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by George Anastasia, Glen Macnow

One of the best things about watching Mean Streets more than 30 years after its debut is that you know what’s coming after this. And so you look and you watch and you listen for little signs—small scenes that are the roots and the seedlings of the Scorsese/De Niro oeuvre.

This was the first film in which they worked together. Down the road would be Raging Bull and Taxi Driver and GoodFellas and Casino.

Scorsese has gone on to become perhaps the greatest director in American cinema. De Niro is one of its finest actors.

So on one level, watching Mean Streets is like finding some old film of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays during their first seasons in the big leagues. The raw talent is there. There are sparks and smoldering potential. And it’s a pleasure to watch because you know you are looking at the start of greatness.

read rest  California Literary Review