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Wonderful coming-of-age story in little Italy
JawsOfJosh3 November 2000
Oh, what a wonderfully small and intricate film this is! How I love and cherish the world I am pulled into every time I see this film. Robert De Niro's directorial debut proves strong and lively, evidenced by how he stuck to a topic close to home; a young, impressionable Italian kid growing up little Italy in the late 60's. As the naive protagonist Calogero, or 'C' as he is nicknamed, Lillo Brancato gives a great performance as a young man torn between the working-class honesty displayed by his strict father and the ruthless world of organized crime demonstrated by the neighborhood crime boss Sonny (Chazz Palminteri adapted his own play and cast himself as a burly, laid back, world weary know-it-all).

One key element that snags you in is the narration. Like equally personal films of its stature (Scorsese's gangster trilogy, "Taxi Driver," "Election," "Bringing Out The Dead", "SLC Punk!"), the voice-over guiding brings you in even further into the already detailed landscape and story presented. I don't really consider this a mafia movie, it's much more of a coming-of-age tale. However, the background De Niro provides is so intimate and thorough that you wish for another film chronicling the life of Sonny.

I have to admit that, for a debut, De Niro's judicious use of music seemed to rival that of Spike or Scorsese in turns of effectiveness. First of all, De Niro kept a much more grass roots approach, sticking to doo-wop, soul, rock, "mobster pop" (Dean or Frank) and a little jazz. Whereas Scorsese will use anything at his disposal ("Casino" had two Devo tunes in it), De Niro really seems to search for what really makes the scene. My favorite is the scoring of a street fight scene to "Nights In White Satin"... De Niro must of knew before we did it was all in the violins. De Niro said he knew this type of story had been done before and didn't want to repeat anything, so he viewed Scorsese's mobster trilogy to see what already had been done. It's obvious he paid attention.

Even De Niro himself knows a little Italy gangster film is not complete with at least a surprise-ending cameo from you know who...
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If Bobby and Chazz are reading this...I couldn't thank you more!!!
mattymatt4ever9 May 2001
This might be a matter of taste, but "A Bronx Tale" remains Number 2 on list of Favorite Movies of All Time. It just happens to be one of the most deeply moving, powerful films I've ever encountered. Yes, some may consider this a simple story, but that's the beauty of it. It's a down-to-earth, coming-of-age story that perfectly mirrors the life of a boy like C growing up in the Bronx at such a hectic time. Of course, this is based on Chazz Palminteri's real life experiences, and I envy Chazz, being an aspiring screenwriter/director. I wish I had life experiences like that to put on film. And I have to commend my man Bobby D for bringing these images to life in such a vibrant, engrossing way.

DeNiro captures every element of the 1960's Bronx, with a great opening sequence featuring doo-wop singers sweetly singing the movie's theme. He captures so many elements of the period, and it was nice to see only one goof was captured. It was interesting to find out that most of the movie was actually shot in Brooklyn--my hometown. Then again, the two places are alike in their own simple ways.

Bobby D has a short, but memorable role (which is against type) as a working-class bus driver. He's desperately trying to get by and support his son, Cologero (I think that's how to spell it...LOL), and disapproves of his son's new "job" with gangster Sonny (Chazz, who gives a landmark performance). The interactions between DeNiro and his son are extraordinary in the way they mirror the way a real father and son would argue in those situations. As I said, it's the whole down-to-earth quality of this movie that I think made it tick. It's nothing pretentious. This is a simple movie about humanity. The gangster plot is merely a backdrop.

The only other movie I've seen him in was "Crimson Tide" in a very small role, but Lillo Brancato (who plays DeNiro's son in the later years) is a revalation! He gives one of the best performances I've ever seen and I'm surprised I haven't seen him in any more recent movies. And I have to say DeNiro did a dynamic job of casting. As far as I know, Brancato and Bobby aren't related, but please tell me if I'm wrong, because they look EXACTLY alike! If you've seen any of DeNiro's very early films, Brancato is a mirror image of him. Is it coincidence or what? I've rarely seen a film where the son/daughter even directly resembles the parents, but Brancato has the DeNiro nose and everything. If you observe closely, there's a scene where Brancato is wearing a black jacket and a black hat, and if you were to see this in a split-screen with DeNiro in "Mean Streets" it would be uncanny.

