6.6/10
31,387
354 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.

Director:

Writers:

, (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Clockers (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo
Bamboozled (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A frustrated African-American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes
Crooklyn (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

From Spike Lee comes this vibrant semi-autobiographical portrait of a school-teacher, her stubborn jazz-musician husband and their five kids living in '70s Brooklyn.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly
Jungle Fever (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Friends and family of a married black architect react in different ways to his affair with an Italian secretary.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Andre Braugher
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee
School Daze (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A not so popular young man wants to pledge to a popular fraternity at his historically black college.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell-Martin
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Story of a woman and her three lovers.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell
He Got Game (1998)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Milla Jovovich, Ray Allen
Malcolm X (1992)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo
Girl 6 (1996)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work ... See full summary »

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Theresa Randle, Isaiah Washington, Spike Lee
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

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:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Spike Lee: a news reporter. See more »

Goofs

When Vinny is looking at the bodies in the car, he reaches his arm in and touches one. His arm is subsequently in/out of the car between shots. See more »

Quotes

Vinny: And now I'm just cheatin' a lot more than I ever did. But I thought- you know, I thought the man up there understood. I thought he under- would fuckin' understand...
Ritchie: God has nothing to do with this, Vin!
Vinny: Yes, he does. Yes, he does.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Baba O'Riley
(1971)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by The Who
Courtesy of MCA Records and Polydor Limited
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Great movie!
14 August 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I know I may be one of the three people to say this (Roger Ebert being another of the few), but I think "Summer of Sam" is a great movie! First off, I'm a Spike Lee fan and I do feel that this is one of his best films. I think the problem most people had with the movie was that it wasn't the standard serial killer thriller they were expecting. If that's what you're expecting, you will be disappointed. Instead, "S.O.S." is a character study that focuses on the paranoia that spread amongst New Yorkers in the summer of the late seventies, when everyone was suspecting one another of being the Son of Sam. It was like a modern-day version of the Salem Witch Hunt. If you were as much as an eccentric, you were a suspect (like in the case of Adrien Brody's character in this movie). I like movies that focus on characters, and take time to develop them to a point where a feel a deep connection to each of them. Spike is one of those directors who favors character development over plot devices, and I think that's what makes most of his films work. The characters and dialogue are written in a very realistic fashion. It helps that Spike cast mostly authentic New York actors (i.e.: Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, Mike Starr, Michael Rispoli). First of all, they don't have to fake their accents. Secondly, New Yorkers just have a certain vibe that cannot be fabricated. It also helps that the actors all have a great chemistry with one another. The cast is excellent all-around, with not one bad apple in the bunch. I think John Leguizamo gives the best performance of his career. For a comedic actor, he can surely pull off a straight role with flying colors. Part of the reason why is because he doesn't try too hard to play the drama, and when there's a scene that gives him a comic opportunity, he takes advantage. It's nice to see that Brody became famous, after winning an Oscar for "The Pianist" (as a side note, he's the youngest ever actor to win a Best Actor Oscar). If you're anxious to check out one of his good earlier performances, he does a superb job in this movie. Some people have criticized the use of F-bombs throughout the film--and yes, there are many. If you're easily offended by bad language, this will be like sitting through a death camp. But I didn't feel the language was in any way gratuitous. We're dealing with working-class Italian-Americans from the Bronx, who are involved in things like drugs and prostitution! Obviously, they're not going to be saying things like "gosh darn it!" This is not like "South Park" where there's just profanity for the sake of profanity. It adds to the film's realism. Finally, I loved the film's lighting style. Some of the shots are rough and grainy, but it helps intensify the gritty tone of the film. If you're one of those people who likes slow-moving character studies with great acting, you might share my feelings about "Summer of Sam." Obviously, if you're part of the summer blockbuster crowd who favors explosions and gross-out gags, this will put you to sleep. The movie runs at approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, yet I never once felt bored. I'm not one of those people with a minute attention span, but any movie that can sustain my interest for 2 hours and 20 minutes deserves much acclaim. I have nothing wrong with long movies, as long as they're not overlong. After all, bad movies are never too short and good movies are never too long. When a movie is this great, you don't want it to end abruptly; you want it to keep going. (10 out of 10)

P.S.: The seventies soundtrack is magnificent!


44 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
So Bad, Don't Waste Your Time bucket1066
Really Bad... MrImportant
TALKING DOG ndiezel
Any other movies that depict this NYC era? Lisafliny
Pissed off still mrjinx-41386
One of my favorite movies! MovieMinx67
Discuss Summer of Sam (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page