A Bronx Tale (1993)


Crime, Drama


Robert De Niro




Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Francis Capra, Lillo Brancato Jr., Kathrine Narducci, Taral Hicks, Jow Pesci, Louis Vanaria, Domenick Lombardozzi


After witnessing a shooting in the street involving a local gangster (Chazz Palminteri) and refusing to sell him out to the police, a small boy named Calogero (Francis Capra) befriends him and grows up under his wing with the disapproval of his father (Robert De Niro) becomes worried.


I never bothered watching A Bronx Tale because I thought it would be just another film about the Italian mob with Robert De Niro playing a mobster. And the poster convinced me of this even more. That, of course, would have never happened if I bothered reading the storyline. Anyway, De Niro's film is nothing short of an amazing coming-of-age film.

Written by Chazz Palminteri, the story is very simple but it's that kind of simple story that is also very deep and engaging. It's a wonderful coming-of-age of a boy growing up under the influence of two men, his father and a local gangster, that therefore analyses the father-son relationship.

At the same time, De Niro's film touches the important thematic/issues of racism in America by highlighting and "beautifully" delivering the tension between Afro-Americans and Italians.

While addressing this issue, the film also does a quite interesting character study of the two men in Calogero's life. It contraposes the figure of the ruthless gangster capable of killing someone in cold blood to that of the caring and loving father who is doing all he can to keep his son away from that life by teaching him how to be a man. The most fascinating thing, however, is how they react when teenage Calogero talks about dating an Afro-American girl. That's when the father turns out to be nothing more than a short-minded racist, and the gangster ends up being the one guy to listen to as he tells the young man that skin colour is not important, if they are happy together, that's all that counts. At this point, it's really impossible to side with the father.

And kudos to Chazz Palminteri. Not only he did write a brilliant and enchanting screenplay - supposedly based on his childhood -, but he also gave a spectacular performance as the wise gangster that outperformed and overshadowed Robert De Niro who is nothing short of great himself as the straight father. More than solid performances are also delivered by Lillo Brancato and Frank Capra, respectively playing the older and the young Calogero.

Robert De Niro's direction debut is pretty much flawless. He does a wonderful job bringing to life story and characters with some memorable and powerful scenes, like where the boy had to pick the shooter in the lineup, or that final scene with Joe Pesci. He also does a wise use of slow-motion and his musical choices fit the film beautifully and deliver that Bronx atmosphere the film needs. And has.


  1. This sounds like a truly good movie which, I too, thought the same as you. I even thought it was some Disney movie when I heard of just the title. When I actually saw the trailer, it didn't appeal to me but now , with your review, I have changed my opinion.

    1. I'm glad I did that. I'm sure you're going to enjoy it.

  2. Here it is 2020 and I'm still watching A Bronx Tale. A brilliant and entertaining movie.