Garvey is a San Francisco pawnshop operator. His unemployed and criminal friends Dillard, Turtle, and Weslake, team up with Boardwalk, a local pimp, to burgle Garvey's shop while the owner ... See full summary »
Terry Noonan returns home to New York's Hells Kitchen after a ten year absence. He soon hooks up with childhood pal Jackie who is involved in the Irish mob run by his brother Frankie. Terry... See full summary »
Glendon Wasey is a fortune hunter looking for a fast track out of China. Gloria Tatlock is a missionary nurse seeking the curing powers of opium for her patients. Fate sets them on a hectic... See full summary »
Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien has been sent to a juvenile prison for vehicular manslaughter. Most unfortunately, the person he kills is the kid brother of his nemesis Paco Moreno, who vows revenge by raping Mick's girlfriend. Paco is caught and sent to the same prison where he re-works his revenge plan, and Mick has no choice but to defend himself. Written by
Sean Penn insisted on being called the name of his character, Mick O'Brien, during production of the movie. Moreover, when Penn spent a week's filming at the St. Charles maximum-security youth reformatory, his official name-tag identification read "Mick O'Brien". See more »
In the scene where Paco's mother is packing her dead son's belongings away, Paco says to his mother "I have to do it!" It comes up as the same words on the screen twice. But when he says it the second time, he says something different in the language he is speaking. See more »
I killed your little brother, but he's dead because you didn't look after him.
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I recently saw this movie again (on video, not the uncut DVD). I hadn't seen it in about twenty years, but it affected me the same at 35 as it did when I saw it on cable at 14. It is one of the grittiest, rawest movies I have ever seen, and it works on a visceral level. The performances of Sean Penn and Esai Morales in this film go to show why they have both continued to be two of the hardest working actors in Hollywood. After seeing Penn as Jeff Spiccolli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," I was amazed by his range in this film (although he was excellent in "Racing With the Moon," which if memory serves me right also came out around this time). Morales took what could have been a one-note role and turned it into a caricature of a revenge-bent punk, but his talent even back then was clear that he was up to the challenge of putting emotion into the role and bringing some sympathy to Paco's plight. Clancy Brown and Ally Sheedy were excellent in their roles as well.
The movie worked not just because the acting was great, but because the story moved along at an exciting pace. It was suspenseful and was not overly cliché or pat. Overall, it was an unforgettable movie experience, a strong cautionary tale that still makes people think.
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