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Street Smart (1987)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  20 March 1987 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,773 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 17 critic

A New York journalist lies when his fake story about a pimp describes a real pimp up for murder.

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Title: Street Smart (1987)

Street Smart (1987) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jonathan Fisher
...
Punchy
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Alison Parker
...
Leonard Pike
Andre Gregory ...
Ted Avery
...
...
Harriet
Frederick Rolf ...
Joel Davis
...
Reggie
...
Art Sheffield
Shari Hilton ...
Darlene
Donna Bailey ...
Yvonne
Ed Van Nuys ...
Judge
Daniel Nalbach ...
Singer
...
Solo
Edit

Storyline

Magazine reporter Jonathan Fisher, in danger of losing his job, promises to write a factual hard-hitting story of prostitution. But when he tries to get information from the subjects, he is ignored. So he ends up faking a well received story of a pimp, describing his life and crimes. But police think the story is of a real life pimp who is wanted for murder and start pressuring him to reveal the identity of subject in his story, and all he knows. The pimp the police suspect, also thinks the story is about himself, and wants to know what Jonathan knows, and who told him. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To get even he must get STREET SMART See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 March 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Armação Perigosa  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,119,112 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Cannon Film Group agreed to finance this film as a pet project of Christopher Reeve on the condition that he appear in at least one more Superman film, which they had recently acquired the rights to. The result was this and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). See more »

Goofs

Right when Punch and her pimp enter the party, the editor announces them at the door..They cut to a woman on the stairs and Punchies leopard skin leotard clad legs are stretched out behind her. They have a scene on the stairs a few minutes later. See more »

Quotes

Ted Avery: [laughing and reading Jonathan's article about the pimp] It's wonderful! Listen. Listen to this! "Although he doesn't vote and never has Tyrone has no modesty about his own political potential. If I was the president, he says, I could fix the world in 30 seconds. I sent everybody pussy and they don't have no time for trouble." It's terrific. It's first rate. It's a real breakthrough! Let it change pussy for something else.
See more »


Soundtracks

Payin For It Now
Written by D. Amy & Robert Cray
Performed by The Robert Cray Band
Published by Calhoun St. Music (BMI)
Administered by Bug Music
Courtesy of Hightone Records & Bug Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the casting of Freeman, and even to an extent Reeve, make up for faults in Street Smart
15 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jerry Schatzberg (Scarecrow, Panic in Needle Park) can be an attentive director to the mundane and the types of people in urban environments left by the wayside, but he needs something of a really powerful script to work with. For some of its powerful and intriguing and sometimes oddly funny scenes, Street Smart doesn't have a great script. It is mostly conventional, in fact, tailored for Christopher Reeve's pet project (apparently he got to star in this thanks, and/or no thanks, to Superman 4), and it is also tailored for what Reeve can do as a somewhat limited actor. He's a great star in the sense of his presence and charm on camera, but can only be taken so far as to how he can work with other actors, or what he has to work with which is usually not very much. Thankfully, there's one actor that shoots to the moon and outshines everybody by a mile, particularly for this kind of project.

(Reeve's) character Jonathan in Street Smart is a journalist who's down on his luck with stories until he comes up with a sure-fire bet to spring him back: the day in the life of a pimp for New York magazine (yes, New York has done and still does these kind of profiles). At first, he just makes it up with a person named 'Tyrone'. But it turns out his story, which includes details of a murder, fits relatively (or a lot) with Fast Black (Morgan Freeman), a take-no-prisoners thug in the guise of a man of the streets who is a force of evil, but a devilishly charming one at that, turning on a dime from street-savvy pimp to ruthless abuser and, as it turns out, killer. Jonathan thinks it'll be alright despite what was or wasn't in the written piece, and meets with and follows along Fast Black for a day. It soon starts to go further down from here.

Schatzberg does best in capturing this now (thankfully) wiped-away street life and porno district along Times Square and in other parts of New York, going along at times casually- too casually perhaps- in getting this mood down. He also neglects certain things in the story, like the importance of Jonathan's own flaws and fooling around with a prostitute, and some details about him as a TV news reporter. And yet, even with faults in the writing, Schatzberg got one thing incredibly right: casting Freeman as Fast Black. This is a part that could have been played up, maybe even as an exploitation flick, but Freeman takes hold of it and creates his breakthrough film performance (it was shortly after this he got Lean on Me and Driving Miss Daisy). It would be one thing if he hammed it up, but somehow he doesn't; his Fast Black is a lucid, hot-headed, vicious but somehow human villain in Street Smart, and he ends up bringing out the best in Reeve and Kathy Baker and his other co-stars like his prostitutes, including one terrifying scene where one asks to quit.

Years from now, when Freeman likely will get some AFI tribute or something or lifetime achievement on TV, Street Smart might be neglected among his most famous parts but shouldn't be. It's a case of an actor raising material, which is neither spectacular or mediocre but just about alright 80s material, higher than it deserves to be, which is both a credit to him and to Schatzberg for reeling him along just right.


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