The Lords of Flatbush (1974)

PG | 86 or 88 mins | Drama | May 1974

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HISTORY

Though Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, and Perry King were considered unknowns when they were cast in the film, the actors later became well-known, especially Stallone for his Rocky (1976, see entry) series, and Winkler for his portrayal of “Fonzie” on the television series, Happy Days (ABC, 15 Jan 1974--12 Jul 1984). Before filming The Lords of Flatbush, the cast took part in extensive rehearsals, as stated in a 6 Feb 1974 Var article, and producer-director-writers Stephen F. Verona and Martin Davidson made changes to the script based on the actors’ contributions, even giving Stallone an additional dialogue credit.
       According to Var, Verona and Davidson began shooting the film with a budget of $100,000, primarily funded by private investors who were friends and family of the filmmakers. Those who made financial contributions were offered “’a limited partnership,’” and there was “generally a 50-50 split between cash contributors and sweat contributors.” Deals were also made with equipment rental companies, prop houses, and crew members who were offered deferred payments and profit participation in place of their regular fees.
       For the first five weeks of shooting, Verona provided $50,000 of his own money, as reported in the 29 Aug 1974 issue of DV. After the five weeks was completed, a rough edit was assembled to be shown to investors. Based on feedback from the early screenings, Verona and Davidson re-shot certain scenes, added a happier ending, and raised roughly $280,000 more for a final budget of $380,000. A 2 Aug 1978 Var article stated that the film took three years to complete.
       As mentioned in the ... More Less

