Turn up the Sinatra, put on a leather jacket, and slip into a rollicking, high-voltage movie that produces tears of laughter (New York Daily News). Mickey Rourke (The Rainmaker), EricRoberts (National Security, Runaway T... more »rain) and Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Splash) create emotion-charged characters who tingle with energy and play with conviction (The Hollywood Reporter) in this modern-day classic that's as robust and powerful as Italianespresso! In New York's Little Italy, smooth-talking hustler Charlie (Rourke) works in a restaurant and dreams of one day buying his own with his girlfriend Diane (Hannah). His wiry wheeler-dealer cousin Paulie (Roberts) waits tables, skims money off checks and is always scheming to score big. Butthey're all about to pull a scam on the wrong guyBed Bug Eddie (Burt Young, Rocky), the Mafia king of Greenwich Village! Now these small-time con men are in big-time troubletrouble so big that even their mobster uncle might not be able to save them!« less
"Italians don't outgrow people. They outgrow clothes,"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 10/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After watching The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), I checked on here and was surprised to see relatively few reviews. Maybe people aren't all that aware of the movie, or maybe they're put off by the fact that one of its' stars is Mickey Rourke (or The Human Ashtray, as actress Kim Basinger once referred to him as), an actor who showed a lot of promise early in his career (some called him the next Brando) but eventually fell from grace due to his poor choice of film roles, grandiose ego, erratic behavior, and slovenly demeanor.
The Pope of Greenwich Village, mostly directed by Stuart Rosenberg, who also did one of my favorite films in Cool Hand Luke (1967), stars Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Burt Young, who many probably remember most as Sylvester Stallone's brother-in-law from the Rocky films. Also appearing are Kenneth McMillan (Dune, Cat's Eye), Jack Kehoe (Midnight Run), M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner), and Geraldine Page (The Trip to Bountiful). Also, it is noted that Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) made some uncredited directorial contributions to the film, but the extent of his involvement is unclear. I believe he was the original director, but then either quit or got fired...they're a temperamental lot out there in Hollywood...
Set in the Italian section of New York's Greenwich Village, the film features two characters, Charlie (Rourke), a well-dressed maitre d' with aspirations of someday owning his own restaurant, and Paulie (Roberts), Charlie's ever-scheming cousin who works in the same restaurant as Charlie, as a waiter. After Paulie gets caught skimming the checks (let's say the table orders six entrees...Paulie charges them for six, but then only reports three, pocketing the difference), both he and Charlie get canned. Now out of work and bills up the wazoo, Charlie must now find another job, but Paulie, who's got plans to buy into a racehorse, comes forth with a scheme, based on a tip, of a large amount of cash located in a safe of a local business. Reluctant, but needing the money, Charlie agrees to participate, and they do manage to crack the safe with help from an accomplice played by McMillan, but shortly things go sour, resulting in an accidental death of a cop. Not only that, but Charlie soon learns that the money they took belongs local psychotic Mob boss `Bedbug Eddie' (Young), something Paulie neglected to mention, who is more put off by the fact someone had the nerve to rob him, rather than the missing money. Let's just say Eddie's not too happy about the situation, and when Eddie's not happy, people tend to lose body parts.
I really enjoyed this film. I thought Rourke did well, playing his role very cool and calm, with a level of subtly he has since lost, as, I believe, he got too full of himself and became eccentric for the sake of being eccentric. Roberts is wonderful as Paulie, the smarmy, constantly in motion, hyperactive, fast-talking dreamer with a completely perverse sense of logic. An example of that is when he and Charlie just got fired for their restaurant gig, and Charlie is upset with Paulie as it was all his fault, but Paulie doesn't see it that way because if he knew his petty thievery was going to get Charlie fired, he wouldn't have done it...ergo, since he didn't know the outcome, it wasn't his fault. The weakest element in the film, I thought, was Hannah, who played Charlie's girlfriend Diane. There just seemed to be something missing, but this is a minor point as the rest of the actors, mostly seasoned pros, support the story well, especially that of Burt Young. I don't think his role required any great stretch for him, but he was definitely fun to watch. The real standout performance for me was that of Geraldine Page. Even though she only appeared in two scenes, and had about a total of five minutes on screen, she really made and impression (the second scene, in particular), so much so she was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in this film. She didn't win, but she did win a year later for her role in The Trip to Bountiful (1985). The film itself has a very authentic feel, much like that of a film others have mention being Mean Streets (1973), as it appears most of the film was shot on location, instead of on sets and back lots. Ultimately, Pope is a knock off of Mean Streets, but a really good one. I thought the music chosen for the film very good, especially that of Sinatra's Summer Wind, as it really set the mood for the movie well. The film runs right around two hours, but it didn't feel like it, as I was taken in by the story and highly interested in its outcome. Some points the movie did seem to drag a little, but I felt the time was used well as the plot was actually fairly intricate, involving many different elements, including a smattering of humor, raising the film above your standard mafia flick. I was mildly surprised by the lack of violence in the film, and even the most memorable point, a person losing an appendage, is off screen, allowing for the viewer to visualize rather than see it. My three favorite scenes are, in no particular order, the one with Geraldine Page's character talking with the crooked cops, Paulie giving Charlie tips on women, and Charlie and Paulie at the racetrack, looking for that ever elusive winner.
The non-anamorphic wide screen print on this DVD looks pretty good and the audio ain't bad, but it both could be better. MGM provides little in the way of special features, including only a trailer. As far as the meaning of the title of the film? Well, you'll just have to wait until the very end...
A Little Swagger with your Pasta
bevacs | East Side | 01/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Chimes, Charlie, chimes..." The Pope of Greenwich Village was one of the great films of 1984 and offers a visually and thematically telling portrait of two small-time hustlers in Little Italy. Charlie, portrayed brilliantly by Mickey Rourke in his finest performance, is wed, in a brotherly sense, to his second cousin, Paulie, played with equal bravado by Eric Roberts. It is an Italian/NYC version of Of Mice and Men and proves that blood is thicker than water, and even a little thicker than a nice hot cup of laced espresso. Pay particular attention to the wonderful work of Burt Young as Bedbug Eddy -- a local boss that causes Charile and Paulie (not to mention Paulie's "thummmmb") a great deal of grief. Certain lines by Eric Roberts are unforgettable, Rourke's swagger is unparalleled, and great tracks ranging from Frank Sinatra to Mink deVille offer the wonderful back drop of the Village and equal dose of acoustic power. It is a New York movie, it is an Italian-American morality tale -- it's tough and gritty and damn good. Leave the gun, take the canolis...and the movie. -- Mr. Zelig"
An overlooked gem
Rocco Dormarunno | Brooklyn, NY | 06/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released at a time when comedies were measured by the number of exposed women's breasts or the quality of vomiting scenes, THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE was a refreshing movie that had actual character development and humor based on wit, not bodily functions. Paulie and Charlie (Rourke and Roberts) play two citizens of Little Italy that are on the criminal fringe, although they themselves are not criminals. But as they look around them, the criminals of the street are getting richer and the yuppies of the 80s even richer than that. When they are approached by Barney, a locksmith losing his sight (wonderfully portrayed by Kenneth McMillan) who has a plan for a quick score, the two fall in. Once they do, the pasta goes flying.I won't go further into the plot. There are some great supporting performances here: Geraldine Page, Burt Young, Tony Musante, Phillip Bosco, and even Daryl Hannah. The direction is top notch. Check out this little period piece of a neighborhood that is rapidly disappearing."
Deep in New York in the 80's, two likeable schemers survive
Schtinky | California | 11/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie, a half-Irish, half-Italian restaurant manager (played by a very young Mickey Rourke) employs his young cousin Paulie (an equally young Eric Roberts) as a waiter. Charlie wants to do better, and dreams of opening his own restaurant, but Paulie is full of tricks and schemes, always dreaming of ways to become bigger and better.
Paulie spins a dinner check, and gets both Charlie and himself fired from their jobs. Then Charlie finds out his girlfriend Diane (a young and stunning Daryl Hannah) is pregnant. Charlie has enough problems with his ex-wife Cooky and supporting his son Vinnie, so Charlie needs to score big to change his situation. Paulie's got the plan all laid out.
The problem is, Paulie is a screw-up. From investing in a racehorse to planning a break-and-enter, Paulie always seems to overlook the dangers of his schemes. One of my favorite scenes, one that still after all these years brings a smile to my face and a chuckle to my lips, is Paulie's retribution to the surly street cop who administers parking tickets by immediately towing cars.
'Pope' is a fantastic, low-key film with exceptional entertainment value. A great movie from the early 80's that is still poignant. Adding to the flavor, you should have a great time chuckling when you see all the shiny suits, tight pants, and permed hair. The supporting cast is great, with Burt Young playing 'Bedbug' Eddie Grant, Kenneth McMillan playing Barney the safecracker, and Tony Musante as uncle Pete. Put a nice soundtrack with Sinatra's 'Summer Wind' behind it, and you have a tasty, laid back treat to watch when you're feeling mellow. Enjoy! "
The Pope of Greewich Village
Leonard Hecht | United States | 01/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorites of all time. Two cousins turn New York and reality unside down in the quest for some money. The best roles ever for Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts."