6.6/10
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356 user 85 critic

Summer of Sam (1999)

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

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6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Al Palagonia ...
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Helen
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Eddie
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Storyline

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The summer of '77 was a killer........ See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,991,450, 4 July 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,283,782, 12 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wall at the beach club which Vinny and the guys hang out at has an Italian flag painted on it. This flag was painted there by the filmmakers before shooting and remains there to this day. The community is actually more Irish/German than Italian. See more »

Goofs

The Son of Sam killer is shown wearing a camouflage field jacket which has on the left breast a black Velcro backing designed to hold a removable "Aircrew" style ID patch. This was exclusively issued to US Air Force personnel in the early to mid-'90s. See more »

Quotes

Arresting Officer: Now that I've got you, who've I got?
Son of Sam: [smiling] You know.
Arresting Officer: No, I don't. Why don't you tell me?
Son of Sam: [still smiling] I'm Sam. Dave Berkowitz.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are in the form of newspaper headlines. See more »

Connections

References Dracula (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance With Me
(1977)
Written by Peter H. Brown (as Peter Brown) and Robert Rans
Performed by Peter H. Brown (as Peter Brown)
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Co,
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Son of Sam story is an effective backdrop
19 July 1999 | by See all my reviews

I really enjoyed this movie. The Son of Sam killings are just a backdrop to a slice-of-life story in New York City in the summer of 1977. I believe that Spike Lee wanted to tell a story about the seventies - the excesses of sex, drugs and the desperation of the times. He chose a summer that stood out in the minds of the people who lived through it because of the record heat, the murders and the blackout. The Son of Sam killer was in one sense a strongly contrasting back drop and in another sense an extreme sign of the times. David Berkowitz was out of control and driven by invisible demons, but that could be said of the main character Vinnie. The difference between the two could almost be reduced to a matter of degree. I was struck by the part of the story where a group of friends thought the killer was one of their own because he was into punk rock and same-sex sex for money. Their misunderstanding of the killer seemed startling in light of what we know about serial killers today, but was dead on for the time. Spike Lee reminds us with this movie how much damage is done when we allow ourselves to be driven by our ignorance and fear. He makes us uncomfortable, of course, but the lesson rings so true. As far as the direction went, I thought that it was classic Spike Lee with a little taken from some other popular young directors, but if someone imitates something good and does it well, I don't complain. My favorite scene is where the punk rocker character Richie does a porno dance to The Who. The soundtrack is also pretty good, by the way. I gave the movie a 9 out of 10.


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