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  • nick444 March 2003
    If you grew up in this time and place, or a reasonable facsimile, you will understand and appreciate this little gem of a movie. If you didn't, you won't.

    Those of us that did will instantly recognize the time, place and character types portrayed here.

    Its strong points are its accurate capture of the milieu and the characters. In that case, the lack of character development is a positive part of the characters themselves, not a shortcoming. We know at the outset that most of them are not going to be able to break out from who or what they are, and the ones that survive Viet Nam will end up back in the neighborhood or a transplanted version of it. Even when one character recognizes his limited prospects, we're not really sure that he is going to be able to do anything about 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 keep this film from achieving all that it could have. If the plot had come up to the standards of the characters and the period accuracy, and if just a little more attention had been paid to technique, this would have been a classic.

    As it is, it's not quite there. But despite its shortcomings, it deserves a place among others of its type.
  • In 1958 Brooklyn, we follow the Lords (or grammatically incorrect "Lord's", according to their jackets and the main title), a group of leather-wearing, greased-haired, immature, high school tough guys. At the head of the gang is Stanley (Sylvester Stallone), an intimidating thug with a guarded heart of gold, who's in a dilemma when his rough-talking girl Frannie (Maria Smith) announces she's pregnant. Her best friend Annie (Renee Paris) is dating the handsome Chico (Perry King), but Chico only uses her for sex while really setting his eyes on the new girl in school (Susan Blakely). Butchey (Henry Winkler) is the most bright of the Lords, and could make something better of himself if he wanted. Wimpy (Paul Mace) is a short member of the group who hangs out with his friends for the security it gives him.

    Most of what occurs on screen has no plot, and consists of vignettes with its cast members. Stallone fares best of all, and some good moments include him bullying a rival gang member in a pool hall, and especially the film's best scene near the end that takes place inside a jewelry store, when Frannie and Annie push Sly into buying a $1600 engagement ring against his will. Henry Winker's promising part was, unfortunately, under-written... but he's got one good scene occurring after hours alone in the local candy store hangout, where the shop owner tries to drill some sense into his head about how much more wisely he could be spending his time. Perry King's Chico is the main character, but he's such a jerk in the movie that he's hard for us to invest in.

    Ultimately, the movie has a good deal of problems and is only average. At best, this is watchable to me every few years as being one of those nostalgic guilty pleasures that I first saw in the theater when I was around 11 (it even featured the now-defunct Sunrise Drive-In, which was not far from where I lived back then). It's a very cheap film that was shot on 16mm and blown up, which accounts for its rough looking quality, and also for some poor sound issues that make it difficult to discern occasional dialogue. It's got a 1970s rock n roll soundtrack of made up '50s tunes of varying quality, some of which drown out moments of talking at times. But it's still worth at least one viewing to see a young Sylvester Stallone (who would later become ROCKY) and Henry Winkler (in a rough draft for his Fonzie character of HAPPY DAYS) getting to shine in a couple of brief moments. ** out of ****
  • jmorrison-224 June 2005
    A good, decent film about leaving adolescence behind, and the threshold to adulthood.

    Sylvester Stallone is very good as Stanley, the pug of the gang, who is facing fatherhood and marriage, and tries to amiably go along. He's not too bright, but he understands there is much more out there. His scene on the roof with Perry King is his way of trying to communicate that the world they have been living in is coming to an end, but, through their dreams and imagination, they can go places and experience other things. Things are changing for him, and he instinctively realizes there is much more to the world than their little corner of Brooklyn.

    Perry King's Chico, on the other hand, is brighter than he lets on, and he understands all too well what is out there and is waiting for them. The trouble is, in the adult world, he will never again have the freedom and power that he has running the streets with the Lords. Growing up is not something he looks forward to. He resents what he sees as the end of the road. He wouldn't mind living out the rest of his life with the Lords, prowling the streets, knocking up girls, fighting with the clean cut kids. In this world, he is powerful and respected, but he senses it coming to an end. His argument on the roof with Stanley is his rejection of dreaming or imagining something, or somewhere, else. His unfortunate episode with Susan Blakely is his inability to relate to her as another human being. To him, she is still just a chick to be laid, not someone he may have to relate to. Everyone around him is growing up and passing him by, and Chico resents it. He basically wants things to stay just as they are.

    The final rumble at the football field is an example of the Lords in their element, when they are at their happiest. The aftermath of the fight (the accident) is a further reminder that this life is at an end, and adulthood awaits, whether they are ready for it or not.

    A decent, entertaining movie. Quite an interesting character study, well-acted, especially by King and Stallone.
  • I always had a soft spot for "The Lords of Flatbush" ever since I watched it countless times on cable in the late 70's. It's not really a "good" film in the true sense of the word, but it works well because of the charm of the actors and the "fly on the wall" style where there are many scenes where nothing much really happens or progressed, but you watch the characters just be themselves.

    Sylvester Stallone (Stanley), Paul Mace (Wimpy), Perry King (Chico) and Henry Winkler (Butchy) all play their roles with honesty and heart. It's interesting to see how the film pretty much centers around King's Chico first and foremost, with Stallone's Stanley a close second. Mace's Wimpy is there in a supporting role, and Winkler's "Butchy" disappears for a lot of the time. Mace and Winkler do have one good scene each without any of the other Lords around, when Mace talks with Moose Mombo in the poolhall (alone until the other Lords show up), and Winkler's talk with Eddie the egg cream guy, although this scene is pretty short.

    Stanley is the tough guy of the group, while Chico is the studly one, the best looking of the four (although Stanley's girlfriend is much hotter than Chico's, and they are both best girlfriends). It becomes apparent at one point that Chico is pretty much a jerk, and has a constant tension with Stanley. Chico is a jerk to Stanley before they "trade hits" and especially on top of the roof, where Stanley tries to communicate seriously with Chico about imagination. Actually, the last bunch of scenes of the film all revolve around Chico's inability to get along with almost anyone, from the guy dating the girl he likes, the girl herself telling him to grow up, and then with Stanley on the roof. It is a little odd seeing Chico and Stanley have all these tense moments, than seeing Chico at Stanley's wedding with his arm around him like they are the greatest of friends.

    Stanley is actually much more than a muscle-bound oaf, he's actually very sensitive and has a heart as well underneath the wisecracks. He doesn't have to marry his beautiful girlfriend when he finds out she's not pregnant but does anyway, and he tries to relate his ideas on traveling within your mind to Chico, who shoots him down. Stanley seems to always be the one trying to make their friendship work, even coming up with the idea of stealing a car "for Chico" so he'd have a better chance with Susan Blakely, the gorgeous new girl in class.

    None of he music is original 50's music, it's all new music made to sound like it came from that era but some of it is pretty good, especially the songs sung by the gravelly-voiced singer of the opening song.

    The film is gritty and more realistic because of the low production values. Especially giving the film a realistic feel is a lot of the background lines and things the actors come up with, much sounding very improvised.

    It was great to have this on a widescreen DVD. The short production notes inside the DVD are pretty interesting, saying that there were scenes reshot and even a whole new ending shot, because they wanted a more "upbeat" ending. If the original "downbeat" ending is still around somewhere, as well as the original scenes, they'd be great to put on a Special Edition DVD, which would make sense considering the star power of the actors. The picture on the rear of the DVD is of a scene not in the film, so that's a nice small bonus. There's also at least one thing not in the film that's on the trailer.

    I bought this on sale for 7 bucks, definitely a great deal. Many DVDs go way down in price because of a looming Special Edition so who knows?
  • Here we have early film appearances from a number of guys who went on to varying degrees of stardom. I think this is mostly what this movie's good reputation is based on. But I didn't find it quite so compelling as a film.

    This flick is about four high school boys in 1950's Brooklyn who belong to a "social-athletic club" (others would say gang) called the Lords. As is often the case in movies, they all look like they saw the end of high school some years before. The four (Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, Paul Mace) are poised on the brink of adulthood and the responsibility that it will bring. The film is shot in a manner that is almost cinema verite, with lots of hand-held cameras getting grainy-looking closeups. The dialog also is obviously meant to be realistic, but I found it often less than scintillating. I waited around for the bigger issues to be tackled and the larger 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' a marginal "thumbs up," mostly for effort. It does do a good job of depicting the culture and local color of the place and time it represents. But this is no definitive film about either coming of age or life in Brooklyn in the 1950's.
  • The Fifties nostalgia craze started about 1971, and lasted all through the 70s, right into the early eighties, a whole decade of nostalgia devoted to half of a decade one decade previous! I thought it was insane at the time and still do, even though the nostalgic image reduced one of the most interesting decades in American history to irritating clichéd images of leather jackets. It hasn't really ended either, which is just as well, because no sane person could stand nostalgia for the 70s.

    "Lords of Flatbush" might seem like just a cheap cash in on a fad, but it's actually very well written. It features minimalist dialogue and slice of life vignettes with very honest performances by King and Stallone. It looks cheaply produced but to me that added to the attraction, it seems to be done in an almost documentary style. AS such, its not really a film about the "Fifties"---besides the leather jackets and hairstyles, it has little to say about a specific era, but a 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 of 17 and 18 year olds, there's no breathless philosophizing here. The characters seem to struggle with what they want to say, unable to express their feelings with limited vocabulary and intellect. Watching it is sometimes painful. The best scenes involve Chico's relationship with Jane Bradshaw. (This guy deserves a medal for his taste in females) Chico tries to express his emotions, but hes too young and impatient. He thinks he knows what to say and do, but his words and actions just don't match up.In the end, his efforts at a relationship are too clumsy. I still feel bad for him.

    I was never a fan of Stallone, but I like his performance here. The main problem with this film is that it's too short. The honest performances make me want to know more about these guys, and it ends abruptly while everything is still going on. Still, taking a look at this movie is worth the time, especially nowadays when finding an honest film made with integrity is very rare. Its kind of---nostalgia for nostalgia! Besides, even if you hate it, you still get to look at Susan Blakely.
  • This film really isn't a movie in the conventional sense of the word, in that it doesn't really have a plot, character development, or even real dialogue. This film is as if a little hole was torn in time and the viewer is allowed to peek through. The film feels like a documentary and the dialogue is largely ad-libbed and not always well, which gives it a realistic feel. One feels like these

    characters could actually be real and that they don't exist merely for the sake of the story. Some may criticize this film for its lack of character development, but these guys aren't the type to open up and pour out their feelings, and if they try, it usually doesn't come out right. The realism and authenticity of this film make up for its lack of character development and swiss cheesy plot. Definitely worth seeing.
  • This is Grease without the pop music, the glitz of commercialism or the poor costumes. One thing that makes any stage or movie production is the ability of the watcher to believe that the characters are actually not acting, but living the part they portray. Lords of the Flatbush fulfils this criteria as the audience is taken back to the 1950's. Strangely enough, the 1950's wasn't all about driving around in pink Cadillacs and wall to wall Elvis Presley. Lives had to be led life had to be faced, complete with it's problems and struggles. This wonderfully understated film shows all that and more. If you liked the idea of Grease, but found that it's presentation was about as believable as rocking horse droppings, then this film will satisfy your need much more than it's more celebrated counterpart can ever do.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The 1970's saw a re-emergence of the 1950's and it started with "American Graffiti" and that spawned more films that I can remember but this effort is both a hit and miss but it is interesting considering the cast. Story is set in Brooklyn in the 1950's and we see four members of a local gang named the Lords but one of them gets his girlfriend pregnant and is pressured into marrying her. Stanley Rosiello (Sylvester Stallone) is the so-called leader of the Lords and his girlfriend Frannie (Maria Smith) tells him that she is late and the rubber band thing didn't work. Meanwhile, Chico Tyrell (Perry King) falls for Jane Bradshaw (Susan Blakely) who is the new girl in the neighborhood but he puts a lot of pressure on her to go all the way. The other two members are Butchey Weinstein (Henry Winkler) who may or may not be thinking about going to college and Wimpy Murgalo (Paul Mace) who is the shortest but doesn't lack in being feisty.

    *****SPOILER ALERT*****

    Chico goes out with Jane but she finally has had enough of his pressure and starts going out with another boy. Stanley manages to get Frannie a nice ring but later learns that she is not pregnant but he decides to go through with the wedding anyway. This doesn't stop the four of them from getting involved in a rumble with the football team but it ends with Butchey getting hit by a car.

    This film is directed by Martin Davidson and Stephen Verona who spent roughly $100,000 to make this with a 16mm camera and even though it's edited horribly and really has no rhythm in it's storytelling the honesty of the performances shines through enough times to make this a fairly effective film. Of course none of these actors look like they belong in high school and they all look like they are approaching 30 if they haven't hit that mark yet. While the cinematography is bumpy and badly lit it still gives the film some sort of realistic quality as if your peering back into time and I've always liked low budget quality camera work if it's done with the right story and I think a story that takes place in 1950's Brooklyn is perfect. I first viewed this film when it was released in the 1970's and at that time I thought Stallone's character was the rough one but after watching it again it dawns on me that King's Chico is the one that is having the most difficulty maturing. Stallone doesn't have to get married but he decides to do the right thing while Chico blows his opportunity with Jane that ends up with her yelling "Why don't you grow up"? That moment kind of sums up the film and what it was trying to accomplish in it's clumsy way. Blakely is pretty good in her role and the look of disappointment in her eyes at King was something I never forgot from this film. Stallone didn't write the script but he did add lines in certain scenes and his character is clearly patterned after Marlon Brando first with his name Stanley and secondly with the pigeons. Winkler comes off as kind of a laid back guy who gets along with everyone but his role is not written well and if it was it could have helped. Film doesn't have any real pace and it does come across as a bunch of scenes badly edited together but the sincerity of the story and the honesty of the performances make this a film that's worth a look.
  • It's 1958 Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. High school friends David 'Chico' Tyrell (Perry King), Stanley Rosiello (Sylvester Stallone), Butchey Weinstein (Henry Winkler) and Wimpy Murgalo (Paul Mace) call themselves the Lord's. They ride motorcycle, wear leather jackets, and are overall juvenile delinquents. Stanley got his girlfriend Frannie Malincanico pregnant and she wants to get married. Chico is having sex with Annie Yuckamanelli. Then WASP Jane Bradshaw (Susan Blakely) is new to their school and Chico tries his best to get with her.

    It's a lower budget movie that is most notable for young newcomers Perry King, Sly, and the Fonz. Perry King is playing the lead and he's got the leading man looks. Sly shows off his acting skills and one can see Rocky in this performance. He's the most impressive of everyone there. The scene of him buying the ring is so great although the girls disrupted it too much. The Fonz has less screen time and more of a side story. The production is pretty poor and the writing is standard coming of age. Other than a couple of scenes, this is generally pretty slow and amateurish.
  • This is not a slick movie. It looks like it was made with cheap handheld cameras, and probably was. The movie is primarily interesting due to the future stars seen here. This was Henry Winkler's first big movie as a greaser type ( this character was NO Fonzie ). Sylvester Stallone is his typical mumbly early self ( I vote for subtitles on his speaking parts on his first 6 Nothing really much happens, just an hour and a half of greaser posing and vague wonderings about "futures". Only interesting from a historical perspective. Not reaslly strongly recommended.
  • I remember seeing this film back in the "Fonzie" craze of the mid 70s , when it was in heavy rotation on TV, due to the fact it stars a fledgling Henry Winkler. I decided to give it another look , and it sure didn't stand up to the test of time very well. I really wanted to like this movie ....being a big fan of other seventies era "flashback" movies like American Graffiti, The Wanderers, etc.

    The quality of the film itself, and the sound, is lousy. The camera is often out of focus , and the dialog is unintelligible much of the time.

    They did manage to nail the greaser look pretty well, with the pegged jeans and pompadours , but the dialog shows little in the way of period correctness. Throw in a shmaltzy , bad soundtrack of meaningless 70s sounding pop ballads (which drown out the dialog,in many scenes),and any attempt to transport the viewer back to 1958 falls flat on it's face. The few lame attempts to throw a little Doo-Wop into the mix are just that : lame.

