6.6/10
33,675
355 user 85 critic

Summer of Sam (1999)

Clip
1:45 | Clip
Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Spike Lee, Victor Colicchio (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Clockers (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo
Jungle Fever (1991)
Certificate: 16 Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Friends and family of a married black architect react in different ways to his affair with an Italian secretary.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Andre Braugher
Bamboozled (2000)
Certificate: 12 Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A frustrated African-American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith
He Got Game (1998)
Certificate: 12 Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Milla Jovovich, Ray Allen
Crooklyn (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Spike Lee's vibrant semi-autobiographical portrait of a school teacher, her stubborn jazz musician husband and their five kids living in Brooklyn in 1973.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic lives.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes
25th Hour (2002)
Certificate: 16 Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Girl 6 (1996)
Certificate: 12 Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An aspiring actress disappointed by her treatment in the movie industry turns to phone sex to make a living.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Theresa Randle, Isaiah Washington, Spike Lee
Malcolm X (1992)
Certificate: 12 Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo
Certificate: 16 Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A middle-class boy from Atlanta finds his worldview changed as he spends the summer with his deeply religious grandfather in the housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Jules Brown, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Toni Lysaith
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Leguizamo ... Vinny
Adrien Brody ... Richie
Mira Sorvino ... Dionna
Jennifer Esposito ... Ruby
Michael Rispoli ... Joey T
Saverio Guerra ... Woodstock
Brian Tarantina ... Bobby Del Fiore
Al Palagonia Al Palagonia ... Anthony
Ken Garito ... Brian
Bebe Neuwirth ... Gloria
Patti LuPone ... Helen
Mike Starr ... Eddie
Anthony LaPaglia ... Detective Lou Petrocelli
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Detective Curt Atwater
Ben Gazzara ... Luigi
Edit

Storyline

Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It Was A Time They'd Never Forget See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence and sexuality, pervasive strong language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

2 July 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La noche del asesino See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,991,450, 4 July 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,283,782, 12 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Danny Aiello was originally supposed to play the role of Eddie. See more »

Goofs

In the film the British rock band, The Who are repeatedly referred to as a punk rock band. This is wildly incorrect. The Who was founded in 1964 and were part of the trailing edge of the British Invasion. The only thing that related to the violent attitude of hard-core punk bands was the fact that on a couple of occasions the drummer and guitarist (Keith Moon and Pete Townsend) smashed their instruments (which began at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967, in response to Jimi Hendrix' burning his guitar). By the time of the Son of Sam murders, the Who had already been hard rockers for nearly a decade and had been using synthesizers for over half that time - something that no punk band would ever do, up until the Clash released Bankrobber in 1980. See more »

Quotes

Dionna: [crying] I thought that what we had was special together.
Vinny: Oh, baby- it is special. Let me make love to you, and I'll show you.
Dionna: [continuing] Just you and me... just you and me...
Vinny: It is just you and me!
Dionna: It wasn't- it was everybody.
Vinny: Oh, baby, it wasn't...
Dionna: It was everybody...
Vinny: I didn't care for those fucking bitches! I love you!
Dionna: It was everybody. And everybody else knew but me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are in the form of newspaper headlines. See more »

Alternate Versions

After they are refused entry into Studio 54, the sex scene between Dionna (Mira Sorvino) and Vinny (John Leguizamo) included more explicit shots in the original cut. This scene was edited a bit after the MPAA threatened the film with an "NC-17" rating. See more »

Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello from the Gutters
(1999)
Written by George Tabb, Michael Harper and Evan Cohen
Performed by Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, Jessica Galbreath, Darielle Gilad,
George Tabb, Michael Harper and Evan Cohen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great movie!
14 August 2004 | by guyfromjerzeeSee all my reviews

I know I may be one of the three people to say this (Roger Ebert being another of the few), but I think "Summer of Sam" is a great movie! First off, I'm a Spike Lee fan and I do feel that this is one of his best films. I think the problem most people had with the movie was that it wasn't the standard serial killer thriller they were expecting. If that's what you're expecting, you will be disappointed. Instead, "S.O.S." is a character study that focuses on the paranoia that spread amongst New Yorkers in the summer of the late seventies, when everyone was suspecting one another of being the Son of Sam. It was like a modern-day version of the Salem Witch Hunt. If you were as much as an eccentric, you were a suspect (like in the case of Adrien Brody's character in this movie). I like movies that focus on characters, and take time to develop them to a point where a feel a deep connection to each of them. Spike is one of those directors who favors character development over plot devices, and I think that's what makes most of his films work. The characters and dialogue are written in a very realistic fashion. It helps that Spike cast mostly authentic New York actors (i.e.: Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, Mike Starr, Michael Rispoli). First of all, they don't have to fake their accents. Secondly, New Yorkers just have a certain vibe that cannot be fabricated. It also helps that the actors all have a great chemistry with one another. The cast is excellent all-around, with not one bad apple in the bunch. I think John Leguizamo gives the best performance of his career. For a comedic actor, he can surely pull off a straight role with flying colors. Part of the reason why is because he doesn't try too hard to play the drama, and when there's a scene that gives him a comic opportunity, he takes advantage. It's nice to see that Brody became famous, after winning an Oscar for "The Pianist" (as a side note, he's the youngest ever actor to win a Best Actor Oscar). If you're anxious to check out one of his good earlier performances, he does a superb job in this movie. Some people have criticized the use of F-bombs throughout the film--and yes, there are many. If you're easily offended by bad language, this will be like sitting through a death camp. But I didn't feel the language was in any way gratuitous. We're dealing with working-class Italian-Americans from the Bronx, who are involved in things like drugs and prostitution! Obviously, they're not going to be saying things like "gosh darn it!" This is not like "South Park" where there's just profanity for the sake of profanity. It adds to the film's realism. Finally, I loved the film's lighting style. Some of the shots are rough and grainy, but it helps intensify the gritty tone of the film. If you're one of those people who likes slow-moving character studies with great acting, you might share my feelings about "Summer of Sam." Obviously, if you're part of the summer blockbuster crowd who favors explosions and gross-out gags, this will put you to sleep. The movie runs at approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, yet I never once felt bored. I'm not one of those people with a minute attention span, but any movie that can sustain my interest for 2 hours and 20 minutes deserves much acclaim. I have nothing wrong with long movies, as long as they're not overlong. After all, bad movies are never too short and good movies are never too long. When a movie is this great, you don't want it to end abruptly; you want it to keep going. (10 out of 10)

P.S.: The seventies soundtrack is magnificent!


52 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 355 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed