Mean Streets (1973)

Mean Streets (1973)
  • Time: 112 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Cast: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval


The future is set for Tony and Michael – owning a neighbour- hood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city’s Little Italy. For Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle, making collections and reclaiming bad debts. He’s probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman his uncle disapproves of (because of her epilepsy) and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a near psychotic whose trouble-making threatens them all – he can’t reconcile opposing values. A failed attempt to escape (to Brooklyn) moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost preordained future.

One comment

  • The film is characterised by Scorsese’s intense style with lots of energy and emotion which makes it a joy to watch. The film at the time was completely original in terms of this energetic style of camera work, passionate acting and also the style of narrative is not often told as well. All this contribute to a stunningly original social-realist film. Characters are capable of spontaneously fighting at any time.

    The concept is another reason why it is such a successful film, as the overall idea with the protagonist Charlie is that he is the equivalent of a St. in his world but on the Mean Streets he is transformed by his sinful surroundings and engulfed by this culture as he battles to protect his out of control fellow gang member Johnny Boy and trying to survive as a small time hood in the hostile world.

    This was Scorsese’s first great film and began arguably the most successful collaboration in film between Him and De Niro who gave a stunning performance of a character who is nearly the exactly opposite of Charlie as he is completely out of control and the guilt-ridden performance add to a pioneering which I would advise to watch at least twice before completely judging it.

    It can be considered as a great film and in my opinion ranks as a must see film as it has been preserved by the AFI as culturally and historically significant. Well worth a watch by any movie fan and certainly Martin Scorsese fans should watch this gritty stunner that has inspired many films and “La Haine” was largely inspired by this dramatic classic.

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