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Brooklyn Rules

6.31 h 35 min200715
Three lifelong friends are reluctantly drawn into the dark Mafia lifestyle by charismatic mob boss Caesar (Alec Baldwin) who controls their neighbourhood. As leaving the streets behind seems increasingly impossible, the friends find the right path is not always the easiest to follow, and that the choices they make might one day mean making the ultimate sacrifice.
Michael Corrente
Freddie Prinze JrAlec BaldwinScott Caan
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Supporting actors
Jerry Ferrara
Marisa PolvinoRichard Lewis
Icon Film Distribution
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.2 out of 5 stars

148 global ratings

  1. 58% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 9% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 September 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
A very second-rate Mafia film. No real tension or drama, and a cheesy sentimental ending.
john robert harmanReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
coming of age
Verified purchase
This is a really good film,if gangster films is your bag just watch it brilliant film.
NeilReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 August 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
great movie, original
Verified purchase
I liked the character development and particularly the complexity and humanity of the main character. It was a very moving story with believable characters.
One person found this helpful
don handeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 July 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Verified purchase
Ms. L. CorlessReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 August 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars
Verified purchase
Love it!
Caleb WilliamsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 March 2009
4.0 out of 5 stars
It's A Decent Casual Mob-Type Movie
When you look at the cast of this film, it's hard to believe how little media exposure it received. I hadn't heard of it until I saw it on the Vine newsletter, and I'm a fan of Prinze Jr. and Alec Baldwin's so I thought I would give it a go. The additional cast of Jay Ferrara and Scott Caan would only make this film more enjoyable and enthralling.

The story is set around 3 very close friends. Bobby (The Sweetheart), Carmine (The Vain One) and Michael (The Smart One). One day after skipping church as kids, they discover the body of a man who has been executed in a mob hit. They look around the scene, Carmine kept a lighter and a pack of cigarettes he found, Michael kept the gun he found and Bobby kept a puppy he found. These objects were the representative objects of what these children are to be like in their adult lives.

Fast forward to the mid 80s and the boys have all grown up. Michael (Prinze Jr.) is in college and looking to become a lawyer, Bobby (Jay Ferrara) is looking to marry his girlfriend of two years, and just keeping out of trouble and Carmine (Scott Caan) has become involved in the mob. This is where the boys start to clash on many things, whilst still remaining very close to each other. Michael wants to improve his life by going to college whilst Carmine seems to like the tough guy attitude that comes with being involved with the mob and is staying put. Bobby, well Bobby is just the joke of the group. Still the sweet guy who has good intentions all round. These changes in personality lead to a lot of trouble brewing around the trio, which eventually draws them all into it. This is mainly focused around Carmines massive admiration for mob king Caesar (Alec Baldwin) and a little scuffle they get in at a restaurant one night.

There was quite a bit wrong with this film, but it was all cancelled out by the utterly fantastic acting by the majority involved. Let's get the bad things out of the way first so we can discuss the greatness of the acting front men. Seeing as this was set in the mid 1980s, it was a wholly unconvincing setting as apart from the odd 80s car and the odd person in stereotypical 80s gear, it just didn't feel like the 80s. Also the relationship between Michael and his love interest, Ellen (Mena Suvari) was the most unconvincing thing I've ever seen on screen, and I've seen Godzilla. In fact the chemistry between the two was so non-existent, I found myself becoming exhausted by the two being on screen.

Now the acting is something truly superb and really made this movie worthy of my time and effort. The accents weren't brilliant and at times I felt like they were a bit too exaggerated, I know it's set in Brooklyn and the characters are Italian American but I just found myself not fully buying into the accents. The film felt like a compilation of all the decent emotional bits from my favourite mob movies; but the way it was done is by no means a bad thing. The intimidating and awesome rare appearances by Alec Baldwins character just reminded me why I was still watching this film. It's a mob movie without the over the top offensive language or the extreme violence. It still depicts that but in a more casual way without it being labelled as self censorship.

