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Mean Streets (Special Edition)

Robert De Niro , Harvey Keitel , Elliot Geisinger , Martin Scorsese    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.70
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Mean Streets (Special Edition) + Dog Day Afternoon (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Price For Both: CDN$ 36.83



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Product Description

Amazon.ca

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 neighborhoods 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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked and underappreciated July 12 2004
By jay_d_h
Format:DVD
This is a fantastic film, and I'm going to tell you why I think so, and by the time you finish reading this, you just might change your mind about it, or run out and have to see it.
The music is great. Perfectly fits the time period and setting, I dunno how much they had to pay in royalties for the songs in this film, but I love em'.
The camera work is fantastic. There's a scene where the camera gives you charlie's viewpoint, stumbling, wobbling across the bar, lights flashing, people dancing, music blaring, then zooms out to his smiling happy face. Then there's the filming of the street festival and the overall way which New York is captured so perfectly. It feels like you are really in the city, the movie has that gritty feeling to it.
The dialogue is great, many of it is ad libed by Deniro and Keitel. This is the beginning of ad libbed dialogue for deniro, the culmination being his speech in front of the mirror in taxi driver; "You talkin' to me"? There's a scene where Keitel confronts Deniro outside the bar to ask him about his debt, the exchange is perfect, it could never have been written and its executed beautifully.
The acting is also fantastic throughout.
So, great acting, great filmwork and great dialogue all come together to create a wonderfully realistic film.
Now, the end of the movie, maybe you didn't understand it, so I'll explain the film. I'll try not to spoil the ending.
Ok, so Charlie does some bad things, he works for the mob after all, and he wants to repent for his sins, so, after going to church and then later seeing jonny boy in a bar he thinks that God has asked him to repent for his sins on the streets, by helping out Jonny Boy. He doesn't believe that saying a few hail mary's or confessing washes away one's sins.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But what's a 'mook'? April 1 2004
By R Jess
Format:VHS Tape
Martin Scorsese's most autobiographical movie bestows an energy and a vibrancy that hasn't diminished in the 30 years since it was made. Part of this wonderful energy is created by Scorsese's use of music, a cinematic trait he has continued to use successfully in all of his best movies. In fact in 'Mean Streets', Scorsese's use of 2 different styles of music, Italian and rock, can be seen as an expression of the divergence between the older and younger members of the Italian-American community in which he grew up. Scorsese himself valued the use of music so much, that he was willing to fork out $30,000 just for the rights to use the 2 Rolling Stones songs in the picture and this in a movie which cost $750,000 to make.
Another powerful aspect of the film is the acting. Along with the intense charactarizations created by the actors, there also seems to be quite a lot of improvisation used (especially in the backroom scene where DeNiro tries to explain his losses to Kietel). This creates an air of pathetic authenticity, a welcome attribute in most of Scorsese's films.
Ironically despite the fact that the film is set on the 'Mean Streets' of New York, all the interior shots were filmed in L.A. with a different camera crew than the one that shot the exterior shots in Manhatten.
The film is also a visual document of the decline of Little Italy, much of which today is just an extended part of Chinatown.
A 'mook' by the way is Neapolition for bigmouth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars impressive March 26 2004
Format:DVD
Following the success of his thesis project "Who's that knocking at my door", Scorcese returned in 1973 with Mean Streets. Like a lot of other of Scorcese's films, Mean Streets explores the catholic guilt of the main character(Keitel) while drawing a contrast to another(DeNiro).
Keitel is near perfect in his role. In most other films, the audience would hardly consider Keitel a protagonist. He runs numbers, wacthes strippers, and does not "love" his girlfriend. However, when compared to Deniro's Johnny boy or some of the other characters in the film, one can't help but admire his altruism. In Mean Streets, Keitel plays the only role he is capable of playing well: A man stuck in two different worlds; In this case the world of clubs, dark alleys and violent street corners and the other more peaceful and disciplined world he strives for.
I don't care much for DeNiro's character, so I will not comment much on him, however it is only fitting that I reccomend some other films for Kietel fans on fans of this genre. Bad Lieutenant is the best place for any Keitel fan to start, but it is certainly not for the faint hearted. Taxi Driver also stars Keitel, but DeNiro is the main character. These films both tell the story of a man who is so fed up with the turmoil he observes every day on the streets, that he takes a road which eventually results in his own destruction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great first work! April 14 2008
Format:DVD
Anyone who says that this film is stupid and that is has no point is themselves stupid. This film has a terrific flair and art-house quality that can only be found in the best independent films. Mean Streets is much less conventional than many of Scorsese's other films which is why there are reviews here condemning it for not conforming to a straight crime film trajectory. The film simply observes life in the slummier parts of New York city with an unflinching, direct cinema perspective. The film is best enjoyed by those familiar with european art cinema. Scorsese draws on conventions propounded by the french new wave, soviet montage and french poetic realism. If you are familiar with these terms and have not seen this film, this should be enough to entice you, or ward you off, depending on your convictions regarding European Art Cinema. This is a great first film and one of the better films in Scorsese's cannon.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie about life on the street
This movie is great mainly because of the acting of Robert Deniro. He is explosive in his role as Johnny Boy a degenerate who owes bookies and shylocks. Read more
Published on May 30 2004 by Kyle Provenzano
5.0 out of 5 stars This one started it all
It is hard to even start a review of this classic, because there are so many highlights to address. This film is basically the precursor to many of Scorsese's other classics, such... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by "lawyer400meters"
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Good.
'Mean Streets' is one of the few Scorsese films that is not good. In fact, it is quite bad. Aviod it, but only watch if you are curious about Martin Scorsese films.
Published on April 7 2004 by Dhaval Vyas
2.0 out of 5 stars Despite great acting by De Niro, this movie sucks.
Let me start by saying that I had high hopes for this film. Some people praise it like it's as good as Taxi Driver. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars I obviously missed the point...
I found this film to be anticlimatic, and not that interesting. (I thought the ending was a real letdown, in contrast to those who thought it was so terrific). Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004 by kdave21
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a bit dated
Great acting by the buddies but this world doesnt exist anymore- New York's Greenwich Village is all yuppie now.
Published on Dec 19 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars But what IS a 'mook'?
Martin Scorsese's most autobiographical movie bestows an energy and a vibrancy that hasn't diminished in the 30 years since it was made. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by R Jess
4.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Boy!!!!
Warning: Spoilers here!....I first saw this movie several years ago on vhs after my sister told me excitedly how great it was. I watched it then and was bored and gave up on it. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by safira
5.0 out of 5 stars The best movie of all time.
I did an earlier review of this movie saying that it was a '(...) good movie.' Well, after watching this the 2nd time, (soon to be 3rd), I can honestly say that this is the best... Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2003 by Nick Bobraton
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