    The characters are universally shallow , and never do develop or capture the viewer. Unfortunate,because the film is rife with brooding silences which are supposed to be meaningful but are just plain awkward. We don't know these people, we don't FEEL these people, so the empathy and emotional hook we should feel during these dialog-free moments just isn't there.

    If you are looking for a plot , storyline, climax, or conclusion ....keep lookin', because this film has none of the above.

    So we have no compelling characters , no story , and bad music. Hmmm.

    One scene stands out to spotlight the mediocrity of this film : The Drive-In scene :

    Chico : "What's wrong?"

    (30 seconds of awkward silence)

    Jane : "Nothing."

    (30 more seconds of awkward silence)

    Chico : "What's wrong ?"

    (30 more seconds of awkward silence)

    Jane : "Nothing !"

    (30 more seconds of awkward silence)

    I could hardly bear to watch.Really. This movie isn't even bad enough to be funny and entertaining for it's badness , it's just tedious and boring. I watched it through , more from morbid curiosity than anything,just to see if they could muster a meaningful ending.

    Nope. Just a horrible rooftop scene that has Sly rambling on about Tokyo then rasslin' around with Chico. Oh, then there was the wedding. Pfft.

    Let's face it : By virtue of having both "The Fonz" AND "Rocky" as co- stars, this movie should be a cult classic by default. But it isn't ,mostly due to the fact that it is almost unwatchable. It has gotten more attention than it deserves, due to the presence of those names on the marquee , for sure....

    I'm glad I caught this for free on Crackle,but I kind of want my bandwidth back.
  • The movie received kind reviews when it was released and it provided an opportunity for the pre-Happy Days Henry Winkler and pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone to stand out as actors. They do a reasonable job, as does the star, Perry King.

    The only problem is,...WHY did they make this film in the first place?! No one in the movie is worth caring about one little bit. It is a slice of 1950s and tells the story about a group of four sociopathic gang members. King's only ambition is to lie and cheat his way into girls' skirts and steal cars. Stallone's only ambition to to act EXACTLY like his character in Death Race 2000 (i.e., beat up EVERYONE). And Winkler's job is to be less despicable than the other two. There is a fourth gang member who pretty much disappears in the movie.

    So once again, why did they make this film? At the end, they seem to try very hard look back fondly at our "lost youth", but considering THESE guys were the one who beat up everyone else during high school, why would you want to portray THEM in a movie--and their youth was spent hurting everyone around them!
  • Way before the Fonz, way before Rocky, there was this small film known as the Lords of Flatbush. Set in the 50's it follows 4 guys who belong to "a social athletic club" known as the Lords (Flatbush being an area of Brooklyn). Pinned up in Leather jackets, brylecream, and being juvenille delinquents the film follows their antics. This movie is real void of any plot. The film synopsis I read on the back of the VHS tape said it follows the lives of these 4 guys as they soon decide that they have to grow up and join the real world and possibly let go of their friendship. Problem is the film is mostly just ad-lib dialogue and empty of any story to follow.

    One guy (Perry King) is suppose to be falling for a smart girl who tells him to grow up, Another (Stallone) is in a pickle cause he got his girl pregnant and she wants to get married. Other than that, that's all you ever know about the characters. The back of the tape mentions that one character (Winkler), realizes he has to make something of himself out of his delinquency in hopes of going to college. However in the film Winkler has only one scene that gives any insight into his character which goes something like this:

    Winkler: "You know I should really do something, you know?"

    Soda jerk: "I know what you mean"


    Winkler: "Ok I'll see you later"

    [Walks out the door]

    That's it! This is character development???? I didn't even hear the words 'go to college' in that dialogue..

    The film doesn't stand the test of time either. Since it's somewhat just documetary like with hand held cameras and ad-libbed dialogue, the film is ridiculously choppy and seems like it was but together in 2 hours from outakes. Perhaps this was radical in '74, but today it's been improved and done way better and this looks terrible. This was a film that got Stallone noticed, and created the Fonz character for Winkler. There is ONE brilliant scene which involves Stallone in a jewellery store, stuck with his girlfriend and her friend badgering him into purchasing a very expensive engagement ring. But like I 've said, one good scene does not a whole movie make. The roof top 'pigeon' since is horribly bad and meaningless.

