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The Lords of Flatbush Reviews

Anyone who grew up in the Brooklyn of the 1950s will recognize the essential honesty of this picture, but it might as well be taking place in Korea for everyone else. The rambling movie with a good mix of drama and comedy served to introduce several actors who went on to much greater fame in other movies. The Lords of Flatbush is the name of a tough street gang but not one of those groups that pillage and vandalize. Rather, it is a social club, one of thousands that once were found in Brooklyn. (The small area of Coney Island alone had at least a dozen, including The Mariners, The Acwans [A Club without a Name acronym], the Emanons [Nonames backwards], et al). Stallone and King are best pals in Brooklyn's Flatbush area (and is there an uglier name for a neighborhood?). Codirector Verona must like the area because he used it for BRIGHTON BEACH. Stallone gets his girlfriend, Smith, pregnant and then takes her to a local jewelry shop to buy a ring. King's girlfriend is Blakely (while she was still "Susie" and not Susan), but she eventually dumps him. Several small but compelling incidents serve truly to represent life in Brooklyn. The film is a character piece that wanders from place to place with no single impetus, although one gets the feeling that this technique is intentional. The actors who distinguished themselves later include Blakely; Winkler ("Happy Days"); Armand Assante (I, THE JURY); Ray Sharkey (THE IDOLMAKER); Dolph Sweet ("Gimme a Break"); Jabara (who became a songwriter and won an Oscar); and, of course, Stallone, who was making his leading-man debut after an unbilled bit in Woody Allen's BANANAS and a few roles in films that will never reach a Saturday matinee for kids. Codirector Verona eventually became one of the prime movers of music video as well as a best-selling artist in his own right. Brooks did the music with some help from Nicholas and Jabara. Brooks will be best remembered (or forgotten) for scripting, producing, directing, and writing the song for YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE.