362 user 92 critic

Summer of Sam (1999)

1:46 | Clip
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.


Spike Lee


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





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


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


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 »

Did You Know?


When Joey and Brian go to CBGB to search for Richie, there is a band playing called "L.E.S Stitches". They are an actual punk band started in the early 90's in NYC. See more »


In one scene of dealing you can see a box of Marlboro lights. Also, the Marlboros include coupons for the "Marlboro Miles" program first introduced in the 1990s. See more »


Ritchie: [English accent] It's all in the at-titude.
Ruby: [mimicking] In the at-tit-ude...
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 »


Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #3.7 (2004) See more »


Everybody Dance
Written by Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers (as Nile Gregory Rodgers)
Performed by Chic
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

User Reviews

pointless and long
12 August 2001 | by jbelkin800See all my reviews

Not sure what Spike was trying to say - that Son of Sam was a product of the craziness of NY and the heat of 1977?

While movies don't have to have endearing characters, you have to relate to them on some level to empathize with them. So that even if the circumstances of their lives or are not ours but we have find a connection on some level to be interested in them - in this movie, there are no such characters.

Some of them we are just tired of them because this movie is so long and enough already. The scary thing is we can relate to Son of Sam's breakdown more than any of the characters because we are starting to wonder if this dreary mess is ever going to end. Each character is unpleasant because they lead small, petty lives and are just whiners - we get it - let's move on Spike. Not interesting. And any characters we care about just dissolve into a pornographic and sleazy means.

Spike was a great director for exactly two movies - Spike, what happened? - he starts the movie by placing his characters in front of a sign that reads Dead End - as if that's not bad enough, in case we didn't get the pan on it or the lingering closeup, he cuts back to that sign about 50 times. In a local community college film class, you'd be derided as a rank amateur - let along a big budget movie.

Spike also appears in the film as a TV announcer - we know Spike can act - he choose not to act for his role - why? Who knows?

This movie is pointless, tiresome and dreary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | Italian

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam See more »


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,952,452, 4 July 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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