Facts about Mean Streets

* Director/co-writer Martin Scorsese based Mean Streets on actual events that he witnessed almost regularly while growing up in New York City’s Little Italy.

* The title is a reference to “The Simple Act of Murder,” an essay by Raymond Chandler, in which he wrote, “But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”

* Scorsese sent the script to Roger Corman, who agreed to back the film if all the characters were black. Instead, he got funding from Jonathan Taplin, the road manager of The Band. Warner Bros. produced it, allowing Scorsese to make it as he intended with Italian-American characters.

* When it came out, Pauline Kael called it “a true original, and a triumph of personal filmmaking” and “dizzyingly sensual.” Vincent Canby said, “no matter how bleak the milieu, no matter how heartbreaking the narrative, some films are so thoroughly, beautifully realized they have a kind of tonic effect that has no relation to the subject matter.” Time Out magazine called it “one of the best American films of the decade.” Later, Roger Ebert wrote, “In countless ways, right down to the detail of modern TV crime shows, Mean Streets is one of the source points of modern movies.”

* In addition to being inducted into the NFR in 1997… In 2013, EntertainmentWeeklyvoted Mean Streetsthe 7th greatest film of all times. In 2015, the BBC put it at 93 on its list of “The 100 greatest American films.”