There are so many people I have to commend for this film. That also includes the supporting cast. Taral Hicks as C's love interest was also impressive. And of course, you can't have a movie directed by DeNiro and starring DeNiro without his main amigo making an appearance. Hopefully, you haven't read the cast list on the IMDB. Because I was surprised and overjoyed when "the man" appeared in the final scene.

There are many lessons on life to be drawn out of this film, some of which given by Chazz's character Sonny, who plays the most likeable gangster I've seen in cinema. Yet at the same time, you can't consider him "too nice." Which was a good move. Sonny was a nice guy in the core, yet he still has a heart of a gangster. In a great monologue, he explains how he'd rather be feared than loved. And of course there's the great monlogue that everyone remembers: the car door scene. That was really an unforgettable speech. Plus, there's funny moments, too. The gambling scene in the basement, for example. "Get in the f**king bathroom!!!" LOL...that was hilarious.

To add to the emotional intensity, we have an interracial relationship between Brancato and Hicks at a time when Bronx was heavily segregated and whites wanted absolutely nothing to do with blacks. The scene where the boys beat those innocent black boys down was an extremely powerful scene. And through DeNiro's direction, we feel the characters' every emotion. I like how he used the doo-wop music to contribute to the soundtrack.

By the end, I was almost at tears. I'm virtually tearing up just writing this review and looking at this masterful drama in retrospect. This is something ONLY Bobby D and Chazz could've done! No one could've done it better! For me to be this deeply moved by a motion picture is unprecedented. I wish I could be thanking the two guys in person.

If anyone hasn't seen this movie, please don't hesitate to pick it up! This is one of those great, underrated masterpieces that you feel sad after finding out about its poor success. A film like this really deserves more recognition.

And Bobby D....I think you owe a bunch of "thank yous" to your buddy Scorcese. He's taught you well.

My score: A perfect 10! (out of 10)
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Growing Up In The Bronx
bkoganbing15 April 2008
A Bronx Tale does take me back to New York City in the sixties. I grew up in Brooklyn then which certainly has always had its own identity. I'm glad that Chazz Palmentiri has given the Bronx an identity of its own. There are still parts of the Bronx which have the Italian neighborhood you see depicted here. But the Bronx is a Latino majority borough now, ironic when you consider part of the story of A Bronx Tale is the racial tension between the blacks and Italians.

The movie divides in two parts, the first is around 1960 with the background of the 1960 World Series, one of the best ever played where the Yankees of Mickey Mantle lost to the Pirates in seven games. Robert DeNiro is your average Joe, a bus driver by profession trying with his wife, Katherine Narducci, to raise their son who is eight years old. Young Francis Capra who is fascinated by the gangsters hanging out at the bar down the street, witnesses the local boss commit a murder. True to the neighborhood code he doesn't snitch to the police and the local boss takes him under his wing.

Chazz Palmentiri is the boss and he's an interesting character. A man who's risen to the top of his profession, he's got a sense of himself and what it took to get there. Life is about choices, he made his and he's going with the flow, but he knows it isn't for everyone. He advises young Capra to stay in school, but the more he advises the more fascinating Palmentiri becomes to DeNiro's dismay.

The second half of the story is in 1968, the Bronx as part of America ravaged by racial tensions, assassinations and the war in Vietnam. The little boy is now teenager Lillo Brancato who gets interested in a black girl, a big no-no in the crowd he comes from, but Palmentiri is the one person who encourages the relationship. Let's just say that everything, every element of the story comes full circle on one night in the Bronx in 1968.

The comparison to Goodfellas for me is obvious. The two kids who grow up to be Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta are taken under the wing of neighborhood boss Paul Sorvino who sees them as promising gangster material and they grow into the roles. Palmentiri keeps telling the young kid here do what I say not what I do, but in the end it takes some tragic events to set him on a right path.

DeNiro who you would normally expect in the gangster role is just fine as the father, a good man, not a perfect one by any means, but just a guy trying to do right by his family. It's Palmentiri however who really steals the film as the local gangster boss who's as street smart as they come, but even with all that can't anticipate all contingencies.