    I am a big sucker for nostalgia too, and thought that would make me like this film more, but it is slow, badly put together, and filled with one dimensional characters. In short, it is empty. The final wedding scene and the 4th member giving the toast along with the flashback of their lives is pointless since the 4th member hardly had any role in the film. If you removed him, the movie wouldn't be any different with his absence so why is he even there??


    Rating 3 out of 10
  • Absolutely inane film dealing with a bunch of street hooligans who show their immaturity and lack of respect.

    The only good thing about this farce is that there is no violence.

    Perry King, who has gone on to become the king of television movies, plays Chico, riding around on his motorcycle and going nowhere quickly as is the case with this film.

    Talk of stereotyping. The film is demeaning to Italian-Americans. Annie and Frannie are the 2 prototypes for LaVerne and Shirley.

    Sylvester Stallone is gifted at playing hunks with IQ's around 2.

    The plot here is thin and the writing is even worse. The sound sounds like it is coming out of your local luncheonette.

    Topics such as teen pregnancy, fighting, unruly behavior in school, and the coming of age are poorly dealt with.

    Frannie wants to marry the Stallone character so they can watch American Bandstand together. The film suffers from a complete lack of maturity and should define itself as the coming of ignorance.
  • Growing up in Brooklyn in the 50s people like the 4 guys who are our protagonists here were a common sight, they were the older generation by a half for someone born in 1947.

    The Lords Of Flatbush were Perry King, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler and Paul Mace. Every high school had them, kids like these who populated The Blackboard Jungle. As you will note two of the four had some substantial careers on the big and small screens. For Henry Winkler this part was a dress rehearsal for Arthur Fonzarelli. And Rocky was in the distant future for Sylvester Stallone.

    Part of it in the 50s is that many thought there was no future as the threat of nuclear annihilation stood over us. So just go out and have a great old time because there will be no responsibilities for you to assume. That underlay a lot of the thinking then.

    There's no real plot in Lords Of Flatbush, it's a a character study of four knockabout guys who can't see a future beyond their good times. At least one of them does in the end, I will not say who.

    One really glaring fault was the scene at the drive-in movie. First of all From Here To Eternity was out five years earlier than 1958 when this film is supposed to take place. Secondly though there were no drive-ins in the Borough of Brooklyn, I can attest to that. In that same year I was introduced to the concept of the drive-in, but I had to go upstate to experience it.

    Susan Blakely also got her first notice in The Lords Of Flatbush. What she tells Perry King in the end if the message if any this film has.
  • Okay, I was only eleven years old and very much a Fonzie fan, leather jacket and all...but stopped short of being an actual punk (Dad saw to that!) it was exciting to me to see this movie, with the guys wearing greasy hair and leather jackets and Chico riding a two-tone Harley Road King (I may be wrong there, but it's what I remember). I wondered why a suburban kid like me couldn't find some hard-edged friends to form our own gang like this. The word gang, of course, had a different meaning then.

    Seeing the film again years later, it is easy to see why it was no big hit, although it is enjoyable enough to sit through and marvel at the youth of the better-known actors (Stallone, Winkler and King), and the absolute "cheesy-ness" of the 50's-imposter soundtrack. The brawl with the football team seems so unnecessary; but that's what jealous young boys do...the "walkin' tough" among buddies is something I could relate to, strength and POWER in numbers. And Chico's relentless knocking at the chick's chastity belt and morality...yet another thing that is easy to relate to. But overall I see that it is not brilliantly acted and rather amateurish. That's okay, as there are some scenes that do stand out, such as Chico's realization that adulthood is every kid's dreaded inevitability but one needs not be limited by this approaching fear (his scene with Stanley on the roof); the jeweler's feeling mortified after Stanley's threat to write on his tombstone that he was so foolish as to sell his girl a sixteen-hundred-dollar diamond ring; Eddie's telling Butchie that his foolish pranks and immature friends are no place for a young man who is smart enough to be a collegiate (putting his "two cents" in).

