Clockers (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Clockers (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Clockers Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A "clocker" is a petty urban drug dealer. The grim realities of clockers' lives provides the basis for this gritty drama from filmmaker Spike Lee that offers a potent message calling for poor urban blacks to quit fighting each other. The story centers on Strike, a 19-year old drug dealer who is first seen hanging out with his buddies and doing a little business on a bench in the Brooklyn projects. The trouble really begins when Strike agrees to help out the local drug lord Rodney by killing one of his rivals. The murder occurs, but the actual killer is never shown. Later Strike's serious, hard-working brother Victor confesses to the crime. That should be the end of that, but it isn't,as homicide detective Rocco Klein doesn't buy Victor's confession for a second. The policeman becomes obsessed with the case and his partner Larry goes along for the ride. Klein then begins harassing his real suspect, Strike. The constant badgering makes it difficult for Spike to conduct his business, and eventually, even his own pals begin to suspect him of the killing. Spike is further harassed by both a black cop and Rodney, who doesn't want Spike horning in on his territory.more
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Spike Lee, Richard Price
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 5, 1999
MCA Universal Home Video


Harvey Keitel
as Rocco Klein
John Turturro
as Larry Mazilli
Delroy Lindo
as Rodney Little
Mekhi Phifer
as Strike Dunham
Isaiah Washington
as Victor Dunham
Keith David
as Andre the Giant
Regina Taylor
as Iris Jeeter
Tom Byrd
as Errol Barnes
Paul Calderon
as Jesus at Hambones
Brendan Kelly
as Big Chief
Mike Starr
as Thumper
Graham Brown
as Mr. Herman Brown
Steve White
as Darryl Adams
Spike Lee
as Chucky
Harry Lennix
as Bill Walker
Bray Poor
as Detective No. 1
Craig McNulty
as Detective No. 2
Christopher Wynkoop
as Detective No. 3
Paul Schulze
as Detective No. 4
Donald Stephenson
as Detective No. 5
John Fletcher
as Al the Medic
J.C. MacKenzie
as Frank the Medic
David Evanson
as Smart Mike
Norman Matlock
as Reverend Paul
Isaac Fowler
as Charles
Leonard Thomas
as Onion the Bar Patron
L.B. Williams
as Bike Cop
Maurice Sneed
as Davis the Bartender
Jeff Ward
as Bike Cop
Marc Webster
as EMS Technician
Calvin E. Hart
as Guard No. 1
James Saxenmeyer
as EMS Attendant
Joanna Gardner
as Corrections Officer
Rick Aiello
as Cop No. 2
Ron Brice
as Dead Man Begging
Anthony Nacerino
as Teen No. 1
Brian Konowal
as Teen No. 2
Carlo Vogel
as Teen No. 4
Harvey Williams
as `Pick Me Up' Kid
Michael Cullen
as Narc No. 1
Tim Kelleher
as Narc No. 2
Skipp Dudduth
as Narc No. 3
Larry Mullane
as Larry the Narc
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Clockers

Critic Reviews for Clockers

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (14)

There is a force and focus in Lee's work, an absence of intellectual posturing and a willingness to let his material speak for itself that he has not achieved before.

Full Review… | September 22, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The performances are strong, but the spectator often feels adrift in an overly busy intrigue.

Full Review… | September 22, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A study of the urban dope-dealing culture and its toll on everyone who comes in contact with it, the picture has an insider's feel that is constantly undercut by the filmmaker's impulse to editorialize.

Full Review… | June 9, 2008
Top Critic

The result is a more sober, mournful and meditative expressionism than you'd expect. That's not to say the film isn't suspenseful, but the director's distaste for the inner city's gun culture is clear to see. Superbly acted.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Clockers leaves you with a sense of aching sadness, a regretful melancholy for the lives that have been blasted and the wrong decisions that have been made. Once again, Spike Lee has done the right thing.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
The Moving Picture Show

Spike Lee brings way too much baggage for the movie to work.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Clockers


Based on a novel by Richard Price, who co-wrote the script with director Spike Lee, this is a grim and gritty look at how a police procedural affects the residents of an inner city neighborhood during the aftermath of a murder and the subsequent investigation.

There are many players here, but the film predominately follows Strike (Mekhi Phifer)- a "clocker" or street-level drug dealer who works for businessman/supplier Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo). Though Rodney had illegal business dealings, he is also shown to be a mentor to the local youth, and he does give them guidance and opportunities, even if they aren't necessarily the most positive of things.

Strike finds himself in deep when he gets involved in the investigation of the murder of one of Rodney's rivals- a man Strike was told to get rid off. While the film does eventually reveal the truth, the bulk of the story probes whether or not Strike actually committed the murder. Besides pressure from Rodney, fellow clockers, and his own conscience, Strike also has to deal with the main cops on the case, played by Harvey Keitel and John Turturro.

This seems like a nice, simple, intimate story, and I would have been thrilled had it just stuck to being that. Instead, this small story is blown up, and used as merely a driving force in a broader story about the trials and tribulations of inner city life, specifically the issue of black on black crime.

I'm not as thrilled that this film was expanded into a lengthy epic, but I don't think that's a major issue. By having the film become so drawn out and broad, things tend to lose steam and focus from time to time, and the meandering leads to the grit and intensity losing their edge once in a while. But, when the film is on target, it's really on target, and makes for some compelling, well done, and entertaining cinema.

It's a decently well shot film, and the art direction and set design are suitably grimy, gritty, and show the plight of people in the inner city. An issue that really gets to me though is the music. Sometimes it's fine, but at others, it really clashes and sticks out. I'm all for ironic uses of music, but it's not really done all that well here, and seems kinda corny.

We do get some good performances though, and the themes and ideas are well established, but then again, I'd expect no less from Lee. The film does have its problems, but I don't think they're egregious enough to keep me from giving it the grade that I am.

You have to be in the right frame of mind, but if you can tap into this film's groove, and are wanting a broad tale, then sure, give this a look.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

"See, dis is where all da money at, ma lil nigga. how you think i got dat fat-ass train set ova dere?"

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer

It's enjoyable at times, but it was a lot more of a small scope compared to Lee's other movies. When it wants to be political it's too obvious, but the rest of the movie is just a mediocre crime drama. Harvey Keitel, John Turturro and Mekhi Phifer all gave great performances, but then again Isaiah Washington was horrible. Really it's only interesting to people who are Spike Lee completists or fans of the individual stars. Otherwise, there's a lot better handled projects out there.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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