Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, Perry King, and Paul Mace in The Lords of Flatbush (1974)


(directors: Martin Davidson/Stephen Verona; screenwriters: Stephen Verona/Gayle Gleckler; cinematographer: Joseph Mangine; editors: Stan Siegel/Muffie Meyer; music: Joe Brooks; cast: Perry King (Chico Tyrell), Sylvester Stallone (Stanley Rosiello), Henry Winkler (Butchey Weinstein), Paul Mace (Wimpy Murgalo), Susie Blakely (Jane Bradshaw), Maria Smith (Frannie Malincanico), Renee Paris (Annie Yuckamanelli), Paul Jabara (Crazy Cohen), Martin Davidson (Mr. Birnbaum, Jeweler), Joan Neuman (Miss Molina, Teacher), Joe Stern (Eddie, Bartender); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Stephen Verona; Columbia Pictures; 1974)

Harmless coming-of-age-teen gang pic.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Martin Davidson (“Looking for an Echo”) and Stephen Verona (“Boardwalk”)co-direct this harmless coming-of-age-teen gang pic about four members of the Lords of Flatbush,Stanley (Stallone), Butchey (Winkler), Chico (Perry King) and Wimpy (Paul Mace), who are all high school classmates and wannabe tough guys sporting bad attitudes and black leather motorcycle jackets. It’s co-written by Verona and Gayle Gleckler, with an ear for Brooklyn speak. The slight pic adequately captures the juvenile delinquent scene in the white working-class neighborhood in the Brooklyn of 1957. The gang, more interested in having fun than anything else, encounter a number of incidents from a car heist to a gang rumble to bad classroom behavior. The boys hang out at the local pool hall and drink egg creams at the local candy store, and seem aimless and treat school as a waste of time. The melodrama involves the dim-witted hunk Stanley knocking up Frannie (Maria Smith) and roped into marrying her, and blue-collar Chico, the gang leader, chasing after new student nice girl, the blonde hottie Jane (Susie Blakely), and having his ego bruised by getting rejected for being so sexually aggressive.

This pic comesbefore Rocky Balboa and Fonzie character portrayals made Stallone and Winkler household names. The pic offers good practice for those roles. Of interest today as a look at how Hollywood portrayed delinquents in the 1950s. To its credit, it’s entertaining, its cartoonish characters have the greaser look and it’s surprisingly free of much violence.