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Mean Streets (1973)

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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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2,709 ( 134)
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 Amy Robinson ... Teresa
Richard Romanus ... Michael
Cesare Danova ... Giovanni
Victor Argo ... Mario
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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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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,132,645
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Cassavetes told Martin Scorsese after he had completed Boxcar Bertha (1972), "you've just spent a year of your life making a piece of shit." This inspired Scorsese to make a film about his own experiences. Cassavetes told Scorsese that he should do something like I Call First (1967), which Cassavetes had liked, and then came this film, which was based on actual events that Scorsese had seen while growing up in New York City's Little Italy. See more »

Goofs

Tony is driving with a bandaged right little finger, then the bandage is gone and it reappears again. See more »

Quotes

Charlie: Don't be smart, Johnny.
Johnny Boy: What do you mean? I ain't smart. I'm stupid. Remember? I'm so stupid you gotta look out for me. Right? Right?
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Soundtracks

Be My Baby
Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich (uncredited) and Phil Spector (uncredited)
Performed by The Ronettes
Courtesy of PHILLES Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This movie is not just a good movie - It also is the movie which helped form the foundation of Martin Scorsese's later pictures.
21 October 2005 | by Malte006See all my reviews

Mean Streets

  • "I f*uck you right where you breathe"


Directed by Martin Scorsese (1973)

Mean Streets came out in 1973 after Scorsese almost had the script under development in a decade. This is one of his first personal movies, describing the raw environment in the streets of Little Italy in NYC. We follow Charlie in the leading role and the bunch of guys around him. The hustler Johnny Boy owes a lot of money to the loan shark Tony and doesn't make his payments to him. Charlie now tries to work out a deal with Tony and is trying to get Johnny Boy to pull himself together, even though this looks like an impossible mission.

Scorsese's first motion picture Who's That Knocking at My Door and Mean Streets have many resemblances and contain the typical trademarks that Scorsese is now well known for. He almost always makes a character study of the life of lonely men, who are trying to get the best out of their situation in the asphalt jungle. Hustling, working, drinking, taking drugs etc. are very typical things to do for the persons appearing in his movies.

Mean Streets is photographed mostly with a hand hold camera, which helps create a raw look that fits pretty good to this environment. Also the movie doesn't contain an actual score. Actually songs from the director's personal music collection do work as the background music. The plot is this picture is only secondary. This is like many of Scorsese's other movie primarily a character driven story with a raw environment description.

The movie marks the start of one of the greatest director/actor collaborations ever! The role of Johnny Boy was Robert De Niro's role in a Scorsese picture, and later on he went to bigger leading roles under the director, which gave them both the reputation that they have today. Also this is Harvey Keitel's second leading role in a Scorsese picture, but after this movie Keitel and De Niro kind switched roles (see Taxi Driver).

This movie is not just a good movie - It also is the movie which helped form the foundation of Martin Scorsese's later pictures.

8/10


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