A Bronx Tale

Directed by Robert DeNiro

Screenplay by Chazz Palminteri

Scene 1: the neighborhood [The first scene opens the movie, running from 0:57 to 3:20.]

The voice of a young man, named Colagero:

This is the Fordham section of the Bronx. My home. A world unto itself. You can get to any borough in fifteen minutes from here, but they might as well be three thousand miles away.

That's Mt Carmel church. And the sound of the bells would fill the neighborhood. It was 1960 and doo-wop was the sound on the streets. It felt like there was a doo-wop group on every corner back then. What a time it was. The NY Yankees were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, and Mickey Mantel was like a god to me. My dad would take me to Yankee stadium and we would watch the Yankee's win.

That's the Chez Bippy. That's where all the guys hung out. But I'll tell you about them later.

That's my building. I live right there on the third floor. 667 E. 183rd Street. There's my stoop. And on warm summer nights, all through the neighborhood you would hear the sounds of young Italian men romancing their women....

Hey Maria, get in the ****ing car!
Get in the car.
Leave me alone.
Come on baby. You know I love you.
Yeah, bull shit.
Will you get in the ****ing car!

And right there, right there under that lamppost there, stood the man. The number one man in the neighborhood, Sonny. Everybody loved Sonny and they treated him like a god. And in my neighborhood he was a god. And I would sit on my stoop and watch him all day and all night. But he would never even look at me. Never, until one day...

Scene 2: the lineup [This scene runs from 20:40-23:12. For those with DVDs, it begins just over four minutes into chapter 4.]

Colagero witnesses a fight in front of his stoop. During the fight, Sonny comes into the street and shoots one of the men. After doing so he looks directly at Colagero, who is watching him in amazement. The police ask Colagero to identify the shooter. Colagero is going down the line up with his father, Lorenzo.

Cop: Hey, look straight ahead, over here. Look at me. That's it. Is it this guy? How about this guy?

Colagero: No.

Cop: Look at this guy.

Colagero looks at Sonny and then at his father.

Cop: How about him. Hey, straight-ahead. How about this guy hey, is it him? Give me an answer.

Colagero: No.

Lorenzo: Are you satisfied officer?

Cop: No. I'm not satisfied.

Lorenzo: He don't know he can't help you.

Cop: Yeah, yeah, you're son doesn't know anything. I know all about it.

Lorenzo: He said no, he can't help you.

Cop: I'll tell you what, go ahead. Take a walk. Go ahead. Yeah, all right you guys can breath again. Beat it.

Colagero and Lorenzo, walking up stairs:

Colagero: We fooled him dad, we really fooled him.

Lorenzo: Yeah, we fooled him.

Colagero: I didn't rat, I didn't rat.

Lorenzo: No, you didn't rat.

Colagero: I did a good thing, right?

Lorenzo: Yeah, you did a good thing. You did a good thing for a bad man.

Voice over: I did a good thing for a bad man. I didn't understand that, not at nine years old. I'll I know is a rat was the lowest thing anyone could be in my neighborhood, and I didn't rat.

Colagero is lying in bed and his father comes in to talk with him.

Lorenzo: Hey.

Colagero: Daddy, why did you say I did a good thing for a bad man?

Lorenzo: Because sometimes in life you gotta do certain things that you gotta do even though they're not right. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Colagero: No it's just that, I thought I did the right thing, and now I'm not sure I did.

Lorenzo: You did do the right thing and when you get older you'll understand why. Your mother and I love you very, very much. Tomorrow you'll take a ride on the bus with me, ok?

Scene 3: the confessional [The scene runs from 28:35- 30:14. For those with DVDs, it begins five and half minutes into chapter 5.]

Colagero is looking out of the window of his bedroom at people attending a funeral.

Voice over: The day of the funeral I felt really bad. I realized a man had died, and I had lied and committed a mortal sin. And I wanted God to forgive me.

We next see Colagero in a confessional.

Colagero: Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last confession and these are my sins. I missed mass on Sunday twice, I lied about witnessing a murder once, and I ate meat on Friday once.

Father: Wait a minute, can you back up a little bit and say that again?

Colagero: I ate meat on Friday once?

Father: No, not that one, back up a little more.

Colagero: I lied about witnessing a murder.

Father: Yeah, that's the one. Do you realize what you said?

Colagero: It was only once, Father.

Father: Do you know the fifth is?

Colagero: Yes, Father, I know what the fifth is. The fifth is I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.

Father: The fifth commandment.

Colagero: Thou shall not kill.

