A Bronx Tale (1993) Review


When Calogero witnesses a crime by the local gangster Sonny he does not rat him out to the police aged 9 and this creates tension with his own father Lorenzo, especially when he has a friendship with Sonny.


A Bronx Tale is a truly fantastic film showing coming of age in a tough neighbourhood with racism included to heighten the tension. Calogero or C as they nickname him or should that be shorten his name? As a 9 year old he witnesses a killing right in front of his house. Seeing Sonny pull the trigger, when the police march him outside to identify the criminal he says no to each man standing in the line up. Then speaking with his father saying he did the right thing by not being a rat, although Lorenzo’s response is that he did a good thing for a bad man.

That was one thing he realised that he would not understand until he was much older. Sonny appreciated what C did for him and even offered Lorenzo a job working for him but he was happy being honest and continuing his job as a bus driver. This is something he uses to try and teach his son that you can work hard and have an honest living.

C had grown up with his friends watching and mimicking the gangsters. His friends aren’t the best for him either Slick, Aldo and Crazy Mario. From the events of them being 9 when are then transported eight years when they are 17. It appears that C has been working and doing things still for Sonny much against his fathers wishes. Then throw in his interest in black girl ?? Who he first sees from the street to the bus. Given the racial tensions at the time this would prove to be very difficult for his family and friends to accept.

This then all leads to choices having to be made for C and some of which would really change his life or see him killed in the process. Managing to really highlight the importance of choices you make a younger ages and how it can have a massive impact on your whole life. A few times we hear C being told that is something you will understand when you get older, everyone can relate to that and will have moments they can link to being told that. It also shows the change in the relationship between father/son as he gets older and into the tough teenage years.

As far as gangster/mob/mafia films go I really do think this is one of the best I have seen. Mainly because if I am totally honest I wasn’t really too sure about it. Isn’t it truly amazing when that happens, when you are on the fence about watching a film and you decide to give it a shot and it blows you away? That is the main thing I adore about watching so many films.

Robert De Niro took on the directing role as well as his more supporting role as Lorenzo. It is a very different role to what you may expect from De Niro given him not actually being a gangster in this one and wanting nothing to do with them. Along with Chazz Palminteri who wrote the play (his one man play) and then screenplay for the film as well as starring in it. I think that shows that for the pair it must have been a passion project that they really wanted to make into a film and that I feel is one of the reasons it is so impressive. Considering Palminteri would not allow studios to buy the rights to his play unless he could write the screenplay and play the role of Sonny. Isn’t it a good thing he felt that way!

Francis Capra and Lillo Brancato split the role of Calogero with the age change and they are both truly fantastic and amazing. Capra showing incredible acting skill and charisma at such a young age. Brancato then looking brilliant as the 17 year old Calogero. Showing a fantastic range of emotion in what is a very tough role. I feel I must mention the cameo from Joe Pesci as well, he is given a rather poignant moment to be involved in.

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