Before "Rocky" & before "The Fonz", Stallone & Winkler starred together in a gem of a movie, a low budget independent film titled "The Lords of Flatbush". Set in the rock "n" roll era of the 1950's it is a thoroughly entertaining piece of nostalgia. The film centres around a group of 4 high school boys (members of a social-athletic club known as The Lords of Flatbush) growing up on the tough streets of Brooklyn.
The film features a catchy soundtrack that you can sing along to, especially the opening tune during the credit sequence titled "Very Fine Day". It sets up the mood of the film & the fun characterisations of the 4 boys as they tease the girls in front of the school, by taking their textbooks.
"Lord's of Flatbush" gave TV star Henry Winkler of Happy Days fame the opportunity to try out his Fonzi routine. It is considered by many to be the origin or birth of the Fonzi character & is possibly the reason why he was offered the starring role in the TV series.
Sylvester Stallone plays Stanley Rosiello, a cool, leather-clad beefcake who gets himself into trouble when his girlfriend Frannie becomes pregnant. She tells him it's now time for them to get married & demands that he purchase her an engagement ring. The films standout moment would have to be the scene in the jewellery shop where Stallone is being nagged by his girfriend & her friend to purchase a very expensive ring. The scene ends when Stallone asks the girls to leave the shop while he organizes payment for the ring. He says to the shop attendant, " If you ever show my girl a ring like that again, you know what's gonna be written on your tombstone? I was dumb enough to show Frannie Malincanico a $1600 ring,Ya got that". This scene is well acted & hilariously funny.
Some of the dialogue in the film, seems to have been ad-libed but is nevertheless quite effective. Stallone, seems to be having a field day in this dynamic little role that got him some notice. He is also credited as writting some of the films additional dialogue & a lot of his characterisation is obviously self created. The roof-top pigeon scene between King & Stallone is energetically performed & perhaps, Brando inspired. I like that scene alot.
Look-out for future star Ray Sharkey (The Idolmaker)in a small cameo role as one of the students in the opening classroom scene. Also, in the film's end credits it states that Armand Assante is one of the wedding guests. Unfortunately, in the print I saw I could not find him, you might have better luck than me.
"The Lords of Flatbush" is a film about growing up & moving on, a theme which is prevalent in all teen films. Lords is a fun, campy classic that deserves the title of low budget gem. It is well worth the hiring fee just to see a young Stallone & a young Winkler developing the personas (Rocky & Fonzi) that would later make them famous. Just as the case cover says Lords is "A minor masterpiece".