    Butchie getting run over is just a reminder that no matter how tough a guy is, with and without his buddies, Life throws some unavoidable disasters your way and there's nothing you can do about it.

    Not a bad character study, especially in Stallone's character. My favorite scenes are of him cackling with his pals after he "allows" his girl and her friend to leave the diner ("Did I say you could go? can go."); and his throwing the rival gang member against the pool table, terrorizing him and dismissing him from the pool hall...and giggling, as if to say to the viewer that he looks like one bad dude but is in reality a gobble who uses his tough facade for just a little bit of fun!

    I bought the DVD for cheap and from time to time I like to enjoy this film, knowing to only take it for what it is, a harmless guilty pleasure.
  • RogD26 March 1999
    LORDS offers a non-stereotypical view of the 50's.

    Touching, sensitive moments, especially with Stallone and Winkler, make this film linger in my mind...

    The FONZ was really born here, in Winkler's character.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Martin Davidson made his directorial debut with this film. You may know him better from Eddie and the Cruisers. You may not know him from the John Ritter vehicle Hero at Large. It was written and co-directed by Stephen Verona, who years later would direct the astounding exercise video Angela Lansbury's Positive Moves.

    This movie is one of the first that introduced both Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler to a wide audience, as well as the debut film role for Armand Assante.

    The four Lords - Chico Tyrell (Perry King), Stanley Rosiello (Stallone), Butchey Weinstein (Winkler) and Wimpy Murgalo (Paul Mace, Rat from Paradise Alley) - chase girls, shoot pool, loiter at the malt shop and steal cars together.

    This film is an episodic look at their lives. Chico just wants to win the heart of Jane (Susan Blakely, Capone, The Concorde ... Airport '79, Over the Top and Dream A Little Dream), who seemingly wants nothing to do with him. Stanley gets pressured into marrying his girlfriend Frannie (Maria Smith, Concepcion from The Incredible Shrinking Woman) despite the fact that she may have lied about being pregnant. And Butchey may be smart enough to escape Flatbush, but he hides his intelligence behind his leather jacket.

    Funny enough, both Winkler and King were Yale graduates playing Brooklyn tough guys. For his part, King decided to follow Method acting: "Stephen Verona would never have cast a Yale graduate to play Chico, so I stayed in character, and half way through the film I told him (in thick Brooklyn drawl): "Hey Steven, you realize you cast two Yale graduates as your hoods?" He thought I was kidding!"

    He wasn't the first choice for the role. Richard Gere was supposed to play the character, but he and Stallone didn't get along. That's an understatement, as Stallone would tell Ain't It Cool News: "We never hit it off. He would strut around in his oversized motorcycle jacket like he was the baddest knight at the round table. One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. Then we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said, "That thing is going to drip all over the place." He said, "Don't worry about it." I said, '"f it gets on my pants you're gonna know about it." He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I'm the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true... but that's the rumor."

    For what it's worth, Winkler claims that he based The Fonz - the role that for some time made him quite possibly the most famous man in America - on Stallone's acting in this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I get that this was a low budget film and they would have needed to spend a lot on licensing songs ( like they did on american graffiti), but aside from the opening song, the rest are just... wrong. That aside, the movie is a dialogue driven movie , so if you don't like dialogue, and prefer action, this movie is not for you. My favorite scene? When chico is laughing at his ex girlfriend in the soda shop.
  • I had high hopes but this movie stinks. There. I said it. Indeed it is interesting to see the fonz,rocky,etc all together,but they are not given much to work with. As another viewer pointed out,the phony,pseudo 50's music is cloying and annoying,and makes an already weak movie even lamer. It may not be the worst movie you've ever seen but it will be in the bottom 5,guaranteed. Watch it if you must but don't say you weren't warned.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Speechless. I didn't think a movie with Sly and The Fonz in it could be this bad. Granted, they weren't Sly and The Fonz just yet, but I think you get my drift. I can't think of a single intelligent conversation or scene that took place in this picture, so maybe that was the objective. But boy, it's a tedious film to sit through, made even more so with the faux-Fifties music the film makers were attempting to flavor the story with. Quite honestly, the opening credits for "From Here to Eternity" were more entertaining than the entire story and with a better cast. If you're into retro-Fifties, "American Graffiti" or any episode of "Happy Days" ought to fill the bill for you, and if it's unruly street punks that tickle your fancy, go for the real deal with 1955's "Blackboard Jungle". Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to offer up a novena to Our Lady of a Thousand Sorrows.
  • "The Lords Of Flatbush" is a coming of age movie - part of the trend in Hollywood in the 70's of looking back nostalgically to the 50's, when things were a lot simpler. Girls were girls and guys were guys and Ike was president and everybody had a house and two parents, and all was well. The Lords (or Lord's as it's spelled on their jackets) are basically a gang (or, a "social athletic club" as they call themselves.) They're high school drifters, perhaps smarter than they seem but not seeming to have much ambition aside from girls and the odd bit of mischief like stealing a car or getting into fights. But high school is coming to an end and the future is beckoning and they all react in different ways.

