Mean Streets

Watch Mean Streets

"You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets..."
  • R
  • 1973
  • 1 hr 52 min
  • 7.2  (119,099)
  • 96

Mean Streets is a gritty and raw film about the lives of small-time criminals in New York City's Little Italy neighborhood in the early 1970s. The movie dives headfirst into the world of Italian-American organized crime, exploring the struggles and moral ambiguities of its characters as they navigate the dangerous underworld they inhabit.

At the center of the story is Charlie (Harvey Keitel), a young man trying to make his way in the world of organized crime by running a bar for his uncle, small-time mobster Giovanni (Cesare Danova). Charlie's best friend is Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro), a reckless and impulsive hoodlum who owes money to everyone in the neighborhood and refuses to pay back his debts. As Johnny Boy's debts pile up, tensions rise and Charlie finds himself caught in the middle, trying to keep the peace and protect his friend.

The film is a masterclass in storytelling, blending elements of crime drama, character study, and social commentary to create a gripping and unforgettable experience. Director Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mardik Martin, draws on his own experiences growing up in Little Italy to create a vivid and authentic portrait of the neighborhood and its inhabitants.

The cinematography, by Kent L. Wakeford, is striking and atmospheric, capturing the dark and gritty feel of the streets and apartments that the characters inhabit. The use of handheld cameras and gritty, naturalistic lighting adds to the sense of immediacy and authenticity, making the viewer feel like they are right in the middle of the action.

One of the film's most notable features is its use of popular music. The soundtrack is filled with classic rock and roll hits from the 1950s and 60s, including songs by The Rolling Stones, The Shirelles, and The Ronettes. The music is not just a backdrop, but an integral part of the film's narrative, reflecting the characters' personal struggles and emotional states.

Another standout feature of the film is its performances. Robert De Niro gives a standout performance as Johnny Boy, embodying the character's reckless charm and dangerous edge. Harvey Keitel is similarly impressive as Charlie, conveying a simmering frustration and quiet desperation beneath his stoic exterior. David Proval is also excellent as Tony, a conflicted enforcer torn between loyalty to his boss and his own sense of morality.

Despite its grim subject matter and unflinching portrayal of violence and criminality, Mean Streets is also a film with heart and soul. It is a deeply personal work for Scorsese, who sees the characters not just as criminals, but as complex individuals struggling to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world. Through their struggles, he explores larger themes of family, loyalty, and the struggle to find meaning and purpose in life.

Overall, Mean Streets is a masterpiece of American cinema and a landmark film in the careers of Scorsese, De Niro, and Keitel. It is a must-see for fans of crime dramas, character studies, and powerful storytelling.

Mean Streets is a 1973 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 96.

Mean Streets
Where to Watch Mean Streets
Mean Streets is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Mean Streets for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 52 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (119,099)
  • Metascore