Though Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, and Perry King were considered unknowns when they were cast in the film, the actors later became well-known, especially Stallone for his Rocky (1976, see entry) series, and Winkler for his portrayal of “Fonzie” on the television series, Happy Days (ABC, 15 Jan 1974--12 Jul 1984). Before filming The Lords of Flatbush, the cast took part in extensive rehearsals, as stated in a 6 Feb 1974 Var article, and producer-director-writers Stephen F. Verona and Martin Davidson made changes to the script based on the actors’ contributions, even giving Stallone an additional dialogue credit.
       According to Var, Verona and Davidson began shooting the film with a budget of $100,000, primarily funded by private investors who were friends and family of the filmmakers. Those who made financial contributions were offered “’a limited partnership,’” and there was “generally a 50-50 split between cash contributors and sweat contributors.” Deals were also made with equipment rental companies, prop houses, and crew members who were offered deferred payments and profit participation in place of their regular fees.
       For the first five weeks of shooting, Verona provided $50,000 of his own money, as reported in the 29 Aug 1974 issue of DV. After the five weeks was completed, a rough edit was assembled to be shown to investors. Based on feedback from the early screenings, Verona and Davidson re-shot certain scenes, added a happier ending, and raised roughly $280,000 more for a final budget of $380,000. A 2 Aug 1978 Var article stated that the film took three years to complete.
       As mentioned in the Aug 1974 Playboy review, Davidson’s “alma mater,” Tilden High School in Brooklyn, NY, served as one of the locations, where the filmmakers shot after school hours.
       A 4 Apr 1974 HR news item announced that Columbia Pictures had purchased domestic distribution rights to the film. According to a 14 May 1974 DV article, the rights, along with prints and advertising, had cost Columbia $250,000 to that time.
       Upon the release of the film, controversy arose as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) seal had been applied to film prints although IATSE workers had not been employed on the production, as stated in the 14 May 1974 DV article. Columbia subsequently struck new prints without the seal and issued a statement, apologizing to IATSE.
       Hoping to capitalize on Stallone’s popularity after the box-office success of Rocky, Columbia planned to re-release The Lords of Flatbush in Apr 1977 on a double-bill with Drive-In (1976, see entry), according to an 18 Jan 1977 DV article. DV also stated that The Lords of Flabush had taken in $4 million in box-office receipts to that time; roughly three months later, in a 13 Apr 1977 Var item, co-producer Richard Millman alleged that the film had taken in $16 million in box-office receipts.
       According to a 4 Jun 1987 LAHExam brief, Verona’s company was promised fifty percent of the home video gross as part of their distribution deal with Columbia; however, Verona later hired an accounting firm to audit Columbia, and found that the home video version had earned $983,800 between May and Oct 1986, though Columbia had paid only $91,000 to Verona’s company.
       Verona and Davidson made their feature film directing debuts with The Lords of Flatbush. The film also marked Verona’s first time producing. Composer Joe Brooks, who had previously written “jingles” for over 150 commercials, also made his feature film debut with the picture, according to a 7 Apr 1973 Var item.
       Columbia planned a sequel to the film, tentatively titled Flatbush Abroad, with Stallone and Maria Smith set to reprise their roles as “Stanley” and “Frannie,” as announced in the 29 Aug 1974 DV article. The film was expected to follow Stanley and Frannie on a trip to Europe that they won on the television game show, Let’s Make a Deal ; however, no sequel has been produced as of Oct 2012.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 May 1974
p. 4688.
Daily Variety
14 May 1974.
---
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1974
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Jan 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 1974
p. 3, 14.
LAHExam
9 Sep 1974.
---
LAHExam
4 Jun 1987
Section A, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
4 Sep 1974.
---
New York Times
2 May 1974
p. 61.
Playboy
Aug 1974.
---
Time
20 May 1974.
---
Variety
7 Apr 1973.
---
Variety
6 Feb 1974.
---
Variety
1 May 1974
p. 18.
Variety
13 Apr 1977.
---
Variety
2 Aug 1978
p. 5, 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Verona/Davidson Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Cars furnished by
Cars furnished by
Props supplied by
COSTUMES
Ward supplied by
Ward supplied by
Ward supplied by
Ward supplied by
Ward supplied by
MUSIC
Mus comp, arr & cond by
Mus rec at
Mus rec at
SOUND
Boom man
Equip and sd transfers by
Sd mix
Sd mix, Eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Public relations
Prod accountant
Advertising
SOURCES
SONGS
"Chico's Song (You and Me)," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jamie Carr
"Gypsy Woman," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Bill Dean
"Rock & Roll Music," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jerry Keller
+
SONGS
"Chico's Song (You and Me)," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jamie Carr
"Gypsy Woman," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Bill Dean
"Rock & Roll Music," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jerry Keller
"Oh, What a Night for Love," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jeanne Thomas Fox
"Easy Now," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Ken Williams
"Can You Believe You're in Love," by Joe Brooks, lead vocal Jamie Carr
"There's a Better Way to Say Goodnight," by Joe Brooks
"The Chase," by Joe Brooks, solo guitar Charles Brown
"A Very Fine Day," by Joe Brooks, sax solo George Marge
"Rumble Drums," by Joe Brooks, soloist Al Rogers
"Drive-In Riff," by Joe Brooks, solo Jerry Keller
"Wedding Song," by Joe Brooks, solo Jamie Carr
"When You Are a Lord," by Paul Jabara and Paul Nicholas.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
May 1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 May 1974
Los Angeles opening: 4 September 1974
Production Date:
ended 16 September 1973 in Brooklyn, NY
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 May 1974
Copyright Number:
LP9079
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
gauge
16mm
Prints
Print by Technicolor/Radiant Division
Duration(in mins):
86 or 88
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1950s Brooklyn, New York, Stanley Rosiello, David “Chico” Tyrell, Butchey Weinstein, and “Wimpy” Murgalo are four friends who dress in matching leather jackets and call themselves the Lords. At their high school, the Lords encounter Jane Bradshaw, a pretty new student, and Chico asks for her telephone number. Later, Chico takes Annie Yuckamanelli to the beach and she is disappointed by the casual date. Ignoring Annie’s complaints, Chico kisses her. As they begin to have sex, Annie tells Chico that her friend, Frannie Malincanico, is pregnant with Stanley’s baby. Soon after, Chico calls Jane to ask her out and takes her to Coney Island, where they spend the day together. At a pool hall, Frannie tells Stanley that she is pregnant and insists that he marry her, but Stanley suggests that she have an abortion. Frannie pleads with him to consider marriage, professing her love, but Stanley remains distant. One night, Chico meets Jane’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bradshaw, as they head out on a dinner date. Later, Jane’s little sister, Nancy, spies on Jane and Chico as they kiss in the living room. Chico tries to persuade Jane to have sex, but she pushes him away. She then tests him by asking the color of her eyes while looking away, and Chico cannot answer. One day, Annie takes Frannie to a jewelry shop where Frannie selects an expensive engagement ring that she would like Stanley to buy. At a diner, Stanley, Butchey and Wimpy press Chico for information about Jane, and he remains mum. Annie and Frannie arrive, and Annie asks Chico why he doesn’t take her out anymore. Chico laughs, and Annie leaves the diner, exasperated. ... +


