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DVD Reviews:  A Bronx Tale

The Final Say!

Feature Score:
DVD Extras Score

Reviewed by Yianni Pak
Distributed by:
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Running Time: 121 Minutes

A Bronx Tale is the directorial debut of everybody’s favourite tough-guy thespian, Robert DeNiro. Given DeNiro’s penchant for oftentimes playing gangsters and hoods, it is perhaps unsurprising that this film features both of these types as central characters. To call A Bronx Tale a gangster movie would be fairly inaccurate, however. Despite the prevalence of a few “goodfellas” as main characters, this is actually quite a touching story of a young boy coming of age and his bonds with his family and the people around him. 

Calogero Anello lives in The Bronx area (duh) of New York city, with his bus-driving father Lorenzo (DeNiro) and mother Rosina. He loves the Yankees and hanging out with his friends, and idolises local gangster Sonny, who rules the area and commands the fear and respect of the locals. 

When the nine-year-old Calogero witnesses Sonny shooting a man over what is ostensibly a fight for a parking space, the gangster shows a new interest in the boy. The youngster deliberately fails to identify Sonny in a police line-up, and thus begins a student/mentor relationship between the two, with Sonny taking the impressionable youngster under his wing. 

From this point on, a conflict exists between Sonny and Lorenzo, Calogero’s father, with Lorenzo trying to teach the boy the traditional values of working hard and doing the right thing, and Sonny demonstrating that “the working man is a sucker” and that bending or indeed breaking the rules can have a multitude of advantages. Calogero or “C” as Sonny renames him, is caught between the conflicting examples set by these two father figures, and must make up his own mind as to which path is the right one to take. 

This struggle is set against the backdrop of a changing New York, particularly with the introduction of African-americans to the area, and the local Italians’ resentment of them which culminates in what is almost an out-and-out racial war. Meanwhile Calogero has found himself enamoured with a young black girl, while his buddies constantly bitch and moan about the hated “niggers”. Again it’s up to “C” to decide which path to take, and whether to forsake mateship for the high moral ground, or vice versa.

Overall A Bronx Tale is an enjoyable film which examines the issues of family bonds and morality against a background of sixties New York, and is a commendable effort by first-time director Robert DeNiro.


The video quality is quite good, although in darker scenes it was quite difficult to make out what was going on at times. Overall however, the picture is fairly sharp and not too dusty, and definitely quite watchable.


Audio is great, particularly the excellent soundtrack consisting of late-fifties/early-sixties doowop, jazz, and a little bit of Hendrix and Sinatra thrown in. The music reflects the tastes of the different groups within the film, and is obviously very well thought out and fits perfectly.


The collection of extras is a bit threadbare, the most noteworthy of the bunch being a very short behind the scenes featurette which has a few interesting interviews with cast members and the director, but ultimately seems to be more or less a “made for television” electronic press kit type of thing. Other than that there is a photo gallery, cast filmography, and theatrical trailer, plus some previews for other films. More would have been nice, but still what we get is no cause for complaints.

A Bronx Tale Features

  • Photo Gallery

  • Cast Filmography

  • Trailer

  • Behind the Scenes Featurette

  • From Palace Films

  • From World Cinema Collection


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