I like to think of “Mean Streets” as Martin Scorsese’s dress rehearsal for “Goodfellas” – a tale of a young Italian-American in New York that dreams of making a name for himself in the mafia. Like so many of Scorsese’s movies, the best part is the vibrant, lively city landscape, where every character feels like they have a life outside of the screen, and “Mean Streets” has all of that in spades. But the best part of this film is Robert De Niro’s impressive ability to turn seemingly nothing into the most mesmerizing story you’ll hear all day, blowing practically everything out of proportion but doing so with charm and grace that you can’t help but hang on every word. A good example of early Scorsese filmmaking, especially for what was to come.
Final Grade: B-