8.2/10
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37 user 12 critic

Streetwise (1984)

Trailer
2:43 | Trailer
Gritty documentary that looks at the lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle.

Director:

Martin Bell

Writer:

Cheryl McCall (story "Streets of the Lost")
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Roberta Joseph Hayes Roberta Joseph Hayes ... Self
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Baby Gramps Baby Gramps ... Self
Erin Blackwell ... Self (as Tiny)
Lou Ellen Couch Lou Ellen Couch ... Self (as Lulu)
Kim Kim ... Self
Lillie Lillie ... Self
Munchkin Munchkin ... Self
Patti Patti ... Self
Dewayne Pomeroy Dewayne Pomeroy ... Self
Rat Rat ... Self
Shadow Shadow ... Self
Shellie Shellie ... Self
Brandia Taamu Brandia Taamu ... Breezy
Tom Waits ... Self
Learn more

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Storyline

Portrays the lives of nine desperate teenagers. Thrown too young into a seedy grown up world, these runaways and castaways survive, but just barely. Rat, the dumpster diver. Tiny, the teen prostitute. Shellie, the baby-faced blonde. DeWayne, the hustler. All old beyond their years. All underage survivors fighting for life and love on the streets of downtown Seattle. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At 13, there's not much Lillie hasn't seen. Except love. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997. See more »

Quotes

Rat: [to Erin in jail] You can take the 'ho off the street, but you can't take the street off the 'ho.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Teddy Bear's Picnic
Music by John W. Bratton
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by Baby Gramps
See more »

User Reviews

 
The city of the lost children. (spoilers)
24 March 2006 | by vertigo_14See all my reviews

Streetwise is a documentary that follows several runaway youth in the 1980s living on the streets of Seattle. Most are no older than 16, but already have made careers for themselves as pimps and prostitutes, thieves and muggers, panhandlers and dumpster divers, and doing what they can to survive.

In a 2006 edition of the New Yorker, a critic suggested that these kids are kind of led by a sense of street freedom, but as another viewer commented, it is likely that a lot of these people, even Rat, were probably miserable, despite the best attempts to hide it or convince themselves otherwise (This was made clear by Rat's opening remark about the things he hated about flying--"coming back to the f***in' earth.") Clearly, Dewayne was, as he committed suicide at the age of 16. The sad thing is that these were kids of children themselves. Not in the sense that they were born to teenagers (which may actually be the case), but that many of their parents had not yet matured beyond their own selfishness to care for these kids as they needed to be (Tiny's mother rationalized her daughter's prostitution as a "phase"). Some of the young girls, 14 and hooking, tell us about their abusive fathers and stepfathers that, despite miserable marriages, their mothers still stuck by them irregardless of the negative consequences to their own children. Rat tells about this too, where he was tired of being between his helpless, divorced parents feuding. Or just parents who seemed capable of having kids, but not raising them. And since no one cared for them as children (most of them, I'm not sure what the background was on the young black man who was pimping the girls, the one who's mother and probably grandmother later show up and ask him to come home), they took the streets and became, as Tiny's mother says, 14 going on 21. They were the city of the lost children.

Some might criticize this movie as being unrealistic, and at least the things coming from Dewayne's dad when talking to his son sounds like something from a film, although the Sound Recordist for the film has assured in his own comments that this is not the case. That there was no script. It makes the events all the more heartbreaking. If the purpose of the film was to raise awareness of the life of young runaways, it makes it point and drives it home hard. It also drives home hard that the policies of Regeanomics (joked by Dewayne later in the film) were hurting those lowest on the income scales (and consequently, moving many into the street). And it makes me wonder what the numbers of runaways and street kids are these days. Washington, DC (where I live now) has a large homeless population relative to the size of the district, but I never see any young panhandlers or prostitutes and wonder, is the situation still the same? Are the institutions working more to get kids off the streets? What has become of the Streetwise now?


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Streetwise See more »

Filming Locations:

Washington, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,006, 21 July 2019

Gross USA:

$9,904

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,904
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bear Creek See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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