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Summer of Sam Details


In the summer of 1977, a serial killer who called himself Son of Sam (real name David Berkowitz) held New York City in terror as he went on a killing spree, periodically writing letters to New York's media in which he took full responsibility for the murders and made clear that he intended to kill again. Spike Lee's Summer of Sam deals in part with this crime spree, but it mostly looks back at the fearful impact of his crimes on New York's collective consciousness. Vinny and Dionna (John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino) are an unhappy young married couple living in the Bronx; Vinny often cheats on Dionna but is wracked with guilt about it, while Dionna fears she lacks the looks or allure to hold onto a man. Ritchie (Adrien Brody) is a neighborhood kid turned punk rocker (complete with a fake British accent); he has a band and a girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito) but also makes money as an exotic dancer at a gay club. And Luigi (Ben Gazzara), a longtime leader of organized crime in the Bronx, is approached by the police, with whom he generally has a less cordial relationship, to help them find the killer, as the citizens of some neighborhoods barricade their streets in fear that he will strike there next. Meanwhile, a tortured psychopath named David Berkowitz (Michael Badalucco) seethes with rage in his gloomy apartment and receives messages from a demonic dog who commands him to kill and kill again. Spike Lee's first film without a primarily African-American cast (though bearing the unmistakable New York stamp that's one of his hallmarks), Summer of Sam was shown as part of the Directors Fortnight series at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:July 2, 1999


John Leguizamo
as Vinny
Adrien Brody
as Ritchie
Mira Sorvino
as Dionna
Jennifer Esposito
as Ruby
Anthony LaPaglia
as Detective Lou Petrocelli
Bebe Neuwirth
as Gloria
Patti LuPone
as Helen
Ben Gazzara
as Luigi
Joe Lisi
as Tony Olives
Michael Badalucco
as David Berkowitz
Michael Rispoli
as Joe T
John Savage
as Simon
Roger Guenveur Smith
as Detective Curt Atwater
Saverio Guerra
as Woodstock
Brian Tarantina
as Bobby Del Fiore
Arthur Nascarella
as Mario
Jimmy Breslin
as Himself
Al Palagonia
as Anthony
Ken Garito
as Brian
Mike Starr
as Eddie
Spike Lee
as John Jeffries
Kim Director
as Dee
Rome Neal
as Bed Stuy Man Interviewed
Kim Director
as Dee


Spike Lee
Spike Lee
Jon Kilik
Spike Lee
Michael Imperioli
Victor Colicchio
Ellen Kuras
Alex Steyermark
Musical Direction/Supervision
Terence Blanchard
Composer (Music Score)
Barry Alexander Brown
Therese DePrez
Production Designer
Nicholas Lundy
Art Director
Michael Imperioli
Executive Producer
Ruth E. Carter
Costume Designer
Rolf Pardula
Sound/Sound Designer
Chuck Jeffreys
Aisha Coley