A slice of street life in Little Italy among lower echelon Mafiosos, unbalanced punks, and petty criminals. A small-time hood (Harvey Keitel) gets in over his head with a vicious loan shark (Robert De Niro). In an attempt to free himself from the dangers of his debt, he gets help from a friend who is also involved in criminal activities.
- Robert De Niro as John "Johnny Boy" Civello
- Harvey Keitel as Charlie Cappa
- David Proval as Tony DeVienazo
- Amy Robinson as Teresa Ronchelli
- Richard Romanus as Michael Longo
- Cesare Danova as Giovanni Cappa
- George Memmoli as Joey
- Martin Scorsese as Jimmy Shorts
- David Carradine as Drunk
Retrospectively, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times inducted Mean Streets into his Great Movies list and 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 2013, the staff of Entertainment Weekly voted the film the seventh greatest of all time.
The film holds a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating of 8.93/10 and the consensus: "Mean Streets is a powerful tale of urban sin and guilt that marks Scorsese's arrival as an important cinematic voice and features electrifying performances from Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro."