Reviewed bynick44Vote: 7/10/10
If you grew up in this time and place, or a reasonable facsimile, you willunderstand and appreciate this little gem of a movie. If you didn't, youwon't.
Those of us that did will instantly recognize the time, place andcharactertypes portrayed here.
Its strong points are its accurate capture of the milieu and thecharacters.In that case, the lack of character development is a positive part of thecharacters themselves, not a shortcoming. We know at the outset that mostof them are not going to be able to break out from who or what they are,andthe ones that survive Viet Nam will end up back in the neighborhood or atransplanted version of it. Even when one character recognizes hislimitedprospects, we're not really sure that he is going to be able to doanythingabout it. That's what gives the story line, such as it is, its bite.
On the other hand, the meandering plot and the technical shortcomings keepthis film from achieving all that it could have. If the plot had come uptothe standards of the characters and the period accuracy, and if just alittle more attention had been paid to technique, this would have been aclassic.
As it is, it's not quite there. But despite its shortcomings, it deservesaplace among others of its type.
Reviewed byewarn-1Vote: 6/10/10
The Fifties nostalgia craze started about 1971, and lasted all throughthe 70s, right into the early eighties, a whole decade of nostalgiadevoted to half of a decade one decade previous! I thought it wasinsane at the time and still do, even though the nostalgic imagereduced one of the most interesting decades in American history toirritating clichéd images of leather jackets. It hasn't really endedeither, which is just as well, because no sane person could standnostalgia for the 70s.
"Lords of Flatbush" might seem like just a cheap cash in on a fad, butit's actually very well written. It features minimalist dialogue andslice of life vignettes with very honest performances by King andStallone. It looks cheaply produced but to me that added to theattraction, it seems to be done in an almost documentary style. ASsuch, its not really a film about the "Fifties"---besides the leatherjackets and hairstyles, it has little to say about a specific era, buta lot to say about the human condition.
This tale of four friends could have been set at any period in history,and the dialogue for once is a true indicator of the mental states of17 and 18 year olds, there's no breathless philosophizing here. Thecharacters seem to struggle with what they want to say, unable toexpress their feelings with limited vocabulary and intellect. Watchingit is sometimes painful. The best scenes involve Chico's relationshipwith Jane Bradshaw. (This guy deserves a medal for his taste infemales) Chico tries to express his emotions, but hes too young andimpatient. He thinks he knows what to say and do, but his words andactions just don't match up.In the end, his efforts at a relationshipare too clumsy. I still feel bad for him.
I was never a fan of Stallone, but I like his performance here. Themain problem with this film is that it's too short. The honestperformances make me want to know more about these guys, and it endsabruptly while everything is still going on. Still, taking a look atthis movie is worth the time, especially nowadays when finding anhonest film made with integrity is very rare. Its kind of---nostalgiafor nostalgia! Besides, even if you hate it, you still get to look atSusan Blakely.
Reviewed byHermit C-2Vote: 6/10/10
Here we have early film appearances from a number of guys who went on tovarying degrees of stardom. I think this is mostly what this movie's goodreputation is based on. But I didn't find it quite so compelling as afilm.
This flick is about four high school boys in 1950's Brooklyn who belong toa"social-athletic club" (others would say gang) called the Lords. As isoftenthe case in movies, they all look like they saw the end of high schoolsomeyears before. The four (Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler,PaulMace) are poised on the brink of adulthood and the responsibility that itwill bring. The film is shot in a manner that is almost cinema verite,withlots of hand-held cameras getting grainy-looking closeups. The dialog alsois obviously meant to be realistic, but I found it often less thanscintillating. I waited around for the bigger issues to be tackled and thelarger truths to be revealed, but they are not exactly enlightening,either.A faux-'50's music soundtrack doesn't help much.
Despite these negative comments, I would give 'The Lords of Flatbush' amarginal "thumbs up," mostly for effort. It does do a good job ofdepictingthe culture and local color of the place and time it represents. But thisisno definitive film about either coming of age or life in Brooklyn in the1950's.
A group of kids in Brooklyn form a gang. From this moment on they do everything together. This makes things easier but at the same time they have to face new problems.