Lillo Brancato who went on to several other film roles and a long running one in The Sopranos certainly in real life didn't make the same choices as his character Calogero Anello did. Life really imitated art in his life story.

Nice to see the Bronx get its due.
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A masterfully told tale of morals & consequences.
rondine29 October 2000
I have seen this movie over & over like many of the people who have reviewed it. It's true that this is loosely based on the life of Chazz (C) Palmenteri who wrote the screenplay. Word is that when he was looking to make the play into a movie, he had only one condition, that he play the part of Sonny. He was rejected several times until he found Robert DeNiro & Tribeca productions. What luck for all of us too! Chazz was born to play the role of Sonny & how refreshing to see DeNiro as the humble and hardworking father figure instead of the gangster that he has so often played.

This movie has heart & a story that is actually appropriate for young adults. Despite the language & moderate violence (such as the bar scene) there isn't anything graphic (certainly not on the scale of Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan!) and no nudity, just a good story. One of the gems is that nothing is sadder than wasted talent. Thank God that Mr. Palmenteri didn't waste his and shared this wonderful story with all of us. Unforgettable movie, a definite 10 out of 10!
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Vintage Robert DeNiro
soranno5 November 2002
The amount of brillance that Robert DeNiro puts into all of his performances is unmatched and he proves that he can also be a fine director by debuting in that field as well as starring in this 1993 Savoy release. DeNiro is top billed but you actually don't see very much of him. The film's major focus is that of a little boy named Calogero and his idol, a mobster named Sonny (Chazz Palminteri). Sonny owns the Bronx neighborhood where Calogero and his honest bus driver father Lorenzo (DeNiro) live. He also basically owns them. Sonny's heavy amount of power and wealth make him an intimidating force throughout the neighborhood but his mob gang make their fear of him look like complete respect. Sonny knows that he's feared and it just encourages him to keep trying to rise in power. Calogero grows up watching Sonny cavorting on the street with his gang and secretly imitating him much to Lorenzo's chagrin. Lorenzo wants the best life possible for Calogero and doesn't want to see him fall into a life of crime or looking up to crime figures. Calogero doesn't listen because he idolizes Sonny too much and his chance to get Sonny's attention comes when he witnesses Sonny fatally shoot a man. When Calogero is questioned by police, his loyalty comes before his conscience and he doesn't rat out Sonny's guilt in the shooting. Sonny strongly appreciates this and so he gives Calogero an easy money job serving drinks for his high rollers gang. As several years pass and Calogero nears the end of his childhood, he must learn to make the ultimate choice between his two "father" figures. Just like in "Goodfellas", a classic soundtrack and excellent period detail is evident here and this film stands out as yet another classic in the modern day organized crime film genre. Palminteri makes a strong film starring debut and DeNiro makes the very most of his rather small seeming part. Joe Pesci also appears briefly as another respected crime boss. An instant "new classic."
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De Niro - I Loved Your Film
StarCastle998 July 2002
Like Marty this is a masterpiece, done on less than a stellar budget. The acting is miraculous. Chazz is a genius who can write for the theater, the film and play the starring role. He is the modern personification of charisma. De Niro plays one of his most engaging and lovable roles. This, my friends, is movie making. No blue screens, no CGI, nothing but a wonderful story, brought to life, as movies were meant to be. Oh yes, the ending is perfect. Being a fellow filmmaker, I can't help but be a little envious at De Niro's first directing job. Directing is hard work, acting is hard work, to act in your first directing effort is...incredible. Well, I shouldn't be surprised. Look at the kind of actor he is. Great film, don't miss it, but please don't wait for the special effects. This is one film that doesn't need them to captivate you. 10/10
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One of the best films in decades
lefty118 November 2007
Once in a while you see a movie that absolutely nails a time and place, and 'A Bronx Tale' is one of those movies. This coming-of-age story about a young Italian boy growing up in the heart of Little Italy in The Bronx in the 1960's is Robert DeNiro's directorial debut, and it's an auspicious one. Everything about the story rings true; the neighborhood, the mobsters, his family and friends, the gambling; all of it. I visited 187th Street in the Bronx just 2½ months ago, and I could easily imagine everything happening there, even though the bulk of the movie was filmed in Astoria, Queens. I also saw the Broadway play starring Chazz Palmintieri less than 4 weeks ago.

