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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.



, (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Palagonia ...


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


No one is safe from son of sam 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:






Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam  »

Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$19,283,782 (USA) (10 September 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Joey and Brian go to CBGB to search for Richie, there is a band playing called "L.E.S Stitches". They are an actual punk band started in the early 90's in NYC. See more »


When the guys come to get Vinny to help them with Richie, Vinny picks up the phone to call the police. When the phone is ripped off the wall, you can see that there is no phone line or place to plug in the phone on the wall. See more »


Ritchie: You know that song "Baba O'Riley"?
Ruby: Uh huh.
Ritchie: That's my favorite song. You know who wrote that?
Ruby: Englebert Humperdinck?
Ritchie: [long pause] Mm-mm.
Ruby: What? You don't think I know? Come on, I know. Pete Townsend.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Naked City (1958) See more »


Fooled Around and Fell in Love
Written by Elvin Bishop
Performed by Elvin Bishop
Courtesy of Polydor Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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Any other movies that depict this NYC era? Lisafliny
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