A Bronx Tale - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Bronx Tale Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2008
Derivative of Scorsese's work while sampling Spike Lee and John Singleton, De Niro's directorial debut is affecting and appealing to the eyes. It's a lighter watch than Goodfellas or Do The Right Thing because of the nostalgic tone that underpins it all, and most of the time, it's authentic. The romantic subplot and the stuttering final half-hour are downsides, but in all it's a subtly powerful film, and something I'm sure I'd enjoy watching again.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2012
A Bronx Tale is a near flawless, brilliant coming of age film mixed with elements of a traditional gangster film. Robert De Niro directs his feature length debut with flair, and the result is a stunning, well crafted piece of cinema that is very well acted, paced and directed. De Niro's flair as director and actor is immaculate and he possesses a gift to tell an engaging and compelling story. A Bronx Tale is essential viewing for fans of gangster cinema and is a refreshing take on the traditional story as well. De Niro's directing immaculate, and he understands how to craft a solid, memorable, well acted picture that is sure to please viewers looking for an effective and memorable ride throughout 1960's New York. Brilliant in its performances, the standout being Chazz Palminteri (who also wrote the film) delivers the best performance of all, I think he was a great choice to play Sonny, and let's face it, Palminteri looks the part of a mob boss.This is a well crafted film that is among one of the best gangster films in the early 90's. Of course it's no Goodfellas, but it definitely has something special going for it. The performance alone make this film what it is, and it's a wonderful, unforgettable film that balances the crime film genre along with the coming of Age elements that delivers something unique on-screen. This is a fine film worth checking out and it has a well executed story that is sure to appeal to gangster film fans. Robert De Niro delivers a stunning debut feature, and it is quite different from previous roles that he has done. A Bronx Tale is filmmaking at its finest.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2006
For his directorial debut, Robert De Niro looked to Chazz Palminteri's script (based on his somewhat autobiographical play), and the result is something very phenomenal.

Using the coming of age format, A Bronx Tale is a helping of gangster movie with a few scoops of Romeo and Juliet-esque romance thrown in to tell the story of Calogero, a young Italian kid whose loyalties are torn between his hard working, stern, but caring father Lorenzo the bus driver, and Sonny, the flashy criminal figure who operates right down the street as he grows up during the racially divided and tense Bronx of the 1960s.

While the film does contain strong shades fo Scorsese (really, how could it not?) the film avoids being a clone and is instead a rich and wonderfully observed story about differing views and philosophical beliefs, and how they work (both separately and together) to shape how someone grows up, perceives the world, and lives their life. One of the particular dimensions that is really appropriate that gets dealt with is race relations, and it is here where there are some really nice and quite moving scenes, which hit harder when taken into the broader context of Calogero's life.

There's some typical gangster stuff, but De Niro treats the material with just the right touch- not shying away from it, but not going overboard. I really liked these scenes, but I think I enjoyed the other stuff involving his father and the race relations a bit more. My only real complaint is that I think the latter two could have each been dealt with just a bit more. They get decent coverage, but still, the film clearly has a favorite, even if the contest is a close one.

As far as performances go, De Niro is really good as Lorenzo, He brings a great sense of authenticity and wisdom, and it's neat seeing a gnagster movie where De Niro isn't a hood. Chazz Palminteri, since the material is his, was probably the only really appropriate choice for Sonny, and he too is excellent. Francis Capra is fine as the younger Caolgero, but Lilo Brancato, Jr. is really terrific, a revelation perhaps, as the older "C". For her part, Taral Hicks is pretty good as well as Jane, "C"'s potential (forbidden) love interest.

The Scorsese influence is undenianble, what with the subject mattter, and especially the music choices (as well as a couple of homage scenes), but ultimately De Niro makes the film his own, and proves that, despite putting a significant amount of focus into his performances over the years, he paid quite a lot of attenton to what the crew were doing as well. It's a shame he doesn't direct more often.

All in all, a fantastic film with great messages that, while not always totally subtle, never gets too preachy or overbearing. I definitely give this one a high recommendation.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2007
This was one of the first gangster films I saw I think, as a kid. Its really good, and rather under rated, the story of growing up in the Bronx with the hoods is a common one but done really well here, Palminteri is cool and quite scary as the calm yet tough hood leader. De Niro for once is not a gangster here but good as a caring father showing the struggle between father and gangster influence, well performed. You do care for the characters here and the outcome is not clear from the start, it all looks good, sounds good, alittle cliched with the characters but thats hard to avoid with this genre. Well performed throughout, the young kids at the start are very impressive too, shame it tends to be forgotten.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
Not really my type of film, but with a cast this good, it proved to be rather entertaining. It was too long and I did get bored throughout and away from all the violence and hate it's a nice little film about companionship and love. Calogero really looked up to Sonny and they had a friendship many people would be jealous of.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2007
De Niro and Palimentieri go head to head over De Niro's son - a wonderful story!

