Based upon the true story of Bruce Johnston Sr., his son, and his brothers; together, they constituted one of suburban Philadelphia's most notorious crime families during the 1970s. Their criminal activities ranged from burglary, theft... and ultimately, murder.Written by
One of Sean Penn's passion projects in the 80s. See more »
After Brad Jr. fires off several rounds around his father, he shoves the end of the handgun's barrel right into his father's face. The heat from the rounds that were just fired seconds before should have been enough to burn his father's face, yet Brad Sr. doesn't flinch, and when Brad. Jr. pulls the gun back from his father's face, there is no evidence of a burn. See more »
[to Brad, Jr]
You remind me of a guy I knew in high school - only he was a real doofus.
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I saw this movie when it first came out, and it's remained one of the most memorable films I have seen since. Sean Penn & Christopher Walken especially produce very powerful, realistic performances. Walken's evil father is a spot-on echo of a relative of mine - right down to the mustache & body language. <shudder> Sometimes, though, Walken's low-class accent is so thick I couldn't make out just what he's saying.
The dialogue is just subtle enough to feel realistic. Although the movie moves along at a slow, deliberate pace, the plot still feels nice & tight. And the cinematography is stylish. An instrumental version of the song Live to Tell, that Madonna turned into a hit, is actually used as the main theme running under almost every scene. It's not often that a pop song associated with a film is actually used in the film itself - usually it's just tacked on at the closing credits. But it was used to great atmospheric effect here.
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