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 Ni... more »ro) 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. --Tom Keogh« less
"This film is an underrated gem. If you're looking for a bloodbath mobster movie, this is not it. A Bronx Tale is a movie with heart--and it just so happens to be about mobsters. Kudos to Robert De Niro on his directorial debut (may he direct many more movies). He did an outstanding job of presenting a slice of life in the Bronx of the 1960s. Though his role as Lorenzo Aiello is rather small, its effect is felt profoundly throughout the movie as Lorenzo's son Calogero struggles between right and wrong. Lorenzo, representing the upstanding, hardworking Everyman, wants the best for his son and doesn't want him to choose life with the mob. Sonny, the neighborhood mob boss, also wants what's best for Calogero, or C, as he nicknames him. The moment in the film where this struggle is most keenly felt is when Lorenzo and Calogero are at the boxing match sitting in the "nosebleed" section. One of Sonny's henchmen invites Lorenzo and Calogero down front at ringside, but Lorenzo declines the offer. You can see how hard it is for Calogero to refuse those seats. But he is torn by the love he feels for his father, and wanting to be ringside with Sonny. The most poignant moment is when he apologizes to his father for wanting to sit with Sonny and tells Lorenzo that he appreciates his seat, though it's far away from the ring.Another interesting, though more subtle, aspect of the movie was how Rosina, Lorenzo's wife, questioned Lorenzo's refusal to get involved with Sonny. You could see that she wanted a better life than the wife of a bus driver, and she didn't seem to be too concerned with how it was achieved. That would have been an interesting angle to explore, but the movie didn't suffer because it wasn't explored.The element of racial tension and the inclusion of an interracial romance for C gave A Bronx Tale a more gritty feel. It wasn't hard to boo C's knuckleheaded friends as they harrassed blacks who passed through "their" neighborhood. The romance between Jane and C was tastefully done, and the actors who played the roles gave authenticity to the sweet, awkward relationship. Remember Sonny's door test? Well, I was practically praying and crossing my fingers that Jane would unlock that door!But the film belonged to Francis Capra (young Calogero) and Chazz Palminteri (Sonny). The nine-year-old Capra was so convincing as a child who was perplexed by the difference between good and bad and all the gray areas in between. Palminteri really shines as Sonny, the suave but dangerous hood. The film is based on his childhood, and I think he did a wonderful job (along with De Niro) of bringing the story to the screen. Useless bit of trivia I read on another site: Palminteri's real name is Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri."
Real Life of Lillo Brancato has Turned Tragic
David Thomson | Houston, TX USA | 12/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am writing this long overdue review shortly after the real life arrest of Lillo Brancato in the connection of a murder of a New York City police officer. He played the young man in this splendid movie which deserves to be seen by everybody. It is a beautifully written and acted production. Brancato portrayed so accurately the challenges of a young Italian-America youth being raised among the gangsters in his blue collar community. I always wondered why he virtually disappeared. Brancato's small role playing a cheap gangster on "The Sopranos" didn't even begin to equal what had earlier been expected of him.
Robert Di Niro is fantastic as the father, a proud bus driver, trying to make sure his only son remains a law abiding citizen. Chazz Palminteri is likewise brilliant playing the role of the neighborhood Mafia chieftain. He also wrote the spellbinding script. "A Bronx Tale" apparently was only modestly successful. I simply cannot understand why it isn't considered as one of the very best movies of that time period. This is a family movie. Anyone who is a teenager or older should enjoy it immensely. You truly feel like you are visiting the 1960s. It is a warm and loving story about choices that must be made early in one's life. Lastly, why hasn't Di Niro directed more films? You would think that this particular work of art might encourage the great actor to work more often behind the camera."
Darren Payne | England | 01/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was absolutely fantastic, this is EXACTLY the kind of material my Media Studies teacher would love, its not a boring film that goes from good to bad and a happy ending. Its realistic. Ive never felt so obliged after a film to write a review, but this film was so good i just had to. The Newspapers gave it 3 stars, and their information about it was totally wrong! This really is a must see film, after seeing it on TV last-night i just have to buy it and show my friends and my Media Studies teacher. I just sat there and was thinking "Yes, this is excelent", which IS so true.
Watch, buy, rent this film, it is so good, you can't miss it."
Memories of Growing-Up Italian
Frank Capurso | Worcester, MA USA | 01/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Bronx Tale is undoubtedly one of the best movies that brings back old memories of growing-up Italian in the 50's and 60's. We all knew who the wiseguys were, we knew what they did, and we knew how to skillfully observe their actions but at the same time avoid their indiscretions. Robert De Niro tries everything to keep his only child away from the bad guys; unfortunately, it takes death and destruction to teach the young man a valuable lesson. One of my favorite scenes was the confrontation between the vegetable peddler and the children who loved to harrass him. I can remember having the same "fun" with the "rag-man" forty years ago. The nicknames of the gangsters and their customers are all too familiar to an Italian kid from the inner city. I received a valuable education from the streets and one from formal education just like C did. A great movie to enjoy, especially if you are Italian, if not just relax and have some fun."
Rob C. | United States | 08/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1993 I saw this movie because the movie I had come to see was sold out. I don't remember the name of that motion picture, but I will never forget A Bronx Tale. Written and directed to perfection, the characters are alive and vivid. The view sees and feel the action on the screen and this film is totally devoid of the Hollywood formulas and clichés that sink far too many offerings today. Why is this? The original play was written by one of the stars of the film, Chazz Palminteri, who one night after losing a job, sat on his bed and hand wrote the story of his young, all the while in tears. The graphic, colorful reality of his experiences shows. The execution of this film is flawless. There are no continuity errors and it is so well cast you will walk away thinking you personally know each and every character. Having touched on so many aspects of 1960's America, this movie never disappoints and never bores the viewer. This is an outstanding movie."