The principal character is a young boy named Calagero, and the movie is the story of how his life was molded by his experiences growing up in the neighborhood. Through a serendipitous event, he is befriended by a neighborhood mobster, Sonny, who takes him under his wing. His hard-working bus-driver father opposes the relationship and confronts the gangster at one point. But Calagero's friendship with the gangster continues to flourish through his teen years. As he reaches his mid-teens in the late 60's, his racist friends lean towards troubles beyond the usual teenage rowdiness and try to drag Calagero with them. A large subplot is the interracial romance he pursues with a girl from school. It seems doomed from the outset, due to pressures from all their friends and families, and society itself. Everyone except Sonny.

It took me a few months to fully appreciate this movie. Everything about it is so *honest*. It is at times, happy, sad, funny, crazy, romantic, terrifying and nostalgic. I won't reveal the dramatic ending, but I will spill one bean. The author of this semi-autobiographical story is also named Calagero, but he's better known as 'Chazz' Palmintieri, who is also the star. It rates as one of the better movies I've ever seen. Salut, Signor DeNiro.
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Place the man in the directors chair any time and I won't miss it
policy1341 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
There has never been any doubt that Robert De Niro can act rings around just about any actor today but it came as a surprise that he is also a director of some skill. It is clear, who he has drawn a lot of inspiration from, but unlike Scorsese his film "A Bronx Tale" is a quiet character study where the violence doesn't hit you over the head.

Chazz Palminteri, who plays the local mob boss, Sonny, wrote a play about his childhood and De Niro read it. He then met with Palminteri and said (this is how Palminteri himself described it on the AFI Awards show for De Niro): "You can get anybody to make this movie but if I'll make it f***ing right!" Boy, was he right. The director could have made this into a clichéd gang flick but De Niro made it with heart and wit.

De Niro also plays the father, Lorenzo, and his son Calogero (based on Palminteri) is played by Francis Capra as a child and Lillo Brancato as a teen. The latter was a real find. He actually looks like De Niro and he can act too. The way the relationships between Lorenzo, Sonny and Calogero are portrayed is the best parts of this movie. You can actually buy that Sonny could get a boys respect and still maintain his feared image and you can also buy that Lorenzo does make sense most of the time but that it is the boy who teaches the father a lesson at the end, to respect another person even though he does not fulfill your perception of a model citizen.

The things I have just written maybe sound a bit hard to swallow but it shouldn't turn you off seeing the movie because it is the most accomplished piece of work by a first time director that I have ever seen and I hope De Niro will make another stab at directing soon. Lately, he doesn't seem to have that much interest in making anything other than comedies and that's okay but he should consider making at least one film more that you can relate to like this one certainly did to me.
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AN Underrated Masterpiece! (possible spoilers)
Bawoof21 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'd heard about this film every once in awhile, but rarely in a class with the greats--"Godfather"--"Goodfellas"--"Miller's Crossing" etc. I must say, this has to be one of the GREAT UNDERRATED CLASSICS OF ALL TIME! Why? Because everything about this movie works: I cared about the characters; I laughed (the scene at the racetrack with Johnny Mush is hilarious); I felt the suspense (C in the car with his foolish friends heading to the black section of town); and I enjoyed the realistic but downplayed violence (for a gangster movie); and yes, I was touched by the ending as well. I have no idea why this wonderful film never seemed to go beyond cult status, because it certainly deserved better! BTW--I'm not Italian. I'm Irish and German American descent. However, this movie is NOT just about Italians and Blacks; it's about life and what we make of it. Rent this one if you're a fan of gangster movies or even coming of age stories--you'll be glad you did.
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Another great gangster drama only this time with lessons...
SeminolePhenom13 October 2005
A father(Robert De Niro) who stresses the importance of honest work, teaches his son values in 1960's New York as a distrusting mobster(Chazz Palminteri) also shares his perspective and becomes some what of a father figure to the kid. Faced with racism and a crime-based community, learns his own morals from a strand of tough events.

