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Mean Streets (1973)

Trailer
2:59 | Trailer
A small-time hood aspires to work his way up the ranks of a local mob.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Martin Scorsese (screenplay), Mardik Martin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,980 ( 519)
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Johnny Boy
Harvey Keitel ... Charlie
David Proval ... Tony
Amy Robinson ... Teresa
Richard Romanus ... Michael
Cesare Danova ... Giovanni
Victor Argo ... Mario (as Vic Argo) (as Victor Argo)
George Memmoli ... Joey
Lenny Scaletta Lenny Scaletta ... Jimmy
Jeannie Bell ... Diane
Murray Moston Murray Moston ... Oscar (as Murray Mosten)
David Carradine ... Drunk
Robert Carradine ... Boy With Gun
Lois Walden Lois Walden ... Jewish Girl
Harry Northup ... Soldier
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Storyline

The future is set for Tony and Michael - owning a neighbourhood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city's Little Italy. For Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle, making collections and reclaiming bad debts. He's probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman his uncle disapproves of (because of her epilepsy) and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a near psychotic whose trouble-making threatens them all - he can't reconcile opposing values. A failed attempt to escape (to Brooklyn) moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost preordained future. Written by Dave Cook <cookd@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Welcome...but don't break the rules! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie and The Godfather: Part II (1974) feature scenes of Robert De Niro running over the rooftops of Little Italy during the annual Feast of San Gennaro festival. See more »

Goofs

As an inflicted Charlie gets loaded into an ambulance at the end of the film, the camera's shadow is visible on his legs at the bottom of the screen. See more »

Quotes

Charlie: Look... I'll give ya $20 to hold ya for now.
Michael Longo: What, are ya kidding? $20 doesn't pay the interest for 2 hours. Now, with a vig, it's almost $3000.
Charlie: $3000? Shit, you charge a guy from the neighborhood $1800 vig? One day he's late with his payments.
Michael Longo: Whatta ya think I am, his father?
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 10 minutes from this film for its 1977 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi Brooklyn: Cherchez les Femmes (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Canta Per' Me
By Giuseppe Di Stefano (as Guiseppe de Stefano)
Courtesy of DECCA Records
See more »

User Reviews

Rough and ready by comparison with later work but still engaging, stylish, energetic and roundly well delivered
25 May 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Charlie may be small time but the authority and standing of his Uncle Giovanni in the community of Little Italy offers him the chance to become more than just a local hustler. One of the things he should be careful of is the company he keeps and who he stands with. Unfortunately Charlie is very protective of his cousin Johnny Boy, who seems determined to borrow as much money as possible, gamble it away and not pay it back and also in a relationship with Johnny's relation Teresa. While the fun and energy of the street life continues, dark consequences of all these things threaten Charlie and those around him.

It has been years since I saw this film and I noticed that I had last watched it before I started reviewing. As a result I watched it again yesterday to refresh my memory. Seeing it with older eyes is an impressive experience because I appreciate what Scorsese has gone on to do and found it fascinating to look back on this, one of his earliest films. The plot is a mash of characters and events that come together to create a sense of place that is convincingly done; the overall narrative focuses on Charlie, in particular where his relationships are taking him but this aspect ebbs and flows with the events. It is funny, violent, personal and engaging, only a few aspects come over as weak. The script flows like real dialogue, producing the different moods of each scene and also being memorable and rough.

The style and direction of the film are impressive and it is interesting to see the influence Scorsese had with this and his other films. The techniques employed here will ring bells with anyone who watches modern cinema and television with more than a passing interest, Sopranos in particular owes him a debt. Here we have the slow-motions, chest-mounted camera (I'm sure there is a proper name for it), impressive use of music and so on that we have come to be used to with Scorsese and one cannot help be impressed by how well developed these ideas were at an early stage in his career. Of course along with stylistic constants, several of the cast would become regulars. Keitel is the heart of the film for me and, although his opportunities in the script are surprisingly limited, I felt he did well with the themes handed to him. De Niro of course catches the eye more because of what was to come but also because he has the more energetic character. Robinson didn't make much of an impression on me but the support cast features early turns from faces such as Proval, Romanus, Argo and others.

Mean Streets might be a bit rough and ready when placed next to the polished films that Scorsese would go on to do but it does not take away from its strengths to look back at it. So much of Scorsese's style and calling cards are in place even at this early stage and his film convincingly creates the streets and characters of the place. The main players involved have done better films since this one but it is still strong, stylish and interesting and definitely worth a look for anyone who has since any other Scorsese films.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

14 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Season of the Witch See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,645, 15 March 1998

Gross USA:

$32,645

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$41,131
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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