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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  13 October 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 21,530 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 86 user | 111 critic | 25 from

The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Diane (as Julia Garro)
Young Nerf (as Peter Tambakis)
Anthony Tirado ...
Erick Rosado ...
Steve Payne ...
Beach Chair Guy (as Steven Payne)


Dito, a writer in L.A., goes home to Astoria, Queens, after a 15-year absence when his mother calls to say his father's ill. In a series of flashbacks we see the young Dito, his parents, his four closest friends, and his girl Laurie, as each tries to navigate family, race, loyalty, sex, coming of age, violence, and wanting out. A ball falls onto the subway tracks at a station, small things get out of hand. Can Dito go home again? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

13 October 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tus santos y tus demonios  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$94,784 (USA) (29 September 2006)


$516,139 (USA) (17 November 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Dito (Shia LaBeouf) and Mike (Martin Compston) are talking about what music they should play, Mike says that they should sound like Black Flag or Major Conflict. Major Conflict is a NY hardcore band in which the director of the movie actually played when he was young. See more »


In a scene set in New York City during the early 1980s, a flyer alleging a conspiracy related to the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001 is taped to a lamp-post during a dolly shot. See more »


Guiseppe: [after walking in on Antonio and Jenny having sex] Hell yea - when can I get in on that shit?
Jenny: Fuck off, Guiseppe.
Guiseppe: All I'm sayin' is that if I was an ugly bitch and two hot dudes like us wanted to fuck me, I'd be into it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end of the credits, after the logo graveyard, there is a short bit with the real Monty. See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 21 October 2006 (2006) See more »


Brother Louie
Written by Errol Brown and Anthony Wilson
Performed by Stories
Courtesy of Buddah Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

One of my favs of the year
27 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First time director Dito Montiel's "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" is a harsh autobiographical look back at his youth on the mean streets of Astoria, Queens in the mid 1980's. From the film's opening moments, Montiel introduces us to an intimate world of family and friendship that totally blindsided me by its greatness. There are moments in "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints" that roll along with such force and emotion, that Montiel feels like a natural born filmmaker, infusing his personal heartache into strong characters breathing within a vivid time and place. Montiel's handling of edits, sound, and music are also powerful, such as a scene in Dito's kitchen between his father and group of friends that explodes into stark images and quick cuts to black. Montiel also handles the return home of Downey Jr. with care and vulnerability, searching for small answers that come in revelatory conversations with his mother (Dianne Weist) and grown up girlfriend Dianne (played by Rosario Dawson). And while such personal material can be hard to translate without lapsing into melancholy, Montiel finds a way to craft a clear eyed version of his life, allowing strong acting and electric film-making to take over the balance of the experience. I love finding unheralded gems such as this. The name of Robert Downey Jr. brought me to the theater and I discovered a true talent in Dito Montiel who has crafted one of the finest directing debuts in several years

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
God DAMN. banditaxis06
Best Performance In This Film fallinep
A 1986 movie placed in the 1970's was distracting? esboat1
WOW has everyone lost their mind?!?!?! capitalgreen99
I grew up in astoria and know about these guys!!!!! gravy31104
What was 'so moving' about this film? nazogrande

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