This is not the first movie I have ever seen to make the gangster out to be a some what nice guy. But this is the first one I have seen to actually make him somewhat of a saint. Sonny(Palminteri) is the example of a split personality with a criminal. He is very tough with a community that he loves and basically runs but is also very protective and guiding to many people. I found this to be quite interesting in this type of genre.

Robert De Niro's character on the other hand, is very bold. He plays the father who is concerned with his son's well being and is just your normal flat character. He was unimpressive, but effective for a movie that was by no means perfect in the first place.

The idea of this movie was what made it so intriguing. At two hours long, it consists of a large epic story of a young man trying to make it through a part of New York. Some important events were perhaps too close together but it was still entertaining and quite moving. Overall, A Bronx Tale is a fine experience of cinema with a wonderful story.

I highly recommend this movie.
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jacqgary11 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The pairing of Chazz P. and Robert DeNiro was an awesome combination. There are just so many scenes in this movie that are brilliant. I also personally thought that this movie was a small bio of Deniro even though it was originally a play by Chazz P. and that Lorenzo and Rose ( which are Cologero Parents) are the same names of Chazz P. real parents.I think this statement from the movie poster says it correctly: This is a story about One man who Lived in the Neighborhood and The Other Man Who Owned It!Thats it! Thats exactly what it was about.A man trying to hold on to his son before the streets swallow him up.From the time Cologero saw Sonny murder a man in front of his house this 9 year old was consumed with the idea of ("Not Being a Rat)Remember he told his father I didn't rat dad! I didn't rat...and his father says:No son you didn't rat,You Just did a Good Thing for a Bad Man.Everything his father would tell him would always come back to mind sooner or later.Even as he got older,you could still see the struggle his father was going through just to keep his son on the right path..At the end when Sonny got killed Who was there ...his dad. The line I liked was: I never hated Sonny I just didn't like the fact that he was making you grow up so fast.This movie was truly brilliant.I would suggest if you haven't seen it ..Check it out
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Interesting Portrait With A Killer 'Hero'
ccthemovieman-122 March 2006
Here is a realistic-looking and an involving story of the street life in New York City's Bronx section in the 1950s and 1960s. Excellent acting and a good job of re-creating the era and site's atmosphere are main things going for this film. Also the soundtrack is very, very good. The main problem I have with the film is the fact that a cold-blooded killer is made to be the hero - a guy that you root for! Unbelievable.

Playing that killer is Chazz Palminteri, who outperforms the more famous and great actor and co-star Robert De Niro. Actually, the co-star is Lilo Brancoto, who was recently in the news for allegedly committing a major crime himself.

Anyway, supposedly this is Palminteri's story of his childhood and features him as a young boy and then as a 17-year-old. He has a straight father (De Niro) but looks up to the area's Mafia leader "Sonny" (Palminteri), who takes the kid under his wing for not ratting on him when he witnessed him killing someone.

It may have a bad message, and gives a couple shots at the Catholic Church along the way, but the characters and the story keeps one tuned to the screen for the full two hours. It was good to see De Niro play the honest, hard-working bus driver who wants his kid to have character and not emulate the local hoods.

This is a not a movie for those who wince at the f-word because it's used frequently. This is more of man's movie, really, with males dominating and some good advice on dating and what to look for in women! "Sonny," despite being a killer, is shown to be a caring, compassionate guy who cares about young "Calogero" (Brancoto, and earlier as a 9-year-old played by Francis Capra).

There are so many mixed messages in here - good and bad - it would make your head swim, but it is a crime film very much worth investigating.
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Great Movie - Great Soundtrack
marine-36 November 1998
I grew up in the Bronx during the 50s. The story, the neighborhood, the attitude and the values are all real. Maybe the inter-racial line was a bit of a stretch. Those things just didn't happen, at least not so openly. Good story, I own the video & enjoy it with my sons from time-to-time.
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Entertaining Effort From Robert De Niro
Hancock_the_Superb15 October 2005
For much of "A Bronx Tale", first-time director Robert De Niro seems to be aping his friend/collaborator Martin Scorsese's directorial style, with the period soundtrack and gritty depiction of the mean streets of New York City. But "A Bronx Tale" is more than that. It isn't as flashy as "Goodfellas" or "Casino", but is indeed a rather realistic and true picture. While not a great film, "A Bronx Tale" is still a worthwhile effort from De Niro.