It's overall a good and enjoyable film, the friendship of the three is actually quite loveable and you can relate to the friendship they have by friendships you have in the way you would lovingly mock your best friend or become over protective of them if they're attacked by an outsider. The best parts of the movie are Prinze Jr. And Baldwin, without them, I doubt this film would be just as good.
7 people found this helpful
Graeme J. SimpsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 July 2008
3.0 out of 5 stars
Mafia by Numbers Flick - But Still Enjoyable
There have been a few negative reviews already about this movie, but I found it very watchable on its own terms.

It focuses on the relationship between three friends who grew up together in Brooklyn. One is a college boy (Prinze Jnr); another is none too bright - but a bit of a wise-cracking, wheeler dealer all the same (Ferrara) while the third (Scott Caan) becomes embroiled in the world of the local mafia, idolising a hood played by the always excellent Alec Baldwin.

Set against the backdrop of tension and unease that eventually brought the notorious John Gotti to power, it's something of a morality tale, and although derivative it is not without its merits.

True, it's clichéd, and all the mafia personnel seem to be played by actors who have attended the `How to play a convincing wiseguy' course at drama school. And okay, a guy in this film loses an ear, as in `Reservoir Dogs', but it's a much more convincing, and nausea-inducing scene than Michael Madsen's turn - which is more a choreographed joke. And the sequence culminates with a laugh-out-loud one liner.

Alec Baldwin as the charismatic sociopath Caesar Manganaro steals all the scenes he's in - no one swears or threatens more convincingly than he. But he's not in it long enough for my liking. Scott Caan's acting is exactly like his dad's and he is another who turns in a fine performance.

Written by `Sopranos' writer and executive producer Scott Winter, it's not in the same league as `Goodfellas' (but what is?), or `The Sopranos' (ditto), but I certainly enjoyed it and would have no hesitation in recommending it to those who liked, say, `Sleepers' or `Things to do in Denver When You're Dead'.

No movie of this type seems complete these days without a soundtrack of contemporaneous hits, and this features a decent, but slightly curious, selection composed almost entirely of British artists from the period (Billy Idol, ABC, Dire Straits etc). Would a few more American tunes not have added a bit more verisimilitude?
One person found this helpful
carlosnightmanReviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2008
3.0 out of 5 stars
Quick Reviews!
Brooklyn Rules is a mix of coming of age drama and typical mafia film- comparisons with such classics as Goodfellas, Once Upon A Time In America, and even The Godfather will inevitably be made. True, the film does try to be a lighter, more commercial, less complicated version of Goodfellas- with fewer characters, a simpler plot, and less violence and swearing. The opening scenes comprise of voiceovers by the main character, played by Freddie Prince Jr, as he tells us briefly about his childhood growing up in Brooklyn, his friends, and his experiences with the mafia- like Goodfellas. The movie is set in the eighties with music, clothes, and expressions of the era all handled authentically- like Goodfellas, different decade. There are sudden flashes of violence with traitors and shady characters all being punished in over the top fashion- just like Goodfellas. There is something wrong with a film with so many comparisons to Goodfellas, and this is perfectly watchable. It just feels at times that the film is not a whole- like it is a smaller part of a bigger film.

The film centres on three friends in Brooklyn, the seedy underbelly of a larger city which seems foreign to those on either side. Michael (Jr) wants to get out of Brooklyn by studying Law. Bobby (Jerry Ferrara) is an underachiever whose main concerns are saving every penny and looking after his girlfriend, all under the watchful eye of Our Lord. Carmine (Scott Cann) is enamoured with mob life, and against the advice of his friends begins to hang out with local mob king Caesar (Alec Baldwin). The acting is of high enough quality, though no-one stands out, and the only unconvincing relationship is between Michael and Mena Suvari's character Ellen. There seems to be no reason for the pair to like each other, although the way their different backgrounds seem so alien to one another is interesting. Certain unfortunate incidents occur which unravel the story, but the ending (predictably cheesy) feels too sudden, like nothing has been resolved. Certain characters come in such a way that make the film feel rushed and unfinished.

The film is worth watching for fans of mob dramas, it is interesting, holds the attention, and is not particularly offensive. Most scenes of violence are off screen or not as brutal as other films of this kind. There are a few interesting moments and themes which could have been expanded upon, and a few characters who deserved more screen time, but overall this is a watchable smaller brother of much greater films.
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