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Mean Streets (Special Edition) [DVD]

66 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Amy Robinson, David Proval, Richard Romanus
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Jonathan T. Taplin
  • Format: PAL
  • 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
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: UCA
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Feb. 2009
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007N1B7Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,995 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Four Italian-Americans from New York's lower East Side hang around at a local bar. Charlie (Harvey Keitel), the most responsible of the group, tries to protect his girlfriend's cousin Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) from the local debt collectors, but his young charge seems determined to live fast and die young. Heavily influenced by the French New Wave, 'Mean Streets' provided the first high-profile success for director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro.

From Amazon.co.uk

After Martin Scorsese went to Hollywood in 1972 to direct the low-budget Boxcar Bertha for B-movie mogul Roger Corman, the young director showed the film to maverick director John Cassavetes and got an instant earful of urgent advice. "It's crap," said Cassavetes in no uncertain terms, "now go out and make something that comes from your heart." Scorsese took the advice and focused his energy on Mean Streets, a riveting contemporary film about low-life gangsters in New York's Little Italy that critic Pauline Kael would later call "a true original, and a triumph of personal filmmaking." Starring Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel in roles that announced their talent to the world, it set the stage for Scorsese's emergence as one of the greatest American filmmakers. Introducing themes and character types that Scorsese would return to in Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Casino, and other films, the loosely structured story is drawn directly from Scorsese's background in the Italian neighbourhoods of New York, and it seethes with the raw vitality of a filmmaker who has found his creative groove. As the irresponsible and reckless Johnny Boy, De Niro offers striking contrast to Keitel's Charlie, who struggles to reconcile gang life with Catholic guilt. More of an episodic portrait than a plot-driven crime story, Mean Streets remains one of Scorsese's most direct and fascinating films--a masterful calling card for a director whose greatness was clearly apparent from that point forward. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 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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57 of 63 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD
Mean Streets is directed by Martin Scorsese who also co-writes the screenplay with Mardik Martin. It stars Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus and Cesare Danova. Plot finds Keitel as Charlie, a young Italian-American crook trying to work his way up the New York Mafia scene. But his way is blocked by Catholic guilt and his obligation to take care of loose cannon pal Jonny Boy (De Niro), who is in debt to hoods and doesn't seem to care.

A film of significant firsts. It would begin the Scorsese/De Niro relationship that served cinema so well and it laid the foundation for Scorsese's hoodlum filmic empire. Viewing Mean Streets now is an odd experience, for although there are some great things to sample, the piece undeniably seminal in the history of American cinema, it also plays as a pretty straight forward film. There are no surprises in store, the trajectory of characterisations runs true and goes exactly where you expect it too. Had I personally watched it upon release in 1973 I'm sure I would have been a bit more awed, but it very much feels over-rated now, with some critical appraisals of it appearing to pump it up more because of its importance than for any narrative quality.

As Scorsese goes for gritty realism, the story at the core lacks vibrancy. It's only when De Niro (jumping-bean) as borderline nutter Jonny Boy is doing his nutter Jonny Boy thing, does the picture actually perk up. The roll call of characters aren't engaging since they aren't fleshed out, the girl characters are badly written and the key bar-room brawl is very unconvincing.
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