On the Bowery (1957)
Average Rating: 9.1/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 1
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Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 230
New York, the 50s, stark, sharp, beautiful black and white: men sleeping on the street, on park benches, in doorways (one reading an old Esquire stretched out on a pushcart); men being rousted by the cops, being kicked out of bars, arguing at the top of their lungs; men listening to patently sincere pep talks from recovered drunks at the mission, marking out their spots on the floor for the night with newspapers, looking up through the chicken wire ceilings over their beds at the flophouse:
Jan 1, 1957 Wide
Apr 2, 2012
Milestone Film - Official Site
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"On the Bowery" offers some of the most indelible faces in an American docudrama, faces ravaged by alcohol and poverty, creased by defeat and self-deception, surrounded by a New York City that does not care. Yet no one on screen asks for pity.
On the Bowery runs only 65 minutes, but by the end you can feel skid row in your bones.
Shot on 16mm in black-and-white with a Bolex camera, the results remain stunningly authentic.
This landmark documentary disturbs and compels as much today in a new 35mm restoration as it did when it opened in 1956 to both criticism and acclaim.
As a record of a time and a place in the history of New York, it's essential. As a depiction of men at the bottom of their lives, it has the same sorrowful, accusatory force as a great Depression-era photograph by Dorothea Lange or Walker Evans.
A fine-grained picture of stasis, both on the street and in the faces of lifers shuffling into gin mills and flophouses.
The remarkably crisp black and white photography shows what life on the street was really like for the down and outs living on the Bowery.
The film is a fascinating bit of Americana, an indelible portrait of another time and place...stunning
...the raw footage captured by cinematographer Richard Bagley's Bolex is so powerful that any concerns about moviemaking conventions simply fall by the wayside.
A portrait of the ravages of alcoholism so vivid that I cannot off-hand think of any equivalent.
Shot on Manhattan's virtually resurrected street of broken persons, the film is a snapshot of gin mills, flophouses and human wrecks, once known as "winos" for their addiction to cheap, fortified wine.
This is a primal story of survival and trust set in what was one of the worst places in the world.
Fascinating for urban and film historians, but also a moving tribute to film's timeless power to illuminate social issues. See with new The Perfect Team:The Making of.
Revival of a startling 1956 film reminds us the "good old days" weren't so good for everyone.
Audience Reviews for On the Bowery
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