Siege is a fine example of the often high quality movies that were made for television in the seventies, many of which tackled serious issues avoided in bigger films or else dealt with them in a more intimate way. The story concerns elderly people living in New York terrorized by street gangs, drug dealers and other such unsavory characters, and lacking the funds to move to the suburbs, trapped in a web of fear from which there seems to be no escape. Filmed on location, and featuring an excellent cast headed by sturdy Martin Balsam and wistful Sylvia Sidney, this one plays out like a kind of naturalistic morality play. Though the story is melodramatic, the movie isn't. At times it's heartbreaking. Connie Bromberg's script pulls no punches when it comes to how the real world actually works (cruelly, unfairly) rather than how it ought to work. In the end Balsam's character finally swings into action, which brings if not a catharsis at least a feeling of (probably temporary) relief. The film is very much a product of its time, when inner city neighborhoods were changing, racially and culturally, and often very painfully, as we see some of the last vestiges of a certain kind of Old World, immigrant culture, once so prominent in many American cities, almost literally vanish before our eyes,--but not without a fight.
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