Father: That's right. Now, I want you to tell me what happened.

Colagero: No Father, I'm not telling nobody nothing.

Father: Don't be afraid. Nobody's more powerful than god.

Colagero: I don't know about that Father, your guy's bigger than my guy up there, but my guy's bigger down here.

Father: You got a point, five Our Fathers and five Hail Mary's for your penance.

Colagero: For a murder rap? That's not bad, Father.

Father: What did you say?

Colagero: Bye Father.

Voice over: It was great to be Catholic and go to confession. Every week you could start over.

Scene 4: bad money [The scene runs from to 42:30 to 45:58. For those with DVDs, it occurs during the last three and a half minutes of chapter 8.]

Lorenzo has found a wad of money in his son's room. He is taking him to return the money to Sonny.

Lorenzo: Sonny around?

Man: Yeah, I think he's in the back.

Lorenzo: We can't accept that.

Sonny: I didn't give it to you; I gave it to your son, he worked for it.

Lorenzo: That's right, my son. And I don't want my son involved in what goes on here.

Sonny: Involved in what? What are you talking about?

Lorenzo: Please I'm not a stupid man, OK? Please, I'm not stupid. You know what I'm talking about. Just stay away from my son. OK.

Sonny: Hey, you stay right over there. C, why don't you go outside, I want to speak to your father.

Lorenzo: I'll speak to my own son. Colagero wait outside.

Sonny: First of all, I respect you Lorenzo, you're a stand-up guy. We're from the same neighborhood. But don't ever talk to me like that again. I tell your son to go to school, to go to college.

Lorenzo: You don't understand, it's not what you say, it's what he sees, the clothes, it's the cars, it's the money, it's everything. He tried to throw away his baseball cards the other day because he said Mickey Mantel will never pay my rent.

Sonny: He said that to you.

Johnny: Believe this kid

Lorenzo: It's not funny. It's not funny when your nine-year-old kid has a bigger bank account than you do.

Sonny: I offered you a job but you said no to me.

Lorenzo: That's right and I say no now. Just leave my son alone please.

Sonny: Hey, don't you see how I treat that kid? I treat that kid like my son.

Lorenzo: He ain't your son. He's my son.

Sonny: He's what?

Lorenzo: He's my son.

Sonny: Hey, get the **** out of here.

Lorenzo: I'm not afraid of you.

Sonny: Well you should be.

Lorenzo: I know who you are Sonny, I know what you're capable of, and I would never step out of line. You can ask anybody in this neighborhood who knows me. But, this time you're wrong. You don't fool with a man's family. This is my son, not yours.

Sonny: What are you gonna do, fight me?

Lorenzo: You stay away from my son.

Sonny: Get out of here before I give you a ****ing slap.

Lorenzo: You just stay away from my son.

Sonny: Go ahead.

Lorenzo: I don't care who you are; you stay away from my son.

Lorenzo and Colagero outside:

Colagero: Where's my money, Dad?

Lorenzo: I left it in there.

Colagero: What? How could you do that Dad? It was my money.

Lorenzo: That's bad money. I don't want you to have that money.

Colagero: Dad, I earned that money. It was my money.

Lorenzo: I said, I want you to stay away from him.

Colagero: Dad, please listen to me.

Lorenzo: I said, you stay away from him!

Colagero: Dad, Listen to me!

Lorenzo: Did you hear what I said -- you stay away from him.

Colagero: Sonny was right. The working man is a sucker, Dad. He is a sucker.

Lorenzo: He's wrong, it don't take much strength to pull a trigger, but try get up every morning day after day and work for a living. Let's see him try that. Then we'll see who's the real tough guy. The working man is the tough guy, you're father is the tough guy.

Colagero: Everybody loves him just like everybody loves you on the bus. It's the same thing.

Lorenzo: No, no it's not the same thing. People don't love him. They fear him. There's a difference.

Colagero: I don't understand, Dad.

Lorenzo: You will. You will when you get older. I'm sorry I hit you.

Sonny and Johnny, watching from window:

Johnny: You want me to take care of him?

Sonny: No. Leave him alone.

Voice over: And Sonny and my father never spoke to each other again. And I never listened to my father about staying away from him. The bar was too close and I would sneak away any chance I got. Eight years passed, and as I grew, Sonny grew in power. He became a boss. And I was his friend.

Scene 5: Collecting debts and reading Machiavelli [The scene runs from 55:00 to 59:06. For those with DVDs, it occurs half a minute into chapter 12.]