De Niro is a Bronx bus driver with a little son, Calergeo. As growing up in the Bronx, De Niro trys his best to set him on the straight and narrow. But when he and his son's paths crosses with the local mobster, Calergeo begins to see another side to life and learns a different set of life lessons from the mobster who treats him like a brother, despite his father's disapproval. As Calergeo grows older and finally begins to make decisions for himself, he must then realise and choose where his loyalty must lie and decide how he wants his life to be, measuring the the strict, traditional life style of his fathers to the eye-opening, more relaxed ideas of the world from the mobster, who believes oppurtunity is the key to get ahead.

A story about growing up and being one's own person - very rare and rarely done this well.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2009
De Niro's bright directorial debut is a gangster movie with a difference - one with warmth and sensitivity. The vibrant voice-over narration and development of its young protagonist Calogero (a character based on Palminteri) provide it, against a traditionally colourful look at Italian American neighbourhood archetypes.

Taking place in 'The Bronx' of the 1960s, Palminteri's screenplay achieves the commendable feat of detailing a glamorous, sometimes humorous look at familiar gangster territory, without straining from the intimate coming of age story at its heart.

Among the many themes examined include the importance of friendship, loyalty towards family, and moral lessons of never wasting your talent and respecting others for who they are. Familiar stuff, but examined with a different kind of richness here.

First seen aged 9 (Francis Capra), the Yankee supporting 'C' takes us through a daily stroll of life in his neighbourhood and his early seduction by the lifestyle of his idol Sonny. To C, Sonny is a paragon of gangster glamour, with his fearful or loving (we're never sure) associates, sky blue Cadillac and the cool use of just three figures to make a point.

With Calogero appearing in virtually every scene, the depth he gives to his story is one to rival Henry Hill's in Goodfellas, though the two tales could hardly be any different. Calogero's focus is not on gaining power and joining the ranks of Mafiosos, but of growing up to learn some basic life lessons.

His moral growth is assisted by two contrasting father figures: his honest-working father, who is proud of driving a bus all day so his family is able to eat steak once a week, and the ready-made wealth of Sonny.

Initially, Calogero acts merely as a bystander, watching on outside his house whenever Sonny is around, imitating his every action as a way of gaining his attention. Nothing happens, Calogero tells us, until one day.

Sonny takes the kid under his wing, offering him a job throwing dice in crap games, for which he wins Sonny's crowd big money, and earns a share of it himself. Sonny understands the boy, respects him like an adult and talks to him without condescending.

The excellent screenplay by Chazz Palminteri provides the easiest possible platform for De Niro, who doesn't need to direct with the innovative intensity of his mentor Martin Scorsese, for the events detailed are simple enough to come vividly to life.

He only a similar rock n roll soundtrack, with the songs chosen shrewdly to comment on the action. His performance as Lorenzo is also a mature one, only once recalling his wise-guy roles of past, when he postures to his son over the concept of money.

Palminteri as Sonny manages to humanise an erratic, charismatic character that, in different hands, would not have worked. His story is clearly a labour of love, nostalgic without touching sentimentality, with infectious dialogue, fine set pieces, moral lessons and characters being served realistically by the story.

Passionate, warm, classical storytelling. What C calls "just another Bronx Tale" is a very special experience.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2009
It is a very well acted movie, but aside from that it is empty. Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri gave great performances and really had well rounded characters. The film is watchable and fun, but it is nothing but a straight adaption from the play. I feel like I was cheated out out of what could've been a great movie.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2007
Pretty much a copy of Goodfellas, mixed with a touch of West Side Story. Even though De Niro's directing doesn't quite match up to Scorsese's masterfulness, this is still a great movie with some good messages, without ever being too preachy. In fact, I would definitely say it's one of the best mobster movies ever made, and has a lot more heart and feeling to it than (for example) the much overrated Godfather trilogy. My only complaint concerns the pacing, which I thought could have been a little better. I would also have liked to see Joe Pesci in a bigger role, because it's a real waste of talent to not have him appear until the last few minutes of the movie.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2007
Utterly brilliant! In De Niro's directional debut, we see him taking a back seat as a supporting actor in this film as Chazz Palminteri, takes his one man stage show to the big screen.

Based on some true events in Chazz Palminteri's life growing up, A Bronx Tale saw freshly plucked actors and actresses take the main parts next to De Niro and Palminteri, in order to keep the film authentic.

A Bronx Tale is a film of many layers, from the star crossed lovers, who's friends and families are against each other in a race war, to the impressionable young boy, who is raised with two father figures, one an honest hard working man, the other a mafia boss who provides glamour and money, but also, violence and mistrust.

This film contains some of my favourite film quotes, along with a perfectly chosen soundrack, which emphasizes scenes all the way through the movie to add to the already powerful piece.

