A severely undervalued film, which in my opinion, surpasses both of Scorsese's later gangster films, Goodfellas and Casino.
Harvey Keitel takes on the lead role as a mob debt collector, Charlie Cappa, a man whose profession, friends, and way of life, often come into conflict with his strong religious beliefs as a catholic. It is, I believe, is his best role and performance ever as an actor. And Robert De Niro nearly steals the show with his outstanding portrayal of the wild and self-destructive Johnny Boy. This is the role that launched De Niro's brilliant career.
And of course, this film introduced us to the genius Martin Scorsese, the best fucking director and filmmaker in the world.
- Charlie Cappa (Mean Streets, 1973)