Colagero, now called C by Sonny, is seventeen years old. We see him getting out of his father's bus and spotting someone who owes him $20.

Colagero: Louie!

Louie: My grandmother's sick. I gotta get out of here. I'll talk to you later. I can't. I gotta go do something.

Colagero: Where's my ****ing money? You're ****ing dead when I catch you, you piece of shit.

Sonny: C, come here. What's the matter with this kid? Get over here.

Johnny: The kid wants his ****ing money.

Sonny: I gotta talk to him. I got to stop babying him.

Colagero: He owes me money.

Johnny: Hit him with a ****ing bat.

Man: Knock him all over the ****ing block.

Sonny: Is that the advice you give your kid? Is that the advice? You ****ing hoodlums. Come on. Don't listen to these hoodlums. Gonna go to Gino's, I'll be right back.

Sonny: What's the matter?

Colagero: This guy Louie Dumps over here, you know, he owes me twenty dollars. It's been two weeks now, and every time he sees me, he keeps dodging me. He's becoming a real pain in the ass, should I crack him one or what?

Sonny: What have I been telling you, sometimes hurting someone ain't the answer. First of all, is he a friend of yours?

Colagero: No, I don't even like him.

Sonny: You don't even like him. There's your answer right there. Look at it this way, it cost you twenty dollars to get rid of him. Right? He's never gonna bother you again. He's never gonna ask you for money again. He's out of your life for 20 dollars. You got off cheap. Forget about it.

Colagero: You're always right. You're always right.

Sonny: If I was always right I wouldn't have spent ten years in the joint.

Colagero: What did you do everyday?

Sonny: There's only three things you can do in the joint, kid, lift weights, play cards, or get in trouble.

Colagero: What did you do?

Sonny: Me, I read.

Colagero: What did you read?

Sonny: Ever hear of Machiavelli?

Colagero: Who?

Sonny: Machiavelli. He's a famous writer from 500 years ago. Availability, that's what he always said.

Colagero: Availability?

Sonny: That's right. Listen to me, I could live anywhere I want to. Know why I live in this neighborhood? Availability. I want to stay close to everything. Because being on the spot I can see trouble early. Trouble's like a cancer you got to get it early you don't get it early it gets too big and then it kills you. Capice? Worried about Louie Dumps. Nobody cares. Nobody cares. Worry about yourself, your family -- people that are important.

Sonny: That's what it comes down to, availability. The people in this neighborhood who are on my side, who see me every day, they feel safe, because they know I'm close. And that gives them more reason to love me. But the people who want to do otherwise, they think twice, because they know I'm close. That gives them more reason to fear me.

Colagero: Is it better to be loved or feared?

Sonny: That's a good question. It's nice to be both but it's very difficult. But if I had my choice, I'd rather be feared. Fear lasts longer than love. Friendships that are bought with money mean nothing. You see how it is around here, I make a joke --everybody laughs. I know I'm funny, but not that funny. It's fear that keeps them loyal to me. But, the trick is not to be hated. That's why I treat my men good, but not too good. I give them too much they don't need me. I give them just enough where they need me, but they don't hate me. Don't forget what I'm telling you.

Motorcycle noise interrupts their ordering and Sonny looks out of the window as motorcyclists ride into the neighborhood.

Scene 6: Availability up close [The scene runs from 59:21 to 1:01 33 and from 1:02:40 to 1:03:56. For those with DVDs, it occurs at the beginning of chapter 13.]

Sonny and Colagero walk into the bar, the Chez Bippy.

Johnny: Fellows, you are not dressed properly, you're gonna have to leave.

Biker: Properly, what's wrong with the way we're dressed?

Sonny: Jimmy, what's up?

Johnny: These gentlemen are not dressed right, I asked them to leave.

Sonny: Is there a problem here?

Biker: Problem is your man here says were not properly dressed. Like our money ain't green. We just want a couple of beers.

Sonny: A few beers, that's it?

Biker: We'll be on our way. We ain't looking for trouble.

Sonny: Spoken like a gentleman, give them their beers.

Biker: I appreciate that.

Sonny: No problem.

Biker 2: Got some booze down here? Nice cold ones. Some nice cold booze.

Biker 3: One more. One more over here. One more.

Biker: Brothers, a toast, to our host, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Sonny: Hey.

Biker: Oh you again.

Sonny: That wasn't very nice. Now you gotta leave.

Biker: I'll tell you when the **** we leave. All right? Get the **** out of here.

Biker 2: Go watch the bikes, man.

Sonny locks front door.

Sonny: Now you can't leave.

