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Mean Streets (1973)



Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 50
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 1

Mean Streets is a powerful tale of urban sin and guilt that marks Scorsese's arrival as an important cinematic voice and features electrifying performances from Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro.


Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

Mean Streets is a powerful tale of urban sin and guilt that marks Scorsese's arrival as an important cinematic voice and features electrifying performances from Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 52,810

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Movie Info

"You don't make up for your sins in church; you do it in the streets; you do it at home. The rest is bulls--t, and you know it." Returning to the autobiographical milieu of his 1968 debut Who's That Knocking at My Door? for his third feature, Martin Scorsese examined the daily struggles of a wannabe hood to keep his morals straight on the streets of Little Italy. Driven equally by his wish to become a respectable gangster like his uncle (Cesare Danova) and his desire to live his life like St.


Drama, Classics

Martin Scorsese

Aug 17, 2004

Warner Bros.

Watch It Now


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All Critics (50) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (1) | DVD (25)

The acting and editing have such an original, tumultuous force that the picture is completely gripping.

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scorsese is exceptionally good at guiding his largely unknown cast to near-flawless recreations of types. Outstanding in this regard is De Niro.

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the best American films of the decade.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

No matter how bleak the milieu, no matter how heartbreaking the narrative, some films are so thoroughly, beautifully realized they have a kind of tonic effect that has no relation to the subject matter.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its greatness lies in its leanness, with nary a word, a move, a gesture that's nonessential.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In countless ways, right down to the detail of modern TV crime shows, Mean Streets is one of the source points of modern movies.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This marriage of indelible imagery with electric, seemingly incongruous pop songs wouldn't be bettered until, well, the next time Scorsese decided to do it.

April 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Scorsese exalts cinema as the mediator of reality, memory and reverie, the demonic art that enthralls the church boy

March 3, 2013 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Features an attention-grabbing performance by Robert De Niro, but I maintain that Harvey Keitel's excellent central performance has always been critically undervalued.

August 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing | Comment (1)
Creative Loafing

Authentic in feel and immensely personal in subject matter, Mean Streets marked the arrival of one Martin Scorsese and his unique brand of urban filmmaking.

March 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

showcases Scorsese's artistic strengths and weaknesses as they stood at the outset of his career

August 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

"Mean Streets" is more than a rambunctious time capsule of Italian American experience, it is groundbreaking film that announces the career of a truly original voice in world cinema.

May 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Radar
Daily Radar

Passionate, energetic, stylistically inventive and personally driven, it is the first mature, full blooded "Martin Scorsese Film."

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

Martin Scorsese's first great American crime story

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

"Mean Streets" is more than a rambunctious time capsule of Italian American experience, it is groundbreaking film that announces the career of a truly original voice in world cinema.

June 14, 2008 Full Review Source:

[I] commend it without reservation.

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The movie's blazing energy is still astounding; the vérité street-scenes are terrific and Scorsese's pioneering use of popular music is genuinely thrilling.

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

A tight, intense masterpiece from Scorsese, writing collaborator Mardik Martin and the iconic stars.

March 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Exploring male camaraderie and street violence in a humorous, spontaneous, and nonjudgmental way, Mean Streets (Scorsese's third film) is arguably the most influential film of the 1970s.

February 21, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

A modern masterpiece where the setting is the star, even among a cast that is highlighted by Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Views

The film feels authentic, the characters are true, the situation hopeless

June 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinemania

This film showed the world that a major talent had arrived on the scene.

January 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid.

November 10, 2005 | Comments (25)
New Times

Audience Reviews for Mean Streets

Martin Scorsese is one of the undisputed masters of gangster cinema. His genre films are raw, gritty, intense and unforgettable. Before he filmed Taxi Driver, he directed Mean Streets, one of the finest gangster pictures of the 1970's. This is a powerful picture and is a must see for Scorsese fans. With a great cast at his disposal, Scorsese crafts a film with a well executed plot that is engaging from start to finish. Mean Streets seems a bit overlooked due to the fact that Scorsese would go on to direct other more well known crime films such as Goodfellas and Casino, but with Mean Streets you clearly see a director who knows how to make a movie that can captivate the viewer. Mean Streets is one of the finest crime films that I have seen, and with a great cast that deliver some stunning performances, this is a finely crafted film that only Scorsese could pull off. Along with The Godfather, this is a memorable addition to the gangster genre, and is a must watch for genre fans. Mean Streets boasts a compelling story that redefined the genre. Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel are great here, and make the film what it is by delivering some standout performances. If you love classic crime films in the vein of The Godfather, then you're sure to enjoy this film. Mean Streets is a standout crime picture that showcases Martin Scorsese's directing talents perfectly. Crime films are often hard to pull off, but Scorsese always seems to create something worthwhile to watch. He is clearly at ease in the genre, and he is always at the top of his game when making a picture due to the fact that he is affine filmmaker.
June 17, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

For one of Scorcese's first, its one of his finest. The acting was great and the cinematography was raw. There is a certain feel that most Scorcese dramas have where the mood is never uplifting and the ending is uncertain. This is one of those Scorcese films.
October 20, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

Scorsese shows us early in his career that he is someone you can count on. Exellent begin of a awesome future. Very solid movie. A lot of very good performances. But Harvey Keitel is just wonderful.
November 29, 2011
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

Scorsese's first masterpiece, DeNiro in his first great role.
October 28, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

    1. Old man: You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it.
    – Submitted by Whit D (10 months ago)
    1. Johnny Boy: I fuck you right where you breath, because I don't give two shits about you or nobody else.
    – Submitted by Adam O (20 months ago)
    1. Giovanni: Honorable men go with honorable men.
    – Submitted by Floyd H (24 months ago)
    1. Johnny Boy: I fuck you right where you breath...
    – Submitted by Floyd H (24 months ago)
    1. Charlie: I guess you could safely say that things haven't gone so well tonight. But I'm tryin' Lord, I'm tryin'.
    – Submitted by Kia M (24 months ago)
    1. Charlie: [voice-over] The pain in hell has two sides: the kind you can touch with your hand, the kind you can feel in your heart; your soul, the spiritual side. And ya know, the worst of the two is the spiritual.
    – Submitted by Kia M (24 months ago)
View all quotes (9)

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