Lords of Flatbush, The (1974)

“Don’t ever tell me what to do and what not to do. You understand me?”

Synopsis:
A group of leather-clad friends (Sylvester Stallone, Perry King, Henry Winkler, and Paul Mace) hang out and wreak mild havoc while King ditches his girlfriend (Renee Paris) for a new blonde (Susan Blakely) in school, and Stallone learns his pregnant girlfriend (Maria Smith) is desperate to put a ring on it.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary only seems to include this “unexceptional, uninvolving film about four leather-jacketed high-school buddies in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn in the mid-fifties” because it “became a surprise commercial hit”. As he points out, its success was certainly not due to the “skimpy and trite” storyline or the “bad” sound quality, but rather because “its youth audience recognized the star quality of the unknown leads… who were… destined for stardom”. I agree with Peary that “Stallone is particularly good, playing a tough talker who’s pushed into marriage by his pregnant girlfriend” — but the problem is, not a single one of these characters is likable, and their actions are uniformly ill-advised. Blakeley’s (underdeveloped) “Jane” is right to be ambivalent about “Chico” (King), and Smith seems destined for a lifetime of dominance by chauvanist Stallone. A scene of Stallone in a rooftop pigeon coop seems to want to remind audiences of Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront — but it simply made me want to rewatch that classic instead.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Evidence of early star power

Must See?
Nope; definitely feel free to skip this clunker.

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