Voice over: I will never forget the look on their faces. All eight of them, their faces dropped. All their courage and strength was drained right from their bodies. They had a reputation for breaking up bars. But they knew that instant they made a fatal mistake. This time, they walked into the wrong bar.

[1:02:40 to 1:03:56] Song: Ten commandments of love.

Sonny: Crack his ****ing head open.

Sonny: Step on his ****ing head.

Sonny: Come on, get 'em out a here -- drag them the **** out. Come on. Move. Watch my car.

Sonny: Look at me. I'm the one who did this to you. Remember me.

Sonny: They ruined my whole ****ing lunch.

Johnny: Come on Sonny. Let's go.

Sonny: Leave 'em there like the bums that they are. They ruined my whole ****ing lunch.

Song: Oh, how happy we will be if we keep the Ten Commandments of love.

Scene 7: Dating Jane [The scene runs from 1:19:42 to 1:21:18 and 1:22:34 to 1:23:52. For those with DVDs, it begins two and a half minutes into chapter 16 and then continues at the beginning of chapter 17.]

Colagero is attracted to a black girl who goes to his school and asks both Sonny and his father for advice.

He and Sonny get into Sonny's car.

Sonny: Them kids could hurt you. You gotta think for yourself.

Colagero: I do. I'm really trying. But we hate these people. I don't hate them, but you know

Sonny: What people? What are you talking about? What's on your mind?

Colagero: I met this girl.

Sonny: Yeah, so?

Colagero: I like her and everything, but she ain't white. She's from Webster Avenue.

Sonny: She's a colored girl.

Colagero: Yeah.

Sonny: You like this girl?

Colagero: I do, but I don't want to hear all the guys.

Sonny: **** them kids. Half of them are gonna end up in jail anyway. Nobody cares. The only thing that matters is what's good for you, and how you feel about each other. Let me tell you something. When you're alone, late at night in bed, just you and her under the covers, that's all that matters, see. You gotta do what your heart tells you to do. I'll tell you something right now. You're allowed only three great women in your lifetime. They come along like the great fighters, every ten years, Rocky Marciano. Sugar Ray Robinson. Joe Louis. Sometimes you get them all at once. Me, I had my three when I was sixteen. That happens. What are you gonna do. That's the way it goes, you know. I'll tell you right no. See this girl, maybe this girl puts wind in your sails. Maybe she's your first great one.

Colagero: Thanks a lot, Sonny. I think I'm going to go for it.

Sonny: Is she a good kid, this girl?

Colagero: I don't know. I just met her yesterday, but I hope so.

Sonny: Here's what you do. Tomorrow you borrow my car.

Colagero: You don't let anybody borrow your car.

Sonny: That's all right. I'm gonna lend you my car. I want you to make a good impression.

[1:22:36 to 1:23:52.]
Colagero: Dad, can I ask you something?

Lorenzo: Yeah,

Colagero: I need your opinion about something. You know Joey Osso from down the block?

Lorenzo: Yeah.

Colagero: He asked me what I thought about his going out with a colored girl. What do you think about that?

Lorenzo: What's the matter? Joey Osso cant find a white girl?

Colagero: That's not a good answer, dad. What's the problem?

Lorenzo: You know me. I get along with everybody on the bus, but when it comes to marriage, I just think we should marry within our own kind, that's all. You know I'm not prejudiced.

Colagero: Hey, dad, you're not prejudiced. Don't tell me that. You are. What would you say if I wanted to go out with a colored girl.

Lorenzo: Well, you would never do that.

Colagero: Hey, you never know. This girl might be one of he great ons. I mean, you're only allowed three great women in your lifetime. You know what I'm saying?

Lorenzo: Who told you that?

Colagero: Joey Osso.

Lorenzo: Joey Osso? Well, you tell Joey Osso that sometimes in the heat of passion the little head tells the big head what to do, and that the big head should think twice about it.

Colagero: All right.

Lorenzo: Be careful.

Scene 8: Wasted talent and a better life [These scenes runs from 1:28:22 to 1:31:30, and 1:34:56 to 1:35:36. For those with DVDs, they occur at the beginning of chapter 18 and three minutes into chapter 19.]

Sonny lends Colagero his car for a date with Jane, but Jane's brother is one of the blacks whom Colagero's friends beat up, and so she will not go with him. Lorenzo sees his son driving Sonny's car.

Lorenzo: What are you doing driving Sonny's car?

Colagero: What are you talking about?

Lorenzo: What do you mean, what am I talking about? I just saw you driving Sonny's car. I don't want you driving his car around. I don't like that.