    To be honest, I really didn't find much of a story here; certainly, nothing that kept me glued to the screen as I watched this. Mostly, it's interesting to watch because of the cast. The two who made it biggest, of course, were Henry Winkler and Sylvester Stallone. Within a couple of years of making this movie, Winkler would be a TV pheenom as "The Fonz" on "Happy Days," and Stallone, of course, would be nominated for an Oscar for his performance as "Rocky Balboa" in "Rocky" - which would become his most famous and iconic character. But at this point neither were particularly well known. It might be a bit anachronistic, but it's hard to watch this film and not see the genesis of "the Fonz" or "Rocky" coming through in Stallone's "Stanley Rosiello" and Winkler's "Butchey Weinstein." On the subject of anachronisms, although there's no connection with the cast, you can't look at the chaotic classroom scene at the beginning of the movie without thinking at least for a moment of "Welcome Back, Kotter," which would be on TV about a year later.

    Basically, the performances here are fine. I thought one of the more interesting characters was Jane, played by Susan Blakely. She's strangely drawn to Chico (played by Perry King) - perhaps it's a sort of "bad boy" attraction - but somehow she also knows that he's not ready for what the future holds and she'll only go so far with him, while holding on to a much more promising relationship with another guy. Unlike Chico, Stanley does grow and develop as a character, coming to understand the meaning of responsibility, which probably led up to the most nostalgic moment of the movie for me.

    I was not a child of the 50's, but rather of the 70's and early 80's. But as the movie focused in on Stanley and Fran's wedding, I really did get a feeling of nostalgia, particularly as the closing "Wedding Song" played - thinking back myself to friends from high school that I haven't seen in decades, wondering what happened to them, reflecting on choices I made and how my life turned out (and it's good!) I liked the ending. It doesn't turn this into an especially good movie. There have been better coming of age movies, and there really wasn't any consistent plot holding this together so that it really did seem to drag out a lot longer than its 1:25 runtime. But it is interesting to see actors like Winkler and Stallone at this stage of their careers, before they became famous. (4/10)
  • The Lords of Flatbush is a movie, I have a long considered to be Sylvester Stallone's first good movie.

    It starts off well with a nice catchy song playing over footage of the gang "Lords of Flatbush" harassing a couple of girls outside of the school (interestingly enough a few years later Stallone would have probably insisted on changing that scene, and would have had him come along and beat up the other guys) the first scene in the classroom is a lot of fun with the teacher making Stallone sit at the front of the class for misbehaving.

    One of my main problems with this movie is none of the Lords of Flatbush are particularly likable, especially Chico and for the first hour or so Sly Stallone's Stanley. The only one I liked throughout was Henry Winkler's Butchey. Another problem was I certainly could not relate to any of the characters, and despite a short running time it actually feels a lot longer.

    It's a lot better than Sly's previous movies Rebel, Klute and Banannas. I particularly liked the scene on the roof with his pigeons, where at times he sounds Rockt-esque. And I enjoyed hearing him say "I did it" long before Rocky 2 too!!
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