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Summer of Sam (1999)

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Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Spike Lee, Victor Colicchio (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Leguizamo ... Vinny
Adrien Brody ... Richie
Mira Sorvino ... Dionna
Jennifer Esposito ... Ruby
Michael Rispoli ... Joey T
Saverio Guerra ... Woodstock
Brian Tarantina ... Bobby Del Fiore
Al Palagonia Al Palagonia ... Anthony
Ken Garito ... Brian
Bebe Neuwirth ... Gloria
Patti LuPone ... Helen
Mike Starr ... Eddie
Anthony LaPaglia ... Detective Lou Petrocelli
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Detective Curt Atwater
Ben Gazzara ... Luigi
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Storyline

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No one is safe from son of sam See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Son of Sam See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,991,450, 4 July 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,283,782, 12 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Idina Menzel was cast as Richie's girlfriend. Her scenes were cut before final release. See more »

Goofs

In the film the British rock band, The Who are repeatedly referred to as a punk rock band. This is wildly incorrect. The Who was founded in 1964 and were part of the trailing edge of the British Invasion. The only thing that related to the violent attitude of hard-core punk bands was the fact that on a couple of occasions the drummer and guitarist (Keith Moon and Pete Townsend) smashed their instruments (which began at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967, in response to Jimi Hendrix' burning his guitar). By the time of the Son of Sam murders, the Who had already been hard rockers for nearly a decade and had been using synthesizers for over half that time - something that no punk band would ever do, up until the Clash released Bankrobber in 1980. See more »

Quotes

Bobby Del Fiore: Hello, Brian.
Brian: Hey-hey-hey, Bobby the Fairy! How's it hangin'? Huh?
Bobby Del Fiore: That's Mrs. Del Fiore to you, sweetheart. And don't wear it out.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are in the form of newspaper headlines. See more »

Alternate Versions

After they are refused entry into Studio 54, the sex scene between Dionna (Mira Sorvino) and Vinny (John Leguizamo) included more explicit shots in the original cut. This scene was edited a bit after the MPAA threatened the film with an "NC-17" rating. See more »

Connections

References The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) See more »

Soundtracks

Fernando
(1975)
Written by Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus (as Bjorn Ulvaeus)
Performed by ABBA
Courtesy of Polar Music International AB
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Son of Sam story is an effective backdrop
19 July 1999 | by Becky-9See all my reviews

I really enjoyed this movie. The Son of Sam killings are just a backdrop to a slice-of-life story in New York City in the summer of 1977. I believe that Spike Lee wanted to tell a story about the seventies - the excesses of sex, drugs and the desperation of the times. He chose a summer that stood out in the minds of the people who lived through it because of the record heat, the murders and the blackout. The Son of Sam killer was in one sense a strongly contrasting back drop and in another sense an extreme sign of the times. David Berkowitz was out of control and driven by invisible demons, but that could be said of the main character Vinnie. The difference between the two could almost be reduced to a matter of degree. I was struck by the part of the story where a group of friends thought the killer was one of their own because he was into punk rock and same-sex sex for money. Their misunderstanding of the killer seemed startling in light of what we know about serial killers today, but was dead on for the time. Spike Lee reminds us with this movie how much damage is done when we allow ourselves to be driven by our ignorance and fear. He makes us uncomfortable, of course, but the lesson rings so true. As far as the direction went, I thought that it was classic Spike Lee with a little taken from some other popular young directors, but if someone imitates something good and does it well, I don't complain. My favorite scene is where the punk rocker character Richie does a porno dance to The Who. The soundtrack is also pretty good, by the way. I gave the movie a 9 out of 10.


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