Homage to a bygone era of greasers and black biker jackets and the ladies who loved them. This film is basically a slice of life presentation that centers on two romantic relations between a couple of our “lords” and their ladies. The main feature, of course, of watching this film are early Stallone and Winkler roles. Winkler would basically reprise the role with some uber-coolness variation just a couple of years later as Fonzy. Stallone, of course, would blow the roof off our heads as Rocky, and then as Rambo shortly thereafter cementing his place in cinematic history. I’ve said elsewhere that I went through an inverted bell curve on my Stallone appreciation, his busy middle career with Judge Dredd, a Rocky sequel or two, and Tango and Cash left me cool. But I’ve recently become a fan again with his more recent “comic” action adventures.

There comes a time in many an action hero’s career when he can sort of lampoon his own history in film, and it’s often delightful. Shatner successfully pulled off that little trick, as well as Eastwood (though in his case the rug pull was still very poignant, killing isn’t so sweet, and more was accomplished when he adopted the immigrant neighbors and took the bullet himself, flipping his “Dirty Harry” heroics upside down).

The Lords of Flatbush is nothing so serious. They’re kids, and the fellows are portrayed like any group of nearly post-high school “toughs” trying to out macho one another before they had a term for it.

Essentially our Stan (played by Stallone, who I swear really hasn’t changed much in screen presence or delivery) is on the hook with a young cutie to get married. I often wonder how many people get badgered into a marriage that they end up clinging to basically forever. Badger young Frannie (or is it Annie?) does, and despite Stan’s extremely evident and potently sour disinterest in her proposal (while he shoots pool solo) it all somehow leads to a wedding anyway.

I suppose maintaining a comfort zone around your neighborhood and your high school chums forever can be satisfying as a life, so long as you get to take over a family business, or somehow find your way into a city job that your uncle secures for you. None of these things are discussed in the film, I’m just conjecturing.

The Malt shop owner tells the Winkler character that he could potentially be something if he cared, that he’s wasting his smarts. This does little but send the young lout off on a noisy sarcastic tirade about being impressed – and I’ve been in much the same position when I’ve attempted to suggest younger friends actually pursue something passionately instead of just standing around on a curb making fun of the world and pissing on everything. The results are usually the same, not much happens, or you actually get defensive flack. Oh well.

The movie ends before the real trouble starts, and so it’s a little bit of a coming of age tale. The sequence of exchanging punches to settle an argument was something I did plenty of in Jr. High, until I got too big for the fellows to test me anymore. I do not miss them. There will be no love letter from me to them!

For cheaps on Prime, enjoy!

One thought on “The Lords of Flatbush (1974)

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