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Mean Streets


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Product details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Robert Carradine
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Colour
  • Language: Italian, English
  • Subtitles: Italian, English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Raro Video
  • Run Time: 110.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0069KJ330


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By S. Notarangelo on 8 Mar 2005
Format: DVD
'Mean Streets' is, in my opinion, one of Martin Scorsese's best, if not THE best, film he has made. It's the film that established him as a unique film director, and it's an absolute must-buy!
Scorsese's 'Mean Streets' was released in between the two Godfather epics in 1973, and although it shared with the Godfather a passion for Italian-American gangsters, 'Mean Streets' went a completely different way and focused on the everyday lives of gangsters when they mess about, get drunk, shoot some pool, etc. Harvey Keitel plays Charlie, a man who has dreams of moving up in the world; his uncle, a big player in the New York underworld, has plans for Charlie, but Charlie is prevented from rising due to his friendship with Johnny Boy, a 'bum' who gets Charlie into a lot of trouble. When Johnny Boy continues to avoid paying a large loan back to Charlie's friend Michael, things take a dramatic turn for the worse...
Everything about this movie is brilliant. The acting, especially Keitel and Robert De Niro as Johnny Boy, is amazing; it's unbelievable to think that the following year De Niro would win an Oscar for playing the young Vito Corleone, a character that is miles apart from the unstable Johnny Boy - his performance clearly shows what a talent De Niro is. Critics have argued that the plot is too weak and thin, yet I believe it's exactly the opposite: the film is rich in detail (a Scorsese trademark), and the movie addresses Charlie's Catholic guilt - he wants to move up in the underworld, but he fears he will be punished in hell if he does not look after the crazy Johnny Boy. Charlie is torn between the Church, Johnny Boy, and his uncle - you can see why 'Mean Streets' is anything BUT thin!
But the main attraction of the film is Scorsese's direction.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mystery Martian on 6 Sep 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Reasons why this is my favourite film (I've watched it around 30 times in 2 or 3 years):

* It's as authentic as Martin Scorsese ever gets. He lived this film and you get that from the first minute. He also wrote it, which is pretty unusual for a Scorsese film.

* The opening quote: "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is BS and you know it".

* The opening titles over 1970's family home videos. I love it, and the song too, 'Be my Baby'. Any time you hear that song after watching this film you see Charlie's head hit the pillow and the credits start up. The wall of sound music makes me well up, in a happy way. Note: Martin Scorsese appears (young and sporting a very '70's hairstyle) for a fraction of a second during these. You only see him if you spend five minutes looking for it by using the the pause or slow button on your remote control!

* The end scene (CAR CHASE! YES!). I'm not giving anything away here, but it was a scene that became an influence and source of admiration for many directors for a reason. Unforgettable.

* There's not a speck of filler in this film, even during the laid back moments in bars. It's lean and mean.

* It's also hilarious. People often miss the fact that Scorsese films are rich in humour and often very quotable (e.g. "Mook? I'm a mook? What's a mook? I'll give you mook!" *thump* N.B. A mook is a kind of bigmouth, all talk and no substance).

* The semi-docudrama look. I often prefer this style to high-budget gloss.

* The fact that it's not only a realistic portrayal of gangster life (supposedly, I wouldn't know) but a rich and deeply felt portrayal of a community.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 31 Jan 2008
Format: DVD
Orson Welles said that a director's first film was always his best because he would put more into it and hadn't got into bad habits like developing a style yet. Mean Streets may not be Scorsese's first film, but it otherwise bears out Welles' words. Set in New York's Little Italy, Harvey Keitel plays Michael, who exists on the fringes of crime and whose dreams of managing a restaurant his money-lending uncle is about to take over are threatened by his affair with his epileptic cousin (Amy Robinson) and his terminally unreliable childhood friend Johnny Boy's pressing debts.

As with Goodfellas, it is plot-lite and style heavy, but where in the latter the style dominated, here it has a rough-cut and ready-dubbed feel that energises the film and accurately reflects the precarious state of the characters, be it financial, mental or moral. All the trademarks are here - the tracking shots down bars, the sudden explosions of violence, a popular music soundtrack that exists as much within the film as over it, the concern with incompatibility of religion with everyday life - but here they are fresh and integral to the film rather than carefully stage-managed.

If De Niro's unstable Johnny Boy now looks a bit too much like barnstorming with many of the tricks he has since pretty much worn out through over-use, Keitel's diplomatic lead and the astonishingly natural performances from the supporting cast are the real glue that holds the film together and convince us we are eavesdropping on real lives.

Filled with astonishing moments Mean Streets remains one of the few key American films of the early Seventies that still grabs your undivided attention with none of its original power diluted by time and imitation.
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