The Public Eye (1992)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Howard Franklin wrote and directed this film noir character study based on the famed New York Daily News photographer Weegee. Joe Pesci plays a character named Bernstein, a freelance photographer for the New York City tabloids of the 1940s. His life is dedicated to his work; with a police radio under the dashboard of his car and a darkroom in his trunk, he quickly and efficiently races to the scene of crimes, accidents and murders to snap photographs of gangsters, politicians, cops, and prostitutes, which he promptly delivers to the newspapers. His knack for arriving at a crime scene before the police earns him the nickname the Great Bernzini. The trouble begins for Bernstein when he agrees to look up a gangster for Kay (Barbara Hershey), the sexy owner of a fancy Manhattan nightclub. After making inquiries, Bernstein traces the man Kay is looking for, but he turns up dead. When he informs the police, he becomes a suspect in the murder; it also turns out that the FBI is interested the case. Bernstein then uncovers an elaborate conspiracy concerning gas rationing, the mob, and the government.
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

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Joe Pesci
as Leon `Bernzy' Bernstein
Barbara Hershey
as Kay Levitz
Stanley Tucci
as Sal Minetto
Jerry Adler
as Arthur Nabler
Jared Harris
as Danny the Doorman
Gerry Becker
as Conklin
Del Close
as H.R. Rineman
Richard Foronjy
as Farinelli
Tim Gamble
as Agt. Chadwick
Richard Riehle
as Officer O'Brien
David Gianopoulos
as Portofino
Max Brooks
as Teen at Thompson Street
Laura Cerone
as Puerto Rican Woman
Richard Schiff
as Photographer at Thompson Street
Laura Cerón
as Puerto Rican Woman
Chuck Gillespie
as Cop, Puerto Rican Tenement
Bryan Smith
as Young Cop
Christian Stolti
as Ambulance Attendant
Jack Denbo
as Photo Editor
Ellen McElduff
as Lonely Woman at Drugstore
Marge Kotlisky
as Rineman's Receptionist
Timothy Hendrickson
as Richard Rineman
Henry Bolzon
as Photographer at Cafe
Kevin Dorsey
as Singer
Mick McGovern
as Cop with Hood
Maurice Bravo
as 1st Photographer
Tom Lauricella
as 2nd Photographer
George Lugg
as 3rd Photographer
Vinny Argiro
as Sergeant at Police Station
David Hull
as Thatcher White
Kyle Moore
as Young Agent
Bob Gunton
as Older Agent
Peter Maloney
as Federal Watchman
Randall Stanton
as Federal Guard
Jason Wells
as Garage Attendant
Joe Guzaldo
as Spoleto's Lieutenant
Al Mancini
as Camera Shop Clerk
Ian Abercrombie
as Mr. Brown
Nick Tate
as Henry Haddock Jr.
Jean Zarzour
as Sal's Wife
Toni Fleming
as Sal's Mother
Teresa di Marco
as Mrs. D'Angelo
Guido DiMarco
as Mr. D'Angelo
Teresa DiMarco
as Mrs. D'Angelo
Phil Locker
as Arresting Cop
Shay Duffin
as Chief of Police
Joe V. Greco
as Villa Guard/Hitman
John Farris
as Albert Gerard
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Critic Reviews for The Public Eye

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (4)

In its moody, daffy way, The Public Eye gives off an authentic reek of artistic compulsion.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Top Critic

Plays as if a moody 1940's noir film.

Full Review… | August 15, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A period noir thriller, in which Pesci plays one of his few lead roles as Leon (Bernzy)Bernstein, a magician behind the lens with an eye for life's darker side blessed with the soul of an artist

Full Review… | October 9, 2006

Quote not available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Quote not available.

October 9, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Quote not available.

June 9, 2004
New Times

Audience Reviews for The Public Eye


Excellent take on the film noir genre from the point of view of a scandal mag paparazzi photographer. Pesci superbly plays the grubby photographer in way over his head and dodging bullets left and right and always coming out just ahead. Deserved a far higher profile and appreciation than it ever received theatrically.

Mark Nash
Mark Nash

Seriously underrated noir with a great performance by Pesci. This film really needs, and is really deserving of a DVD release!

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

Gorgeous-looking film noir with great performances by Pesci and Hershey (who is *beautiful* in this.) The film has a good "tabloid" like feel with great sets and colors. Definitely worth a look.

Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn

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