Paradise Alley

  • 1978
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Comedy, Sports

Sylvester Stallone made his directorial debut with this film set in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1940s. (He also wrote the script, starred in the film, penned the promotional novel, and even sang the theme song by Bill Conti.) Stallone is Cosmo Carboni, one of three brothers trying to hustle their way out of the slums. Brother Lenny (Armand Assante)...read more

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Sylvester Stallone made his directorial debut with this film set in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1940s. (He also wrote the script, starred in the film, penned the promotional novel, and even sang the theme song by Bill Conti.) Stallone is Cosmo Carboni, one of three brothers trying to

hustle their way out of the slums. Brother Lenny (Armand Assante) is an embalmer and crippled WWII vet who feels bitter toward everyone, including his girl friend, dance hall hostess Annie (Anne Archer, later of FATAL ATTRACTION). Cosmo's attracted to Annie, but she's loyal to Lenny, so he

consoles himself with Bunchie (Joyce Ingalls), a whore with a heart of gold. Meanwhile, he looks for quick ways to enrich himself and hangs out at Paradise Alley, a dive that stages illegal wrestling matches. Cosmo takes a look at the aging resident champ, Big Glory (well played by Frank McRae),

and figures that his younger brother, Victor (boxer Lee Canalito, in his film debut), can beat him. Victor, a huge, gentle iceman (shades of you know who) who is patiently trying to improve his mind under the tutelage of his Chinese-American girl friend (Aimee Eccles), reluctantly agrees to go

along with Cosmo's scheme and, as "Kid Salami," becomes his siblings' meal ticket. At first Lenny and Cosmo ruthlessly exploit their baby brother, but they rediscover their better natures by the end, when a local hood (Kevin Conway) matches his vicious protege, Franky the Thumper (Terry Funk),

against Victor in a Homeric 22-round, big-money battle. Like the "Rocky" films, PARADISE ALLEY banks on audience loyalty to old-movie cliches (mistakenly this time--the film was a box-office bomb), and those who stuck with the Italian Stallion's story will be rewarded by this bittersweet

up-from-the-slums tale, which benefits from some strong performances of colorful characters, evocative period detail, and superb cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs. Stallone creates a thoroughly enjoyable character, constantly hustling and delivering a nonstop stream of chatter, showing the kind of

engaging work he was capable of early in his career.

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  • Released: 1978
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Sylvester Stallone made his directorial debut with this film set in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1940s. (He also wrote the script, starred in the film, penned the promotional novel, and even sang the theme song by Bill Conti.) Stallone is Cosmo Carboni… (more)

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