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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.

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6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Vinny
... Richie
... Dionna
... Ruby
... Joey T
... Woodstock
... Bobby Del Fiore
Al Palagonia ... Anthony
... Brian
... Gloria
... Helen
... Eddie
... Detective Lou Petrocelli
... Detective Curt Atwater
... 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:

No one is safe from son of sam 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,991,450, 4 July 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,283,782, 12 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "I am the monster" letters read in the film are word-for-word recreations of those that the real Son of Sam wrote to Jimmy Breslin. See more »

Goofs

When Berkowitz is shown shooting the second pair, he fires his weapon eight times. The Charter Arms .44 Special "Bulldog" holds only five rounds. See more »

Quotes

Vinny: [crying] And I've made some bad calls, and I'm a bad fuckin' husband. And I admit it. And I know you can't get away with shit in life anymore. You know, God sees everything, plain and simple... and I just want you to give me another chance.
Dionna: No.
Vinny: Please, baby. Give me another chance. I can't live without you- please.
Dionna: [crying] You can't bring God into this. You can't do that anymore...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Boogie Nights
(1975)
Written by Rod Temperton
Performed by Heatwave
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sam-Enchanted Evenings
16 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

Summer of Sam was berated on its US release by New Yorkers and relatives of the victims of serial killer David Berkowitz alike. In the summer of 1977, paranoia eclipsed disco fever as the so-called .44 Killer murdered six and injured seven, all while keeping in contact with columnist Jimmy Breslin (whose comments bookend this movie). Not the kind of events to revisit in these days of the easily offended, and seeing Lee's claustrophobic take on Berkowitz in his deranged apartment is almost enough deter you from visiting the Big Apple.

The focus of the movie is an insular community of Italian-Americans. Mistrust rules the roost: the only thing close-knit about them is an occasional cheesy tank-top. Fear and conformity underpin the set-pieces upon which Lee thrives, from cops meeting a Mafia chief (Ben Gazarra) to a half-hearted Studio 54-style orgy. John Leguizamo thrives when passing himself off as John Travolta, but his marriage is a hollow sham. His quest for redemption hinges on saving punk friend Ritchie (Adrien Brody) from both himself and the lynchmob they grew up with.

Summer of Sam has invited comparisons with Do the Right Thing, on account of its portrayal of the simmering tensions building up to horrendous violence. Yet the lifestyles on show throughout make it closer to Scorsese's Mean Streets, albeit balanced by several strong female leads, notably Mira Sorvino. At 142 minutes it has stretched the attention span of some viewers and reviewers, but as the closing credits roll Lee has got us to care about the characters as each boils over. Ditching the irksome music video/sitcom visuals - even at a Late-term Abortions gig, with Ritchie on guitar - this is Spike Lee's most mature joint to date.

Graham Barnfield


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