them, and…And there was an accident, Maria,…it was so fast that nobody…

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¡¿Tony estaba allí?!” – Was Tony there?

¿Le pasó algo?” – Did something happen to him?

¡EL MATÓ A TU HERMANO!” – He killed your brother!

¡Eso no fue el!” – That wasn’t him!

There’s A Place For Us and A Boy Like That/I Have a Love

West Side Story "Somewhere" Live

Valentina (Rita Moreno, as an original character) worries about Tony’s fate as he seeks comfort from Maria, until the pair is caught by an angry Anita.

¡No, no entres! ¡SI ENTRAS, TE MATO!” – No, don’t come in! IF YOU COME IN, I WILL KILL YOU!

¡Yo no quería que esto pasara, yo no quería que esto pasara!” – I didn’t want this to happen, I didn’t want this to happen!

¡Párense! Braulio, ¿qué está pasando? ¿Qué está pasando aquí?” – Stand up! Braulio, what’s going on? What’s going on here?

Los Jets, quisieron pelear.” – The Jets wanted to fight.

Vamos, nos tenemos que ir. ¡Dale, hombre! ¡Vámonos, que nos van a arrestar!” -Come on, we have to go. Come on, man! Let’s go, they’re going to arrest us!

¿Los Jets? ¿Quiénes estaban ahí?” – The Jets? Who was there?

Bernardo está muerto.” – Bernardo is dead.

¡Ay, Dios Todopoderoso! No puede ser...” – Oh, God Almighty! It can’t be…

Y Riff. También está muerto. Riff también está muerto. Nos tenemos que ir. Nos tenemos que ir.” – And Riff. He’s dead, too. Riff is dead, too. We have to go. We have to go.

¿Dónde está Tony? ¿Dónde estaba Tony?” – Where is Tony? Where was Tony?

El fue el que mató a Bernardo.” – He was the one who killed Bernardo.

Vente a la cama.” – Come back to bed.

Sí, me acabo de despertar, salgo ahora.” – Yes, I just woke up, I’m coming out now.

Sal, mi amor, que tenemos que hablar.” – Come, my love, we have to talk.

María, ¿puedo entrar?” – Maria, can I come in?

¿Pero qué es esto?” – But what is this?

Sí, lo sé.” – Yes, I know.

Te quiero, mi niña.” – I love you, my girl.

Chino At The Gym

Chino walking with the Sharks in West Side Story.

The Sharks try to maintain a low profile in the boxing gym but Chino reveals that he has a gun and wants vengeance. Meanwhile, Maria is questioned by police Lieutenant Schrank (Corey Stoll).

¿Quién está ahí?” – Who is there?

¿Estás bien, hermano?” – Are you well, brother?

Bien, bien, Quique. ¿Y tú?” – Fine, fine, Quique. And you?

Mal, muy mal.” – Bad, very bad.

Bernardo está muerto. Bernardo era el alma de to’s nosotros. El más fuerte.” – Bernard is dead. Bernardo was the soul of all of us. The strongest.

Pero cayó de pendejo. ¡Murió luchando por su dignidad, and for pride, mi hermano, orgullo puertorriqueño! Bernardo, he died to show those gringos

how tough Puerto Ricans are, más fuerte que to’ ellos-” – But the idiot fell. He died fighting for his dignity, and for pride, my brother, Puerto Rican pride! …stronger than all of them-

If those nobodies can take your pride away from you, tú eres más estúpido que Bernardo.” – …you are more stupid than Bernardo.

Chino, Chino, por favor, Bernardo no te dejaría hacer eso.” – Chino, Chino, please, Bernardo wouldn’t let you do that.

Anita’s Assault and the Tragedy

West Side Story "Maria" Live

Anita goes to Valentina’s drugstore to give Tony a message from Maria but is given a violently hostile reception by the Jets. She tells the Jets that Chino shot Maria, leading to West Side Story (2021)’s tragic end in which Tony calls for Chino to do the same to him. Chino obliges, and Maria, devastated, confronts both Jets and Sharks for the consequences of their prejudices.

¡Valentina! ¡Es Anita! ¿Puedes subir, por favor, que tengo que-” – Valentine! It’s Anita! Can you come up please, I have to

¡Pobrecita! Mi’ja… Mi’ja…” – Poor dear! My daughter, my daughter…

¡Yo no soy tu hija, traitor! Tú les das techo a estos puercos.” – I am not your daughter, traitor! You give shelter to these pigs.

No, gracias. Yo no soy americana. ¡Yo soy puertorriqueña!” – No, thank you. I am not American. I am Puerto Rican!

María, ya es tiempo. Vente con nosotros.” – Maria, it is time. Come with us.

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