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City by the Sea (Widescreen Edition)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert De Niro, Frances Mc Dormand, James Franco, Eliza Dushku, William Forsythe
  • Directors: Michael Caton-jones
  • Writers: Michael Caton-jones, Ken Hixon, Frank R. Pierson
  • Producers: Michael Caton-jones, Andrew Stevens, Dan Klores, Don Carmody, Roger Paradiso
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4OI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,718 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "City by the Sea (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Drama. When a respected New York homicide detective (Robert De Niro) discovers the prime suspect in a murder case is his estranged son (James Franco), he is forced to return home to the decaying boardwalks of Long Beach, Long Island to confront the darkness of his past. During the course of the investigation, he realizes that his failures as a father - and his unresolved anguish about the painful estrangement - have deeply influenced his son's life, and he must put his own life on the line in order to do right by both his family and his profession.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By "wendy0528" on September 7, 2002
For me, City By The Sea (based on actual events) is the story of three generations of LaMarca men. In spite of his father (who desperately kidnapped a baby that accidentally died and was "given the chair"), New York City homicide detective Vincent LaMarca (Robert DeNiro) has had a long, successful career. The stakes are highest in his latest case: trying to protect his estranged and only son Joey (James Franco) who, on a high, killed a dope dealer in Long Beach (the "City by the Sea") and possibly a cop, Vincent's partner Reg (George Dzundza). Frances McDormand plays Vincent's girlfriend who he keeps at arms length. Her apartment is just below his, yet she knows nothing of his personal history. Vincent can't seem to escape his past, the bad name set by his father, yet he wants to finally do right by his own son as well as his girlfriend and himself.
Some will say this film is slow. I say, not all movies are fast-paced and action-packed. City By The Sea is full of emotional turmoil and an all-star, award-winning cast. DeNiro's role is a bit calmer that his usual, but it's still a DeNiro performance with some emotionally heart-wrenching dialogue, especially with his son. James Franco, who received a best actor award for TNT's James Dean, has whatever it is that makes the audience unable to look away. His character Joey isn't a bad kid. He's just honestly trying to get himself out of the messed up life he's made for himself. Franco has that James Dean intensity on screen, most definitely. Frances McDormand's role is pretty subtle, but she makes it as real as possible. William Forsythe, who I usually see as one of the "good guys" (cop, FBI), plays Spyder, boss to the dope dealer that Joey killed. Keep your eyes open for a pretty news reporter named Vanessa. She may not look familiar, but she's DeNiro's daughter, Drena. - B+
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2004
Format: DVD
"City by the Sea" begins as a typical cop drama - Vincent DeMarca (Robert DeNiro) is a good solid New Jersey cop with a history. His father was executed as a "baby-killer", and now Vincent's own son Joey (James Franco), whom he abandoned as a young boy, is a strung out junkie suspected of killing DeMarca's partner. The scenes are predictably dingy and muted, with Frances McDormand popping out of her apartment now and then as DeMarca's girlfriend. The first part of this movie honestly felt like the pilot for a new television drama - with calculated character introductions and back story. But then something marvelous happens: the quality of the acting kicks in to elevate the film beyond its script. James Franco is astonishingly convincing as a junkie who both loves and despises his father, and DeNiro fools us into believing he's just an ordinary guy until the moment when all the layers are stripped off. Frances McDormand does a competent job with what she is given (not much) while adding a needed texture to DeMarca's life.
This film is probably the quietest cop drama I've ever seen because it's not about crimes one can be arrested for. It probes the fragile relationship between fathers and sons, and the obligations each needs to face. The film never picks up the slow paces it sets up in the beginning, so those hoping for the high action of traditional cop dramas will be disappointed. Make no mistake: this is a three-star movie raised to four stars by the performances of DeNiro and Franco. Still, the pivotal scene is a powerful one.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Zack H. on March 11, 2005
Format: DVD
If you want action, blood, gore, thrills, and cheap tricks; stay away from this one. This takes you back to the way a movie was told without all the hoopla. You find yourself getting involved and relating to the characters. Is it so bad to see emotional conflict, intense situations, reality, and still have a happy ending? This is a unique story of a family torn apart and eventually brought back together after many years. It takes place in the down and hardened east coast 'cities by the sea'. The emotions seem heartfelt and there is plenty of action. I thought the performances were all exceptional. In fact everything about this movie is quite exceptional, so why it didn't get better reviews or doesn't linger on the mind longer is sort of a mystery then.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L Gontzes on March 31, 2005
Format: DVD
City by the Sea brings to the screen the story of a police officer who finds himself stuck between a rock and hard place as he has to arrest his own son.

It is a movie about human relations, hope and second chances, but most importantly about trust, inner strength, courage, sacrifice, and how love can overcome and prevail even in the most difficult of situations.

Robert De Niro, James Franco and the rest of the cast have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are exceptional to say the least. All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows (the chemistry is AMAZING)!

The setting, the plot, the dialogues, and the music are all wonderful!

In conclusion, City by the Sea is a movie guaranteed to provide an evening's entertainment; it is one of those films that gets you and keeps you thinking long after it's over.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Diana F. Von Behren TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2002
In this gritty New York drama, De Niro and Franco add two first rate performances to their already impressive cinematic repertoires. De Niro is a Vincent, aworld-weary cop, divorced and haunted on a two generational front: his father was executed for the murder of a kidnapped child, his son is a junkie on the streets struggling to survive. Franco plays De Niro's tortured son, wandering through the burnt out former Long Beach boardwalk area looking for his next hit and dreaming about escaping to Key West to find a better existence. The basic plot revolves around the self-defense killing of a drug dealer which leads to the shooting of an investigating police officer, but the real drama lies in the unresolved pathos sensed between father and son. De Niro is fantastically unable to express his disappointment verbally, yet emotes openly with his eyes and body language. Franco, reminiscient of 50s icon James Dean, should win an Oscar for his totally believable portrayal of a son that feels he has lost his father's love and can do nothing positive in his life until he gains the recoginition he deserves as a son.
Look for Patty LaPone (Evita) as the mother who simultaneously rips De Niro apart while wanting so desperately to believe her son when he tells her he wants to get clean.
Powerful, memorable performances all around. Recommended highly.
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