A Bronx Tale Review – Robert De Niro’s Directorial Debut

Robert De Niro’s

A Bronx Tale (1993) is a drama produced by Jane Rosenthal and directed by Robert De Niro.

The movie is based on Chazz Palminteri’s 1989 play. It’s deals with the story of Calogero, an Italian-American boy who meets a local Mafia boss. “He’s then split between the values instilled in him by his hard-working father and a temptation to get involved with the mafia.” According to Scott Cooper of Miami Beach, Florida.


In 1960, Lorenzo is working as a bus driver in Belmont. This is a classic working-class Italian-American Bronx neighborhood. Lorenzo lives with his wife Rosina and Calogero, their nine-year old son.

We see Calogero becoming tempted by the life of the mafia due to the heavy Mafia presence in the neighborhood.

Calogero witnesses Sonny, the local boss, shooting and killing a man. When he keeps quiet, Sonny develops an interest in him and nicknames him C.

Sonny offers Lorenzo a better job, but he prefers to keep working as a bus driver.

Calogero is introduced to Sonny’s crew. He works in Sonny’s bar and earns money throwing dice. When his father discovers the cash he has saved, he warns Sonny to keep away from his son after returning the money.

The action moves forward 8 years and Calogero is now 17. He has been seeing Sonny regularly behind his father’s back. He is part of an Italian-American gang. This troubles Sonny.

Calogero meets Jane, a black girl. They become friends. Despite the racial tension and hatred between African-Americans and Italian-Americans in the neighborhood, the two arrange a date.

Later, friends of Calogero attack some black cyclists. One of the cyclists of Jane’s brother. Jane leaves.

Calogero is confronted by his father and they argue. Calogero is then confronted by Sonny. His crew found a bomb on Sonny’s car. Sonny sees that Calogero is innocent and lets him leave.

The black boys retaliate and Calogero’s friends then plan to strike back with Molotov cocktails. Although they force Calogero to join in, Sonny stops the car en route and orders Calogero out.

Calogero finds Jane, who tells him that her brother admitted the truth. They go to the scene of the revenge attack and find that a shopkeeper had thrown back one of the unbroken Molotov cocktails. This had entered the window of the car, ignited the other cocktails and the explosion killed all the occupants of the car.

Calogero heads into Sonny’s bar to thank him but someone shoots Sonny in the head. The assailant was the boy of the man he saw Sonny kill years earlier.

At the funeral, a man called Carmine states that Sonny had saved his life, too. Calogero realizes from the scar on his forehead that this is the man who was being assaulted when Sonny killed his attacker.

Calogero finished up by relating what he has learned from his mentors over the years.


De Niro claims he acquired the rights on the strength of a gentlemen’s agreement with Palminteri. They immediately started work on the screenplay.

Palminteri has previously rejected offers as high as $1 million for the rights to his play.

De Niro agreed to Palminteri’s requirements as long as he could direct the movie, and also play Lorenzo. Palminteri accepted.


The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 1993. It was then released in the United States on September 29, 1993.


A Bronx Tale grossed $3.7 million over the opening weekend, and went on to gross $17.3 million domestically.

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97%.

On Metacritic, it scored an average of 80 out of 100, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here