Chazz Palminteri wrote the script for this excellent story of an Italian American boy (Lillo Brancato) who grows up in the 1960s caught between the strong influences of his blue-collar, straight- arrow father (Robert De Niro) and a Mafia chieftain (Palminteri) who is his all-purpose mentor. De Niro makes his directorial debut with this production and, except for a little stiffness, does very well by the characters and their world. The story does not go precisely where one might expect it to go: Palminteri knows better than to force the central figure to choose between the two most important men in his life, and he doesn't fill time with stock drama about crime or family conflict. Joe Pesci makes an extremely effective and uncredited appearance at the end as a man who doesn't have to do more than speak softly to communicate how dangerous he is. The DVD release contains the theatrical trailer and optional French and Spanish soundtracks. --Tom Keogh
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DeNiro plays a father trying to make an honest living in the Bronx during the 1960's. But when his son "C" finds himself allured by the Mafia "godfather," Sonny (Chez Pallimetri), doing business out of a neighboring bar, DeNiro tries to steer his son clear of danger. Soon, however, "C" is looking up to Sonny as a second father, and DeNiro feels threatened.
Rather then focusing on the crime, it emphasizes the family drama, drawing comparisons between the crime family and blood ties. And fortunately, for the most part, A Bronx Tale avoids common clichés and hokey outcomes that dramas concerning family often hit. Instead, it creates an involving situation where no one is portrayed as pure evil.
The film is not without its problems, however. At times the film suffers from over explanation, mostly through the use of narration by an older "C." He repeatedly states the moral of the tale at the end of the film, when one doesn't need to be stated at all. It's something viewers should decide for themselves, with at most, a hint by the narrator. Also, the film could have used more scenes with just "C" and his father, as well as with Sonny, to better crystallize their relationships. While what's in the film is enough to get a good idea, it doesn't fully explore the tension and characterization. The film could benefit from an additional twenty minutes or so to fully flesh out everything.
But overall, A Bronx Tale provides a satisfying, and often times nostalgic look into family ties in 1960's New York. It's well worth the price to own.
A lot of critics disliked the Jane-Calogero plot, but I really liked it and I thought it added another dimension to the movie. Their union showed that Lorenzo, depicted as the "good" guy, has his flaws. In contrast, Sonny, who is depicted as the "bad" guy, shows his wisdom beyond the times (after all, this was set in the late 1960's when interracial union was still very much frowned upon).
And I also thought the awkwardness of Jane and Calogero's courtship was also well done, whether intentionally or not by Mr. De Niro and the actors, Taral Hicks and Lillo Brancato Jr. These are two sixteen year olds with not much dating experience afterall. Everything from the uneasiness of their conversations to thier kissing was very realistic and should be given credit.
One thing that I wish could have been explored more but wasn't is more background on Sonny and Lorenzo's feud. The movie alluded to some bad blood between the two men but was never fully explored.
But maybe what is left out of the movie is what makes it so great.
All in all, I give this movie five stars. Excellent directorial debut by Robert De Niro.
The focal point of the film becomes, "C", the young son of De Niro. An event brings him in to contact with Sonny which starts a long term relationship between this powerful man, and the allure of his cars, the deference with which he is treated, and the life that can appear so attractive to a young boy. And then there is his father who tries to remain the focus of his son's life, a man who knows the superficiality of Sonny's life and the damage it could do to his son. Add to this all the normal pressures of growing up with teenage peer pressure, and the racially charged sixties, and you have a young man at the center of mind numbing events.
It is when he is on the threshold of becoming an adult that all of the factors I mention finally come in to conflict. This is also the point when the film really distinguishes itself.Read more ›
A BRONX TALE is an impressive directorial debut for star Robert DeNiro who presents this story in a place he is comfortable, in a world often defined by Martin Scorcese (GOODFELLAS). Period music is used to help re-create the Bronx, New York in the 1960s. That same music also supports the conflicts involving race relations that appear late in the film.
After he refuses to finger Sonny to the police, Calogero, or "C", is taken in by the guys. With names like JoJo the Whale, Frankie Coffeecake, Eddie Mush, Jimmie Whispers and Tony Toupee, they force C to grow up too quickly. Like any child he makes good and bad decisions. Based on a one-man play written and performed by Palminteri, the story spreads a little thin but remains cohesive.
The story does start to lose ground when C begins cross-racial dating. Too much pressure is put on the teens, especially the amateurish Jane, and the film briefly falls on its back, marred by wooden dialogue and ridiculous conclusions.
There was a time when DeNiro was a reclusive actor but around the time of this film, the prolific guy we now see replaced him. His performance here is respectful on both sides of the camera. This was an early DVD release so only offers a trailer as bonus features and the video transfer is muddy in the darker scenes.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a really great peripheral mob drama about 3 men with a varying range of attitude problems. I recommend it if you like to watch Italian men swagger around and play urban... Read morePublished 23 months ago by leona
Did some one say classic? A Bronx Tale is one of the best mob flicks of all time, A must watch and a must own movie!Published on May 5 2013 by Jason Medeiros
super, just perfect, a very good serice, timing was excellent,
super, just perfect, a very good serice, timing was excellent,
The movie is an old movie, if you like the gangster type movie and are european you will enjoy it has alot of humer and sadness. Read morePublished on April 23 2012 by cotta
This was not a great movie like everyone thinks it is. I really didnt get into it. I thought the actors portrait of "the mob" was not right at all. Very Very off.Published on July 10 2004 by J. Worth
For a directorial debut, Deniros first is impressive. The story takes place in of course, the Bronx, about a bus driver and his kid growing up. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Joe Clay
A compelling insightful drama set in racially-charged New York City of the 1960s. Chock full of wisdom and insight, the powerful message swept along in riveting, tense tale of how... Read morePublished on May 16 2004 by M. Schreuder