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Summer of Sam (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  2 July 1999 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 30,069 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 352 user | 85 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

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 South Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

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Title: Summer of Sam (1999)

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Cast

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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 South 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  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,991,450 (USA) (2 July 1999)

Gross:

£173,471 (UK) (14 January 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the movie, Vinny and the gang go to a disco called Virgo. There is actually no nightclub there, but the outside was painted to make it look so. The Virgo sign remains painted on the same building to this day. See more »

Goofs

Phil Rizzuto's name is spelled incorrectly in the end credits. His last name is RIZZUTO. In the end credits, it's spelled RIZUTO. See more »

Quotes

The Dog: Kill. Kill. Kill.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Episode #7.6 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Rain or Come Shine
(1946)
Music Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Mike Starr and The Terence Blanchard Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sam-Enchanted Evenings

Summer of Sam was berated on its US release by New Yorkers and relatives of the victims of serial killer David Berkowitz alike. In the summer of 1977, paranoia eclipsed disco fever as the so-called .44 Killer murdered six and injured seven, all while keeping in contact with columnist Jimmy Breslin (whose comments bookend this movie). Not the kind of events to revisit in these days of the easily offended, and seeing Lee's claustrophobic take on Berkowitz in his deranged apartment is almost enough deter you from visiting the Big Apple.

The focus of the movie is an insular community of Italian-Americans. Mistrust rules the roost: the only thing close-knit about them is an occasional cheesy tank-top. Fear and conformity underpin the set-pieces upon which Lee thrives, from cops meeting a Mafia chief (Ben Gazarra) to a half-hearted Studio 54-style orgy. John Leguizamo thrives when passing himself off as John Travolta, but his marriage is a hollow sham. His quest for redemption hinges on saving punk friend Ritchie (Adrien Brody) from both himself and the lynchmob they grew up with.

Summer of Sam has invited comparisons with Do the Right Thing, on account of its portrayal of the simmering tensions building up to horrendous violence. Yet the lifestyles on show throughout make it closer to Scorsese's Mean Streets, albeit balanced by several strong female leads, notably Mira Sorvino. At 142 minutes it has stretched the attention span of some viewers and reviewers, but as the closing credits roll Lee has got us to care about the characters as each boils over. Ditching the irksome music video/sitcom visuals - even at a Late-term Abortions gig, with Ritchie on guitar - this is Spike Lee's most mature joint to date.

Graham Barnfield


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