Mean Streets (1973)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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. … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Martin Scorsese, Mardik Martin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 17, 2004
Warner Bros.


as Johnny Boy

as Teresa

as Giovanni

as Girl at Party

as Mario

as Assassin

as Jewish girl

as Vietnam Veteran

as Black Cop

as George

as Girl at Party

as Woman on the Landing

as Young Boy #1
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Mean Streets

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Critic Reviews for Mean Streets

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (6)

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

Full Review… | March 31, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 31, 2008
Top Critic

One of the best American films of the decade.

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

Full Review… | April 16, 2013

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

Full Review… | March 3, 2013

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

Full Review… | August 8, 2012
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Mean Streets


If I was a Scorsese devotee this would be a higher grade but the film does have a fantastically gritty feeling and tremendous acting by Keitel and De Niro.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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.

Alex roy

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.

paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

Mean Streets Quotes

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– Submitted by Floyd H (2 years ago)

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