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
David Strathairn also play the role of the Police/Fed informant that "Big Brad" Christopher Walken was getting info from at the Cock fights. 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 »
The UK cinema version was cut by 1 min 1 sec by the BBFC to remove scenes of a cockfight. The 1986 Rank video version was pre-edited by the distributors to remove most of the scene beforehand and subsequently the cuts were reduced to 14 secs. However MGM submitted the original cinema print for the 2003 DVD release and thus 49 secs were cut from the same scene. See more »
This movie is about criminals, but it is a more realistic portrayal than many of the more famous movies in which the action and characters are comically drawn (such as spaghetti crime movies), and the events, although never fully explained, have a ring of logic about them, and don't lose the viewer (such as the Godfather movies do). Walken portrays a very vicious criminal with a true criminal mind. Penn plays his son, who tries crime out for a living, and brings some of his friends into the business with him. Like all modern gangster movies, what they actually do is never explained, but the explanation of each person's part is better understood by the viewer than most movies of this genre. Walken is much like the criminal who really exists in our country. He can come across as fairly glib, but never hesitates to commit senseless acts of horror. He gives the excuse early on that he has some reason. The first real horrible act is murdering a man he claims is a snitch. But after a while, it is evident he just concocts these reasons to perform murders. As in real life, the criminals always find easy prey and then call such prey "snitches", in order to rationalize their actions. In real life, the real snitches are left alone and are feared by criminals, because a snitch is just someone who refuses to knuckle under. Meanwhile, the Walken character wipes out those most faithful to him. The most realistic movie of this genre in the last thirty years.
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