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Summer of Sam (1999)

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Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Spike Lee, Victor Colicchio (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Leguizamo ... Vinny
Adrien Brody ... Richie
Mira Sorvino ... Dionna
Jennifer Esposito ... Ruby
Michael Rispoli ... Joey T
Saverio Guerra ... Woodstock
Brian Tarantina ... Bobby Del Fiore
Al Palagonia Al Palagonia ... Anthony
Ken Garito ... Brian
Bebe Neuwirth ... Gloria
Patti LuPone ... Helen
Mike Starr ... Eddie
Anthony LaPaglia ... Detective Lou Petrocelli
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Detective Curt Atwater
Ben Gazzara ... Luigi
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Storyline

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It Was A Time They'd Never Forget See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,952,452, 4 July 1999

Gross USA:

$19,288,130

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,288,130
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Spike Lee was facing a lot of negative feedback from the family members of the victims who didn't want a film being made which might glorify the killer in some sorts. As a result, the script had to be changed which focused more on the community than the killer himself. "Son of Sam" was rumored to be the original working title. See more »

Goofs

When Vinny is looking at the bodies in the car, he reaches his arm in and touches one. His arm is subsequently in/out of the car between shots. See more »

Quotes

Anthony: Yeah, they suck really good. Just like you, Ruby.
Ritchie: Come on. Relax.
Ruby: Yeah, I learned from your mother, dick.
Anthony: You gonna let your sister talk that way to me?
Brian: She's my half-sister.
Ritchie: Come on. Get lost.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are in the form of newspaper headlines. See more »

Alternate Versions

After they are refused entry into Studio 54, the sex scene between Dionna (Mira Sorvino) and Vinny (John Leguizamo) included more explicit shots in the original cut. This scene was edited a bit after the MPAA threatened the film with an "NC-17" rating. See more »

Connections

References Starsky and Hutch (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Summertime Blues
(1960) (uncredited)
Written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart
Performed by The Who
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
You can almost feel the heat and dirt on your clothes as if you were right there in hot New York City
3 August 2006 | by Flagrant-BaronessaSee all my reviews

With films like 'Inside Man' and the upcoming 'Selling Time', it appears as though Spike Lee is departing from his gritty streetwise films on racial prejudice, and into the pleasant commercial world of Hollywood. He stills touches upon the odd racial issue today, as is his trademark, but they seem more like mandatory inclusions than anything else, being left unexplored and unimportant. This is not saying Summer of Sam is a lecture on racism or anything (in fact, it steers away from the topic), but it fits the gritty crime-infested streets style that Lee used to do so well.

Summer of Sam brutally zooms in on an Italian-American South Bronx neighbourhood in the summer of 1977 -- the hottest summer ever, a real killer. Lee does not shy away from sex, drugs, raunchy dialogue or violence in his portrayal of the events which are based on reality of the summer nights when Sam murdered women on the streets. As the Bronx inhabitants grow anxious and suspicious of the murders, Summer of Sam focuses its story on Vinny (John Lequizamo), his marriage with Dionna (Mira Sorvino) and his friends and we see how the killings affect their lives, while plating the "Son of Sam" himself in the backseat to make room for these dynamic characters.

I can admit that there is no strong point or focus in this film, but I don't think it's entirely necessary. It's a portrayal, and a realistic one at that -- it is also a portrayal of an era, the 1970s and this is most apparent in the flashy 54-styled nightclubs that Vinny and Dionna go to. It occasionally drags on, but this is good because it emphasizes the terrible heat and anxiousness of the city, making it almost nightmarish. It is so realistic that you can almost feel the heat and dirt on your clothes as if you were right there in steaming hot New York City. I therefore feel that a great deal of praise is due to a film that succeeds in being haunting without actually dealing with the murders head-on.

8/10


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