Fans can’t get enough of A Bronx Tale lately, and as fans ourselves, we can’t say we’re mad about it. Not only is the 1993 movie always playing on TV, but you can also catch the hit as a Broadway musical in NYC today for the second time (it had a short stint back in 2007). However many are wondering: Is A Bronx Tale a true story?
The answer? Yes and no. A Bronx Tale was originally a one-man show play done by Chazz Palminteri in LA and Off-Broadway before it was eventually turned into a movie directed by Robert De Niro, which starred Robert and Chazz himself.
In a previous interview, Chazz shared that the story is semi-autobiographical. “It’s not a documentary,” he said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “One true thing in the story was I saw a killing as a kid. Also, my father drove a bus. And I threw dice with the wise guys and I had a relationship with a black girl. All these events happened in my life and I put the story together. I was always interested to write about the working man.”
The story follows young boy Calogero Anello (Chazz’s real name is Calogero, by the way!) who is faced with a tough choice: to continue being a good boy for his middle class bus driver father (played by Robert De Niro) or join a life of organized crime with Mafia boss Sonny (played by Chazz Palminteri).
Robert De Niro in A Bronx Tale.
Chazz also shared how his father felt about the film as well as Robert’s impression of him. “He loved it. Especially when he first saw the play, and then when the movie came out. Robert De Niro and him hung out for a month, because De Niro was playing him and wanted to get to know him. Imagine that,” Chazz told Globe and Mail. “Here’s my father, a Sicilian who loved The Godfather and Robert De Niro. And now he’s playing him. I mean, c’mon.”
The best part of the tale (pun intended)? It remains a timeless flick today. As Chazz says, “It’s a universal story, a great story for kids to see, and fathers. The message in the movie is that the saddest thing in life is wasted talent, a message that really rings true to a lot of people.”