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Summer Of Sam [VHS] [2000]

John Leguizamo , Adrien Brody , Spike Lee    Suitable for 18 years and over   VHS Tape
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Actors: John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Michael Rispoli
  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Writers: Spike Lee, Michael Imperioli, Victor Colicchio
  • Producers: Spike Lee, Jeri Carroll-Colicchio, Jon Kilik, Michael Imperioli
  • Format: Dolby
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Pathe
  • VHS Release Date: 29 Jan 2001
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TLA2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,372 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

From Amazon.co.uk

It's important to note that Spike Lee's drama is not titled Son of Sam. Summer of Sam doesn't chronicle the killer as much as the times: the blistering hot summer of 1977 when the Big Apple's psyche was taken hostage by the lone gunman. We spot the killer (Michael Badalucco) in his mad ramblings but the film centres on two friends from the Bronx: Vinny and Ritchie (John Leguizamo and Adrien Brody). Vinny and his wife, Dionna (Mira Sorvino), bury a bad marriage (he cheats at a drop of a hat) in the disco halls of the area. Ritchie returns to the neighbourhood sporting punk hair, punk clothes and a British accent that immediately infuriates the neighbourhood boys oozing far too much testosterone. Cops, local mob leaders and the guys on the street all have ideas who the killer is: everyone from neighbourhood loners to Reggie Jackson (in the midst of World Series heroism) are on their misguided lists of suspects. When the film looks at how the citizens faced the fearful times, Lee scores with his energetic camerawork and pop soundtrack. Yet the film is banal in its domestic dramatics, taking large detours into Vinny's home sex life (stagnant) and Ritchie's extracurricular activities. One of the marriage arguments--though real and well acted--is so long and cliché-ridden you wonder if someone fell asleep in the editing booth. Add the point-blank killings and non-stop vulgarity and you have Lee's most unpleasant film. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

Spike Lee's serial killer thriller is set in the heady days of punk in late Seventies Manhattan. Vinny (John Leguizamo) is determined to live up to his reputation as the neighbourhood stud, despite the devoted love of his wife Dionna (Mira Sorvino). Ritchie (Adrien Brody), meanwhile, funds his attempts to make it in the music industry by moonlighting as a male stripper. When a serial killer starts picking out his victims in their area, the finger of suspicion falls on them all.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Hot Summer 13 Sep 2000
By A Customer
The murders of the serial killer 'Son of Sam' provide a backdrop for the main part of this film, essentially a story about two friends and their increasingly different lifestyles. There is a randy husband who despite having a beautiful wife can only find sexual release with other women. At the same time his friend becomes an outsider in the neighbourhood they have grown up in by liking british bands, the punk scene and not being afraid to participate freely as a dancer (amongst other things) in a gay bar. The story of these two and the people around them is gripping and simply intertwined with the serial killings taking place at the time in their town. The married man becomes increasingly desperate in his attempts to come to terms with himself whilst his friend, essentially an innocent, becomes a victim of predjudice, betrayed by those around him. Both men, you cannot help but feel, have their fates tied and trussed to the Son of Sam. The sex scenes have been exaggerated in the press of course and form an essential part to the development of the married couple. The seventies soundtrack is great and the acting is excellent throughout. I thought it was the most humane of all the Spike Lee films I'd seen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sweaty And Authentic 21 July 2009
As an evocation of New York in that summer just as disco began to sink and punk to rise this film is hard to beat. I was in NYC that summer and it brought back the atmosphere perfectly (though therapy should help me). But authenticity is not enough to make for entertainment. The subjects of the film, a group of Bronx young Italian-American men, are by turns stupid, vicious and risible. Sometimes they manage all three together. The director clearly dislikes his subjects and that's exactly what he passes to the viewer.

