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Mean Streets (1973)

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Following the life of a small-time hood who struggles with a moral crisis regarding his friends, family, business, and his conflicting religious beliefs.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Amy Robinson ...
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Mario (as Vic Argo)
George Memmoli ...
Lenny Scaletta ...
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Murray Moston ...
Oscar (as Murray Mosten)
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Boy With Gun
Lois Walden ...
Jewish Girl
...
Soldier
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Storyline

The future is set for Tony and Michael - owning a neighbour- hood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city's Little Italy. For Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle, making collections and reclaiming bad debts. He's probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman his uncle disapproves of (because of her epilepsy) and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a near psychotic whose trouble-making threatens them all - he can't reconcile opposing values. A failed attempt to escape (to Brooklyn) moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost preordained future. Written by Dave Cook <cookd@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets...


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 October 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Season of the Witch  »

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,645 (USA) (13 March 1998)

Gross:

$32,645 (USA) (13 March 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to the low budget, some of the most iconic shots in the film were done using a handheld camera, including a 69-second take that follows Johnny Boy as he walks through Charlie's apartment, as well as the famous pool hall brawl. See more »

Goofs

The end credits on the DVD incorrectly list David Carradine as "Oscar" and Robert Carradine as "Drunk". See more »

Quotes

Charlie: It's all bullshit except the pain. The pain of hell. The burn from a lighted match increased a million times. Infinite. Now, ya don't fuck around with the infinite. There's no way you do that. The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart... your soul, the spiritual side. And ya know... the worst of the two is the spiritual.
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Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
(uncredited)
Written by Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith
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User Reviews

 
This movie is not just a good movie - It also is the movie which helped form the foundation of Martin Scorsese's later pictures.
21 October 2005 | by (OJ, Denmark) – See all my reviews

Mean Streets

  • "I f*uck you right where you breathe"




Directed by Martin Scorsese (1973)

Mean Streets came out in 1973 after Scorsese almost had the script under development in a decade. This is one of his first personal movies, describing the raw environment in the streets of Little Italy in NYC. We follow Charlie in the leading role and the bunch of guys around him. The hustler Johnny Boy owes a lot of money to the loan shark Tony and doesn't make his payments to him. Charlie now tries to work out a deal with Tony and is trying to get Johnny Boy to pull himself together, even though this looks like an impossible mission.

Scorsese's first motion picture Who's That Knocking at My Door and Mean Streets have many resemblances and contain the typical trademarks that Scorsese is now well known for. He almost always makes a character study of the life of lonely men, who are trying to get the best out of their situation in the asphalt jungle. Hustling, working, drinking, taking drugs etc. are very typical things to do for the persons appearing in his movies.

Mean Streets is photographed mostly with a hand hold camera, which helps create a raw look that fits pretty good to this environment. Also the movie doesn't contain an actual score. Actually songs from the director's personal music collection do work as the background music. The plot is this picture is only secondary. This is like many of Scorsese's other movie primarily a character driven story with a raw environment description.

The movie marks the start of one of the greatest director/actor collaborations ever! The role of Johnny Boy was Robert De Niro's role in a Scorsese picture, and later on he went to bigger leading roles under the director, which gave them both the reputation that they have today. Also this is Harvey Keitel's second leading role in a Scorsese picture, but after this movie Keitel and De Niro kind switched roles (see Taxi Driver).

This movie is not just a good movie - It also is the movie which helped form the foundation of Martin Scorsese's later pictures.

8/10


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