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80 Blocks from Tiffany's (2010)

 Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0045NXMFS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,141 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

The history of cinema includes countless films that have remained, for a variety of reasons, in total obscurity. Sadly, many of the films that get 'lost' are the ones that really need to be found, and 80 Blocks from Tiffany's is one such film. Here is a film that has been marooned in an archive for 30 years and, despite a brief educational VHS release in 1985, it has gone largely unseen. Until now. Inspired by journalist Jon Bradshaw's Esquire Magazine article, Savage Skulls, Gary Weis, a filmmaker for Saturday Night Live, convinced SNL creator Lorne Michaels to help turn the concept into a feature-length documentary. Documenting the everyday activities of two South Bronx street gangs, the Savage Nomads and the Savage Skulls, the film is a glimpse into a different time, when the South Bronx was considered a land of nowhere. The 80 Blocks from Tiffany's DVD is beautifully packaged, housed in a 40-page hard cover book within a slip case. DVD bonus materials include brand new never-before-seen interviews with Weis and director of photography Joan Churchill, while the accompanying book contains all new liner notes and Jon Bradshaw s Savage Skulls article in its entirety. In recent years, the rich visual history of New York City street culture circa 1979 has come to light, mostly restricted to images only. 80 Blocks from Tiffany's might be some of the only motion picture footage that exists to describe a culture that has all but vanished. The South Bronx of today is a much different place than it was 30 years ago, a world that has long since vanished. 80 Blocks is a compelling and one-of-a-kind look into this time seen through the eyes of those trapped in a domestic war zone.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They can't make films like this anymore. August 22, 2008
Format:VHS Tape
The amazon.com product description for this video "80 Blocks from Tiffany's" is incorrect. The film takes place in the BRONX , not Brooklyn!
An intimate look at life on the streets for young teens gang members. Black and Latino teenagers of the South Bronx struggle to make it on the streets. This film takes place before Hip-Hop, before Rap, and before break dancing. The summer before the advent of Graffiti writers/bombers and Break Dance Crews took off to become an inner city cultural explosion . The film takes place in the summer of 1979. The South Bronx was a decimated landscape of abandoned buildings, ravaged by a summer of black outs and riots. These kids smoked pot not crack! They didn't break dance and scratch records. They wore denim cut off jackets and used Nazi regalia for their gang emblems.

The shockingly realistic interviews with gang members of the infamous Savage Nomads and the Savage Skulls. Amazingly this authentic documentary does not
contain any of the normal pitfalls that befuddle today's more
exploitive investigative reports on gangs of the " 60mins." type. Filmmaker Gary Weis of SNL and "Ruddles" fame manages to let the kids speak for themselves. Most of the footage are real interviews. A few scenes are re-enactments of stories as told by some of the younger street kids. A rare glimpse into late 70's New York City towards the
end of the infamous South Bronx Gangs. Anyone who is a fan of "The Warriors" would appreciate this film. The documentary shows many sides
of the mainly Puerto Rican / Latino community of the South Bronx including
reformed gang members, current gang members, the police, and the
community leaders who try and reach out. A film like this is simply unable to be made today !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!! January 6, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Finally this excellent documentary comes to dvd!! This film by Gary Weis(much respect)gives you a perfect view into the late seventies New York City, especially the Bronx.They talk with gangmembers and former gangmembers of two gangs, The Savage Nomads and the Savage Skulls and also with the New York cops! Sure there were a lot more gangs at that time but I believe that these are the most notorious.I really can recommend this film to everybody who loves the original old school HipHop cause the film takes you back to the streets of the Bronx in the seventies, where the whole HipHop culture started.Like the great Afrika Bambaataa, he was a former Black Spades member.Fortunate the youth go on with the HipHop so they became Dj's,Mc's, Graffiti writers and B-Boys and Girls, and they battle each other with turntables,rhymes and breakin instead of battle each other with knifes and guns. The dvd comes in a collector package with booklet!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When is this going to hit DVD ???????? April 23, 2007
Format:VHS Tape
Forget the WARRIORS, this is the real thing...

A documentary that watches like a movie, and inspired by some a piece of investigative journalism in ESQUIRE (*if my memory serves me right!) on gang life in the Bronx circa the 1979... in other words the tail end of the disco era right when hip hop was starting to breed (DJ Herc credits the coming together of many of these gangs of help getting the hip hop scene started, as well as hip hop leading to the decline of gang activity... everyone started spinning on their heads instead!)... The soundtrack actually is back to back CHIC (!) As you watch the film, you really can't help but wonder where all the people who were in it are today (for some reason sadly, I suspect mostly dead.)

The sites, sounds colors and stories are very engaging - - Though clearly a depiction of life in an American slum (for lack of a better word) there is also a strong sense of community - - and you almost wish you were there, until you realize that in reality you probably wouldn't want to be.

Films like "Across 110th Street", "Black Ceasar" and my favorite "Aaron Loves Angela" may have dramatically depicted this life, but here it is through the camera's lense.

If you like this film I strongly suggest getting a copy of THE EDUCATION OF SONNY CARSON (DVD) as well as reading Priri Thomas's "Down These Mean Streets" (a book that I'm surprized hasn't been made into a movie... or has it?)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw but real January 10, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was a very good doc., on Gang Culture in NYC mainly Puerto Rican and Black. At times it's a bit harsh and misguided, however it's candid nature is to be respected for the ages. This can be used to study many different aspects of culture, and NYC during the late 70's. As cruel and hopeless as those times may have seemed for my Puerto Rican people, it's nice to know that the process of assimulation and intergration have flowered. Much can be said about Government, politics, and the establishment; in these areas of the Country that seemed to have gone abandon for large periods of time. As a time piece, and a frame work on Puerto Rican Culture in this part of NYC its very good, but the problem is the that social studies tends to use this frame work as "the" model on Puerto Rican Culture and that can be dangerous and harmful to much progress. Thank you Johnny Rivera
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gangs of New York February 16, 2011
Format:DVD
This was an interesting documentary about a different era of New York. Gary Weiss spent time in the late 1970s with the Savage Nomads, the Savage Skulls, and the cops who patrolled the South Bronx. The film is a mix of interviews, live footage, and re-enactments. I was a little wary of the re-enactments, but they worked well and rang true.

There was real hopelessness in parts of the city back then. It was almost impossible for people caught in the deep poverty of the South Bronx to overcome it. You see how the kids in the neighborhood formed social relationships and codes of honor almost in isolation from the rest of the world. Obviously they were playing a bit to the camera, but the kids in the gangs didnt seem to see (or care) why people found their activities dangerous and anti-social. They are certainly aware though that society has pretty much written them off, so they only have their brothers to rely on. The gang becomes their life, and their world is more or less circumscribed by their neighborhood and, perhaps, prison. We see a couple of cases where gang members envision a life outside the gang, and try to change. It's hard though, and the pressure to backslide is always there. It was also interesting to see the strange relationship of antagonism/respect that the cops and the gang members held each other in. I especially liked the ending scene where their whole world comes together in the neighborhood block party.

Presidential campaigns of the era made it a point of stopping by the South Bronx to decry the collapse of urban America. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan made grand pronouncements amid the rubble of Charlotte Street. This film gives us a look at the lives of the people who lived there during the other 364 days of the year when the network cameras weren't rolling. I doubt most of them cared who was president.
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