Chazz Palminteri, really makes this character his own and for me, sets a benchmark to which other Gangster bosses should be measured against throughout this movie genre.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2008
An uncensored television version of Goodfellas. DeNiro and Chazz are good, but the kids and the racial love story got on my nerves. I like the scene between the bikers and the goombas. I guess Marty was there that day and gave him some hints.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2008
A film by De Niro that went unnoticed in every aspect. Robert De Niro in a mob movie with a pacifist role? Yea no violence by De Niro which probably turned some people off, still a good movie though.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2007
I caught this movie on AMC, and thought I'd watch it just because there was nothing else on. Turns out, it was one of the better movies I ever seen. A boy growing up in the Racial 60's, finds himself caught between two fatherly figures, one an honest man, that dissaproves of his relationship with the other, an italian gangster.
The plot is awesome, and so is everything else!
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2007
Great directorial debut from Robert de Niro. Very powerful.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2006
A great movie. Kind of like the respectable second cousin to Goodfellas.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2012
A Bronx Tale is a great crime film with strong themes. De Niro proves he is talented on many levels by acting in and directing the film at the same time. This film is mainly about decision making, depicting the childhood of a young Italian kid named Calogero who gets involved with the mob. He witnesses a murder and defends the murderer (played by Chazz Palminteri) because he didn't want to take the heat from the mafia if he were to identify him as the killer. The film proves people do bad things not because they want to but for the sake of everyone's well being. It also deals with racism incredibly well: Calogero starts a relationship with a black girl named Jane. Calogero's dad (Robert De Niro) tells him to think it over simply because they aren't the same race while his now mafia-mentor (Chazz Palminteri) tells him to continue seeing her. I liked how De Niro gave the race perspective to the "bad guy" while De Niro (the proposed good guy) came off as prejudice. A Bronx Tale closes very well, similar to the rest of the film.
Super Reviewer
½ June 6, 2007
For a long time, A Bronx Tale had distribution problems, was out of print, and was widely unavailable. For those reasons, I hadn't seen it since I was a kid. Watching it again years later, not only did I realize just how good a movie it is, but I also found that I took a lot more out of it. While being widely considered as one of the best mafia movies of all time, A Bronx Tale actually has a deeper meaning, which is not to waste the talent you have in the time you are given. I was also surprised to learn that this story is in fact the true story of Chazz Palminteri's childhood, with Chazz being a nickname for Calogero. For those of you who don't know the story, it's about the son of a bus driver, who grows up in the Bronx, right down the block from a mafia hangout. While this boy learns different things from his real family and his mafia family, who are always at odds, they actually both want the same things for this kid. A Bronx Tale isn't just another gangster movie, there is some of that, but it's really an inspirational coming of age tale that I found to be very eye opening. The cast is of course fantastic, featuring Robert De Niro, who directs and stars in the film, along with Palminteri, who wrote the film. The true irony of A Bronx Tale is surrounded by the true story of Lillo Brancato, the boy who plays Calogero. As I said the story is about discovering right from wrong and not wasting your talent, something Brancato did when he was convicted of an armed robbery, which led to the death of an off-duty police officer. There are many sides to that, but I felt it necessary to mention how ironic it is that the message of the film is actually lost on one it's stars. In closing, A Bronx Tale really is a lost gem, that lives up to all the hype, and I hope that now that's streaming on Netflix, a whole new generation will be exposed to the message it puts out there for them to hear.
Super Reviewer
March 4, 2012
"The saddest thing in life is wasted talent." It's ironic how the boy that played C got 10 years in prison. His talent has been wasted. It's not a complete loss he could practice his acting skills in the joint so he can score parts when he gets out. But getting t the actual review. This film was fantastic. The script was the best part. Very well writing that could interest all men. There where so many great one liners. The writing didn't get out of plot, it was all necessary. I heard that this had a couple of plot holes. It didn't of course, people just don't like to think for themselves. So when they see something that isn't explained in the film they say it's a plot hole. If you like films with amazing stories then this is the right one for you. If you like mobster films then you should add this to your collection. The acting is also good they where good with there accents. Made me wish I where Italian. I think I am actually part Italian. At least I know the slang and curse words. The directing to this by Robert De Niro was also good. Good cut scenes good editing and all that good stuff. I really liked the way the story was told. Thanks to an adept cast with chemistry this was made into a great film.
Super Reviewer
½ February 16, 2007
An incredible story of a power struggle between a father, and a gangster....over the father's son. Overlooked Oscar worthy performances between Robert DeNiro and Chazz Palminteri.
Anthony L.
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2012
"Is it better to be loved or feared" - Calogero Anello, A Bronx Tale

A Bronx Tale is a kind of treasure. It is surely one of the best gangster films i've ever seen. This film incoporates both the "coming of age" genre and also the crime which makes this quite a unique movie. I have to say that this is most likely De Niro's greatest acheivement in his career. He gives a masterful performance as Lorenzo who is a caring father, a hardworking man and also a man of morals. Chazz Palminteri gives the best performance of his career, playing a gangster who treats Calogero like his own son. Throughout the whole film you see what these two guys do to take care of Calogero. Both of them care for Calogero equally but there is a difference between the two. One has money and all the riches and the other, is a working man. Naturally as a human, you tend to listen to the one who has money. Like Lorenzo said in the film " You don't understand: it's not what you say, it's what he sees, the clothes, the cars, the money, it's everything". As Calogero grows older, he starts to understand and at the end, you can see that he truly understand what his father and what Sonny had been telling him all along. " The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever". Although this is said by his father many times throughout the movie, there is a feeling of emotional satisfaction at the end of the film. To conclude, this film is great. It is well acted, well directed, well written and it has all the components of a perfect film.
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