The plot involves Calergo "C" Anello (Francis Capra/Lillo Brancato), the son of an Italian bus driver, Lorenzo (De Niro), who grows up in the mean streets of the Bronx in the 1960s, when blacks are moving into the neighborhood, causing inevitable ethnic tension with its primarily Italian residents. Anello finds himself being (metaphorically) seduced by Sonny (Chazz Palmenteri, who co-wrote the movie based on his own experiences), a big shot gangster who seems to represent a glorious, exciting way of life. After "C" watches Anello shoot a man to death but refuses to identify Sonny as the killer, he becomes sort of a gofer for the gang, a la Henry Hill in "Goodfellas". Eventually, Sonny and Lorenzo come to blows over C's future, while C falls in love with a black girl (Taral Hicks), which doesn't square well with the activities of his bigoted friends.

The plot may seem a bit cluttered written down, but it all flows together really well. The movie does play sort of like "Goodfellas"-lite, and one can't help but think that De Niro is trying to replicate Scorsese's directorial style. The racial angle, which may sound a bit out of place in a gangster flick, is worked into the main plot very well. The movie contains some powerfully directed scenes - particularly the unforgettable (in the worst way) sequence where C's friends attack a group of helpless black bikers whose only crime is riding through the Italian section of town.

The acting is very good, though that's to be expected. De Niro gives a very understated performance as Lorenzo, a working class guy who honestly believes that it's better to be a hard-working nobody than a successful gangster. However, kudos to Chazz Palmenteri for making his Sonny a likable character who, while a gangster, tries his hardest to keep C from getting into serious trouble or even into the gang. Most writers/directors would've made Sonny a violent psychotic and put him into a good-versus-evil tug-of-war with Lorenzo over Calergo's soul, but Sonny is a genuinely nice guy (though a bit rough around the edges) and Palmenteri delivers a knock-out performance. Capra and Brancanto both do nice work as well. The rest of the cast is mostly a group of relative unknowns, though De Niro regulars Joe Pesci and Clem Caserta pop up briefly, but their performances - particularly Hicks as Calergo's love interest - are still solid.

Overall, "A Bronx Tale" is not a great or classic film, but it's memorable in its own right and does a great job of delivering its message of right-versus-wrong, racial discrimination, and the daily life on the streets. Don't expect a "Godfather"-caliber film, but if you want a well-made and entertaining gangster pic, by the greatest gangster actor of all time (albeit playing a non-gangster), than take a chance with this film. You probably won't be disappointed. 7/10
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Thank Your Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri, Best Movie Ever.
jyoussef23 April 2017
First off, I would like to say that I think "A Bronx Tale" is one of the best movies I have ever seen. As an average movie watcher, this is one of the most emotional movies I have watched.

What sticks out for me is the amazing soundtrack, which can really capture the emotion of the scenes, and what I think is an excellent performance by Chazz Palminteri, Robert De Niro, and Lillo Brancato. I wouldn't agree with people expecting it to be another "Goodfellas" or "Godfather", cause this movie is in a category of its own. It is an excellent coming of age story, and you really feel as though you grow up with Calogero(Lillo Brancato) and there is a strong emotional connection to the characters Sonny, a crime boss who takes Calogero under his wing(Chazz Palminteri), and Lorenzo, Calogero's father(Robert De Niro).

Now I wouldn't consider this a spoiler, but the ending is probably the most emotional ending I have seen, and it left me so proud of the movie that it motivated me to write this review (My first review). I highly recommend this movie to everyone, whether or not you love gangster films, because I really feel as though it is a gangster movie, the plot involves more of the coming of age of Lillo Brancato's character, and less of the gangster aspect of the story. From what I understand there is also a Broadway play, and I would expect that to be golden as well, but overall PLEASE WATCH THIS MOVIE, it is that good.

There are tons of amazing quotes and scenes and this movie leaves you with a deep lesson, which I really didn't experience in Godfather or Goodfellas, but I still consider those movies to be top notch.

For this I applaud Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri and all the actors involved with this picture, and I hope that more people see this movie and really appreciate it.
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More than just a gangster movie
jimmy-13120 February 2000
When I first watched this movie, I didn't have many expectations, as I had never heard about it before, all I knew was that Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, two fantastic actors, were in the movie. The script of the movie, which is a mix between a gangster story and a drama, is unique and the actors are splendid. It's nice to see Robert De Niro starring in a gangster movie without being one of the gangsters himself. The movie is cool, emotional and has a deeper morally message at the same time which is why the movie is still printed in my mind today, two years since I saw it the last time. a one of a kind movie which I will not hesitate to salute with a maximum score of 10! Do yourself a favor, see this movie today!
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In life, there's no such thing as heroes or villains but idols
departed0721 February 2004
A Bronx Tale tells the story of a boy growing up in the Bronx that must face tough decisions between a mobster and his father the working man. Robert De Niro, in his directorial debut, shows an inside view of the mafia in the neighborhood and how an individual child idolize them just like the way the film GoodFellas showed how a kid wanted to be a gangster.

Chazz Palminteri plays Sonny, the kingpin in the neighborhood, who is not only a feared man in the Bronx but also kills a man in the streets and Lorenzo's (Robert De Niro) son, Colgero, is the witness. Lorenzo's son doesn't rat on anybody and Sonny considers the kid an okay person where he'll take care of him like a father would for his son if he does certain favors that would make Lorenzo uncomfortable.

Colgero sees different point of views from his two "fathers" where Lorenzo, his real father, is an honest bus driver who likes what he does in making a living prior to standing by in his codes of morality while Colgero sees Sonny as something of a hero since he's not a sucker like those who have to wait for bum paychecks where all he does is make a living by either killing or stealing where having power makes a man.

As Colgero grows into a teenager in the 60's, both his real father (Lorenzo) and his idol (Sonny) want the best for him with different standards and don't want to see him in the wrong direction. At the same time Colgero falls in love with a woman, a young black girl, at his high school where interracial relationships is consider a no-no to both the black community and the Italian neighborhood. It doesn't bother Colgero one bit while asking both his father and idol for advice where he's growing up to be a man.

"A Bronx Tale" is not only a life lesson movie, but a coming of age story where not only does Colgero witness everything in front of him from death to prejudice but it's about how two men from separate worlds want the best for this kid.
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xheladinbucolli25 October 2018
This is my first review and this movie is awesome.
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An introduction to...
zenone33 January 2004
I finally saw this film for the first time last week. Knowing my extreme interest in mafia-related movies, this film was recommended to me by many sources. I really had no idea what to expect. Unlike the Godfather Trilogy, which show you the intricate interworkings of the mafia, this movie is really an introductory to mafia life ---- Mafia 101, if you'd like. It's seen though the eyes of a young Italian boy named Calogero. Not to repeat what's been said in every other review, but Calogero lives in Little Italy, New York. His neighborhood is a hangout for the mafia, headed by a man named Sonny. One day, Calogero witnesses a shooting by Sonny, but refuses to turn him into the police. I particularly liked the scene where the boy was brought to look at a lineup of hoodlums, to pick out who the "shooter was". When he came to Sonny there was a long gaze between Calogero and the "mafia king". But the boy didn't turn him in. After that, Sonny befriended the boy --- and became a second father. Through the years, there was a battle between Sonny & Calagero's real father (played amazingly by Robert DeNiro). Of course the father didn't want Calogero hanging out with those types of people. A side story involved the battle between black & white neighborhoods --- and Calogero falling in love with a black girl from the "wrong side of the tracks". Personally, I thought this girl (Jean) could've been more likeable. She didn't seem like anyone you would risk your life to walk home.

This movie has a surprising & sad ending --- which I won't tell you in case you haven't seen it. All things considered, this was one of the best movies I've seen. Definitely one that I could watch over & over again. And a definite must for my video collection.
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Honest film tugs at your heartstrings
emartin-112 August 2003
The first thing A Bronx Tale should be commended for is getting a stellar performance out of what at the time was an inexperienced cast. Aside from Robert DeNiro (and a cameo by Joe Pesci), most of the players were novices, with several in their film debuts. But DeNiro managed to get A+ performances from Lillo Brancato Jr., Francis Capra and Taral Hicks. I thought Chazz Palminteri should have garnered an Oscar for his role. The fact that this was his screenplay, it was evident that he poured his heart into the role, and he was thoroughly believable as the neighborhood boss Sonny. Nuances are very important in a film, and DeNiro manages to capture the turbulent 60s perfectly. One particular scene is especially memorable. In the first conversation between the teenage Colagero and Jane -- when he's walking her home from school -- I'm not sure if the actors were allowed to ad-lib, but the dialogue was perfect, because it epitomized the awkward interaction of young love. Aside from that, the movie is honest about gangster life, racism and loyalty. The movie isn't preachy, and it doesn't have the feel-good ending of an afterschool special. What it does is show that even the worse people have good in them and that our choices are what ultimately decide our fate. A film with very few flaws.
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A masterpiece of a film. And a great 60's soundtrack.
soracledba23 June 2003
This film is set in 1960's Bronx, New York in an Italian neighborhood that is controlled by a local mob boss. The storyline centers around a young and impressionable boy named Cologino who earns the affection/friendship of the mob boss. The boss (Chaz Palmintieri) tries to impart 'street smarts' to Cologino. The boss's criminal background and close ties to Cologino, causes the boy's father (Robert Deniro) much concern and there is a constant struggle between these two 'fathering' figures. The characters are compelling, the moral dilemnas are intriguing, and the combination of narration and classic doowap melodies creates an almost fable-like quality to this masterpiece of a film. This film is every bit as good as Shawshank Redemption.
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Great Flick
NeoNsMoKeJaZz18 May 2003
I think this is a great coming of age movie because of its heart. The soundtrack is very good and De Niro was obviously watching all the great directors he's worked with over the years as his direction is stong especially for a first time director. The dynamic between the three main characters is an interesting one and it is good to see that they did not just settle for Gangster bad, parent good as both these men are father figures for the main character and both give good and bad points of view. The film, at the end of the day is about the decisions you make and C learns the lesson that both men try and teach him in thier own ways. If you apreciate good films then you should like this movie and although for some viewers it may not contain enough violence and swearing for their liking I think its a wonderful film that doesn't need these elements to make its point and so wisely keeps it cool. I love De Niro's use of slow motion in some of the sequences as well as his use of music. Check it out.
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"The saddest thing in life is a wasted talent" - but where's the proof of that?
kgottlicher31 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with all of the panegyrics, so I'll only point out the one thing that everyone seems to be missing (and it's not hard to do, given how mesmerizing the movie is) and which "ruined it" for me.

One of the pivotal morals of the story, its leitmotif, is the now famous line "The saddest thing in life is a wasted talent". It appears at the beginning, throughout, and again at the end. It's practically the closing line.

Yet we never see the MANIFESTATION of said talent in Calogero. What's he talented in? School? Baseball? Italian cuisine? We never get even the slightest indication of what that line might refer to when it comes to our protagonist.

In my opinion, if such an important (if not THE most important) aspect of the movie had been "anchored" in something concrete (if we'd seen Calogero excel in baseball, school, whatever), the movie might have packed a stronger punch. Calogero leaves his mafia ways, having finally realized what his father has been talking about all along - that there's nothing sadder than a wasted talent.

But we never see what Calogero's talent is!

That's why the oft-repeated wasted-talent moral seems to be left hanging in mid-air without any concrete point of reference. It might as well have been replaced with "Take your vitamins daily". It's no more than an abstract wise saying. And that's why this movie hits the home run, but there's no bases on the field.

Or something.
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DeNiro has an ironic problem
BlackMan9015 September 2007
In his debut, Robert DeNiro shows the same promise and problems that came with his sophomore effort, The Good Shepherd.

He learned from Scorsese and you can tell. Great editing and really brilliant sequences. His use of period music puts us right inside the Bronx. He along with Chazz Palmintieri and Taral Hicks give very good performances. Palmintieri also gets credit for the script, which has a great story and themes. DeNiro's status as one of the best actors alive, makes it quite shocking that his weakness is in directing. Francis Capra and Lillo Brancato give solid performances at best. And since they both play the central character it, turns a potential classic, into just a great film.
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