In 1950s Brooklyn, New York, Stanley Rosiello, David “Chico” Tyrell, Butchey Weinstein, and “Wimpy” Murgalo are four friends who dress in matching leather jackets and call themselves the Lords. At their high school, the Lords encounter Jane Bradshaw, a pretty new student, and Chico asks for her telephone number. Later, Chico takes Annie Yuckamanelli to the beach and she is disappointed by the casual date. Ignoring Annie’s complaints, Chico kisses her. As they begin to have sex, Annie tells Chico that her friend, Frannie Malincanico, is pregnant with Stanley’s baby. Soon after, Chico calls Jane to ask her out and takes her to Coney Island, where they spend the day together. At a pool hall, Frannie tells Stanley that she is pregnant and insists that he marry her, but Stanley suggests that she have an abortion. Frannie pleads with him to consider marriage, professing her love, but Stanley remains distant. One night, Chico meets Jane’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bradshaw, as they head out on a dinner date. Later, Jane’s little sister, Nancy, spies on Jane and Chico as they kiss in the living room. Chico tries to persuade Jane to have sex, but she pushes him away. She then tests him by asking the color of her eyes while looking away, and Chico cannot answer. One day, Annie takes Frannie to a jewelry shop where Frannie selects an expensive engagement ring that she would like Stanley to buy. At a diner, Stanley, Butchey and Wimpy press Chico for information about Jane, and he remains mum. Annie and Frannie arrive, and Annie asks Chico why he doesn’t take her out anymore. Chico laughs, and Annie leaves the diner, exasperated. One day at school, Chico sees Jane ride home in another boy’s car. Concerned for their friend, the other Lords decide that Chico needs a car, and they set out to steal one. Later, Chico takes Jane to a drive-in movie theater in the stolen car. When Jane asks if Chico missed her, he kisses her passionately. After he has removed her shirt, however, Jane begins to cry and says she doesn’t want to be “just another” girl. Meanwhile, at the diner, the Lords complain about Chico spending all his time with Jane. After Stanley agrees to marry Frannie, she and Annie take him to the jewelry store and show him the engagement ring Frannie selected. When Stanley realizes that the ring costs $1600, he demands to see something cheaper; however, Frannie whines until Stanley agrees to buy the ring at a slight discount. That day, Chico rallies the Lords to help him beat up Arnie Levine, a football player who has been on a date with Jane. The Lords find Levine at the football field and challenge him to a fight, but the football team chases them off the field, and, as they run away, Butchey is hit by a car. Sometime later, Chico visits Stanley at a coop where he keeps pigeons. Stanley tells Chico that Frannie is not actually pregnant, but he still might marry her. Chico warns Stanley against settling and sticking around the neighborhood, but Stanley argues that he can escape anytime he wants by using his imagination. At school, Chico chases after Jane, hoping to reconcile. Though she apologizes for distancing herself from him, Jane says she only wants to be his friend. Chico walks away, offended, and Jane accuses him of being immature. Stanley and Frannie get married, and at the wedding, the Lords dance around Butchey, who is leaning on crutches as a result of his run-in with the car. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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