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Paradise Alley (1978)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 3,232 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 5 critic

Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Big Glory
Frankie the Thumper
Joyce Ingalls ...
Joe Spinell ...
Aimée Eccles ...
Susan Chow
Chick Casey ...
James J. Casino ...
Paradise Bartender
Fredi O. Gordon ...
Paradise Alley Hooker
Lydia Goya ...
Bar Room Hooker #1


It's 1946 in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. Cosmo Carboni, the eldest of the three Carboni brothers, is lamenting what he sees as them not living up to their potential. Big talking Cosmo hustles and panhandles for money. Brooding Lenny Carboni, an injured veteran whose sullen attitude stems from his time in the war, is an undertaker. And youngest Victor Carboni, the simple muscle-man who wouldn't hurt a fly unless he's annoyed, is an iceman. Victor looks to Lenny and his Chinese-American girlfriend Susan Chow as his voices of reason. After Victor holds his own against wrestler Frankie the Thumper in an arm wrestling match, Frankie who is seen as the strongest man in the neighborhood, and after seeing the lucrative wrestling matches - which are more like street fights without rules - at the underground nightclub called Paradise Alley, Cosmo gets it into his head that wrestling may be Victor's calling and a way for them all to get out of Hell's Kitchen for good. The brothers would act... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Three brothers... One had the brains, one had the muscle and one had the suit. Together they had a million dollar dream. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 September 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hell's Kitchen  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sylvester Stallone actually wrote this before Rocky (1976) and tried to sell it to producers for years, to no avail. Once Rocky (1976) became a smash hit, producers were willing to look at the script, and Universal Pictures green-lighted the production due to the overwhelming success of Rocky (1976). See more »


Tonga Fifita's surname is grossly misspelled in the end credits as Yociato. See more »


Cosmo Carboni: Everybody needs something. And I think what YOU need is a whole lotta ME, wrapped around you on a cold winter night.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits use the 1940s Universal logo. See more »


Referenced in There's Nothing Out There (1991) See more »


(Meet Me in) Paradise Alley
Written by Tom Waits
Performed by Tom Waits
See more »

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User Reviews

A Depression-Era "Rocky"
14 July 1999 | by (Iowa City, IA) – See all my reviews

Stallone made this film between "Rocky" and "Rocky II" and it shares alot of similarities with those films. It's the story of three brothers who dream of busting out of the poverty of Hell's Kitchen in New York during the mid-1940's.

Sly plays Cosmo Carboni, the street-wise hustler with no visible means of support but a head full of get-rich-quick schemes who hatches a plan to promote his brutish but gentle-natured brother (who's job is hauling giant blocks of ice all over the city) as a professional wrestler. Armand Assante plays his other brother, a cynical war veteran who was wounded in combat and now works as a mortician.

The story is peppered with colorful Damon Runyon-esque characters and a nicely balanced combination of humor and drama. Stallone writes and directs well, getting good performances from all his actors, and the film has a rich flavor and feeling for the period.

One of Stallone's least-known and least appreciated films, but it's well worth seeking out. Nicely done and entertaining.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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