(Was that the actor who became Jackie Aprille in The Sopranos?)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M-U-R-D-E-R . . . Murder 18 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This film is a fantastic portarait of a community under attack from drugs,intolerance, a heat wave and, oh yeah, a serial killer. This is all the background to the story of two friends and how they move apart from one another. One is a punk getting a bit of money working in a gay strip club while the other is a guilt ridden adultorous disco man, who treats his wife like a queen but only the dance floor. As suspicions fly as the body count rises (shown in some of the most disturbing murder scenes I've seen) suspicions fly as a community turns in on itself leading to disaster.
A great film, very well directed and with a fantastic sountrack (see the medley of madness to The Who's Baba O'Riley). It also shows a brilliant bit of journalist impartiality in the epilogoue. Go see.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike Lee's best film so far... 10 Oct 2001
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:VHS Tape
Spike Lee is a film-maker often like Ken Loach: brilliant, but weighed down by the politics of the piece. Sometimes characters seem to represent an ideological persepctive in too forced a manner ('Jungle Fever' feels like the forced-ideologies of Carson McCuller's 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter'). The problem often is Lee being too CLOSE to his subject- 'Malcolm X' came across as pious and reverential, like the terminally-dull 'Gandhi'. His best work up til now had been 'She's Gotta Have It', 'Do The Right Thing' and 'Clockers'. It is the latter, with its extension on De Palma/Scorsese styled perspectives that this emanates from (bear in mind the nadir of 'Girl 6', though we would have the sub-'Hoop Dreams', 'He Got Game'). Lee focuses on an Italian-American neighbourhood in the summer of 1977- and captures,albeit in fictional form, the zeitgeist. His distance from the subject, whilst retaining an empathy for the characters works well. Because there are few overt points about race, though the joke about the reporter Lee plays being seen in a black-neighbourhood works well, we do not feel like we are being lectured to...
This film is a film about films also: references to 'Goodfellas' & 'Serpico' & 'Taxi Driver' & 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' & 'Casino' & 'Do the Right Thing' & 'Natural Born Killers' & 'Saturday Night Fever'& 'Se7en' & 'The Godfather' (and much more) abound. But, unlike with Tarantino, they are detail- not the whole. The use of music is very Scorsese- the montage scenes that use 'Baba O'Riley' & 'Won't Get Fooled Again' are excellent (The Who were kinda punk- though the band with Ruby & Richey front are a bit dubious!).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spike Lee brilliantly captures the Summer of 1977 18 July 2014
By ReviewBlog51 TOP 500 REVIEWER
On face value, you'd be mistaken for believing that Spike Lee's lesser-known film 'Summer Of Sam' is a docudrama or thriller surrounding a series of murders carried out by David Berkowitz in the Summer of 1977 in New York. Whilst these slayings do provide a background to the film, the focus is actually on a close knit group of people reacting to the possibility of becoming the unknown murderer's next victim. Although it isn't your typical thriller, suspense is created with the characters wondering who they can trust.

The plot relies heavily on the relationship between married, but unfaithful man Vinny (John Leguizamo) and punk rocker Ritchie (Adrien Brody), two friends who, due to their lives, interests and principles changing, are growing further apart. With Leguizamo, Brody, as well as Mira Sorvino, and Jennifer Esposito, you'd expect excellent performances, and won't be disappointed.

Lee brilliantly captures the disco club scene in New York at the time, with outrageous behaviour from rampant hard drug use to lots of casual, meaningless sex, needless to say there's plenty of violence and salty language throughout. The cinematography and overall sound of the film, with a fantastic soundtrack which crams in an impressive list of many hit songs, is so good, that I forgot I was watching a movie shot in 1999 a number of times. It's all so realistic that you'll feel that you were there with these characters in the Summer of 1977, which was the hottest Summer ever.

'Summer Of Sam' was not what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it very much for what it is, an excellent snapshot of the time and a focus on interesting people's lives and feelings. It's a long film, and sometimes it does drag on, but it's still one of those films you just have to tick off your list to see.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film
A great film at a good price. Delivered quickly. Would recommend. If you enjoyed the Sopranos you will enjoy this.
Published 2 months ago by Jackart
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A little know classic but well worth watching, its really intoxicating. You can feel the heat wave just watching this movie.
Published 6 months ago by Schiehallion
2.0 out of 5 stars Tripe
On buying this film I thought i would get more of an insight into David berkowitz however all I got was a cheap sleazy storyline about a bunch of no hopers living on the mean... Read more
Published 9 months ago by iain
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Brilliant film. Grips you from start to finish. Have watched it many times. Would highly recommend. Have lent it to many of my friends who have all enjoyed it too.
Published 16 months ago by allyson antoniades
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Very atmospheric, well acted, quite gruesome at times, great sound track.

And i love Mira Sorvino. I wouldn't cheat on her! Read more
Published on 21 May 2011 by C. A. Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars More about 1977 than Sam
If you are expecting the movie to focus on or resolve the murders of 'Son of Sam', or for it to be a gripping thriller, you will be disappointed - this is not what the movie is... Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2010 by AK
4.0 out of 5 stars A Summer Never Forgotten
Spike Lee's look at a community in fear of a serial killer is both interesting and yet compelling, even though we really don't get much of a view of the serial killings, we do feel... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2009 by DL Productions UK
5.0 out of 5 stars Multi-layered and colourful
This is about the summer of sam not the son of the sam solely. Therefore, it is about the landscape in the light of the 1977 killer. Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2009 by Rhoobarb
2.0 out of 5 stars pretty poor
I'd been keen to see this for some time and was disappointed with the end result after viewing. It was a weak story and all the characters appeared to be disjointed which always... Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2008 by Ms. F. I. Macdonald
3.0 out of 5 stars It has its merits..............................
Brilliantly directed and superbly cast and acted with an outstanding and varied soundtrack, but I was disappointed. Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2008 by Saturnicus
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