Colagero: Dad, I'm not in the mood to hear this.

Lorenzo: I don't care if you're not in the mood to hear it. We already had that thing about the bikers and that fight in that bar. And, I don't want you in that bar.

Colagero: I told you Dad, what was I gonnna do? Run away, make people think I got no heart.

Lorenzo: You think those guys really care whether you got heart or not? I mean, what makes you think you're so special?

Colagero: You don't know Sonny.

Lorenzo: I don't have to know him, I know how he thinks, you **** up -- he'll hurt you like anybody.

Colagero: You're wrong, Sonny trusts me.

Lorenzo: That man can't trust anybody. The sooner you know that the better. How many times do I have to tell you? People don't respect him; they fear him. There's a big difference. You wanna be somebody? Be somebody who works for a living, who takes care of his family. Yeah, you look away. Look you're my only son. I'm only looking out for your best interests. But you've gotta know, the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

Colagero: Oh, I don't wanna hear this.

Lorenzo: You don't wanna hear it, but you're gonna hear it. I may not have any of money. I don't have a Cadillac. But I don't have to look over my shoulder. I'm proud of what I do and I don't answer to anybody. My mother and father came to this country with nothing

Colagero: And they died with nothing.

Lorenzo: Don't you dare disrespect your grandparents! Do you hear me? And you're wrong. They tried to give me a better life, and that's what I'm trying to give you.

Colagero: What better life? We don't even own a car. We ain't got money; we ain't got nothing. Don't take it out on me because you're a bus driver. The working man is a sucker.

Colagero leaves his father, and runs into Sonny on the street.

Sonny: After you picked up my car, where did you go?

Colagero: I drove around a little and then I went to pick up Jane, why?

Sonny: Jane? Was there really a Jane? Talk to me.

Colagero: Sonny, what is it Sonny?

Sonny: After you dropped that car off, it didn't start. We lifted up the hood and there was something on the engine. Now you tell me. You tell me how the **** that got on there. And where did you go with my car?

Colagero: I remember, I picked it up.

Sonny: Yeah.

Colagero: I drove right to the school. And I locked both of the doors just like you told me.

Sonny: Don't lie to me. Where did you go with my car?

Colagero: Sonny I didn't do anything. I swear Sonny, please.

Sonny: Don't ****in' lie to me.

Colagero: Sonny I didn't do anything, I swear, I just went right to he school and that was it. I swear to God, why would I want to hurt you -- you've been like a father to me?

Later Colagero's friends intend to bomb the black neighborhood, Colagero is in the car with them, but Sonny saves him-from the criminal act and the death in the bombing that awaits his friends-by pulling him out of their car.

[1:34:56- 1:35:36]
Colagero and Sonny ride in the back of Sonny's car.

Colagero: I can't believe it, after all this time -- you don't even trust me?

Sonny: Listen, it's not that I don't trust you.

Colagero: No, I'm not gonna listen, you don't even believe me that there even was a Jane. Don't you think it could have been in the car when I picked it up and me and Jane could have got killed? Never thought that did you? Don't you trust anybody?

Sonny: No.

Colagero: It's a horrible way to live.

Sonny: For me it's the only way.

Colagero: Not for me, not for me.

Scene 9: The funeral [The scene runs from 1:49:33 to 1:52:04.]

Sonny has been shot and killed, by the son of the man whom he killed nine years before, at the beginning of the film. The movie thus begins with one murder and funeral and ends with another.

Colagero standing at coffin, alone with Sonny's body. His father walks in.

Colagero: Dad, what are you doing here?

Lorenzo: I came to pay my respects to your friend. Are you OK?

Colagero: Yeah. Dad, I'm sorry if I ever hurt you in any way.

Lorenzo: It's OK. Everything is gonna be OK.

Sonny, I want to thank you for saving my kid's life. I never hated you, I guess it's that I was just mad at you because you made him grow up so fast. May God have mercy on your soul. I'll wait over here.

Colagero: Sonny did you here that? My father never hated you. Nobody cares, huh? You were wrong about that one. Wasted talent. See you around Sonny.

Lorenzo: Let's go home, C.

Voice over: Sonny and my father always said that when I'd get older I would understand. Well, I finally did. I learned something from these two men. I learned to give love and get love unconditionally; you just have to accept people for what they are. And I learned the greatest gift of all -- the saddest thing in life is wasted talent. And the choices that you make will shape your life forever. But you can ask anybody from my neighborhood and they'll just tell you, this is just another Bronx Tale.

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