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[tab title="Movie Review"]

Paradise Alley (1978) - Blu-ray

The slums never appeared so expressive and atmospheric than they do in this flick.  The 1940s absolutely come alive thanks to an eloquent expression of nightmarish entrapment that hugs the atmosphere and the crazy characters of this poverty row picture from Sylvester Stallone, who proves via a rooftop challenge in the film’s opening montage that his gift for warmth and humor and visual panache is not limited to boxing alone.

Too bad Paradise Alley closed shop too soon.

"worthy of your time and your reconsideration.  It is not the poor film that many have made it out to be"

Stallone can nail the working-class vibe and the archetypal characters that surround that emotional world like few others can.  Scorsese comes to mind.  Obviously, Stallone is not as mighty as Martin, though.  He gets it, though.  The doomed worlds.  The characters.  The sad stories; he gets it.  His work on the Rambo films is proof enough.  But in 1978, his directorial debut, Paradise Alley, got butchered by a film company that whittled it down its barest of essentials and then roasted by film critics.

The treatment of Paradise Alley, in which Stallone, Lee Canalito, and Armand Assante play orphans who can only rely on themselves – sometimes – in a crusty world of limelight wrestling matches, was cruel and unfair.  It isn’t as bad as the print critics ever made it out to be, smashing the golden boy statue of Stallone with wit and malice.  The movie deserves a full restoration but, thanks to Shout! Select, it can at least be once again seen. This time on blu-ray thanks to the company’s efforts.{googleads}

So, Stallone sings the theme song. Accept that first; this is somewhat of a vanity project after all.  In the movie, Cosmo Carboni (Stallone) calls Hell’s Kitchen his home.  He is looking for anyway out. He can take anything that heat delivers and so can his brothers – all orphans – but they all dream of escape and a brighter future.  Both funny and heartfelt, this is the shambled setting of the film.

Their collective need to get out, though, runs straight through Paradise Alley, a club – as dingy as they come – where wild, bank-rolled wrestling matches happen.  It is here that younger brother Victor (Lee Canalito) achieves notoriety.  And, as their dream of escape seems to be coming to fruition, the in-fighting between brother Lenny (Armand Assante) and Cosmo and Victory just might ground them before their lift-off.Paradise Alley (1978) - Blu-ray

Co-starring Anne Archer, Joe Spinell, and Tom Waits, and featuring a roster of well-known professional wrestlers, including Terry Funk, Ted DiBiase, and Ray Stevens, Paradise Alley is worthy of your time and your reconsideration.  It is not the poor film that many have made it out to be and, if released today, would probably bring home several Academy nominations. 

Made between the first and second Rocky films, this film tells the tale of three brothers – with very different jobs – that dream of escape, this film rules the block with heart, charisma, and charming wit.  It comes highly recommended.

4 beers


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Paradise Alley (1978) - Blu-ray


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 23, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85, it is the punched-up color you will notice first.  The reds are delicious and the greens are fertile.  The blues go deep, too.  From the whites of the lights to the yellowed walls of the club, the transfer has the film loaded with details and fresh-looking life.  Skin features are strong and detailed.  The sound is presented in a strong DTS HD MA 2.0 track.



  • None

Special Features:

This isn’t the greatest selection of supplemental material ever assembled from Shout! Select.

  • Trailers
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars



[tab title="Film Details"]

Paradise Alley (1978) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
107 mins
: Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone, Lee Canalito, Armand Assante
: Drama
The Carboni Boys. They haul ice, lay out stiffs and dance with monkeys.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That ain't real pigeon crap. That's just something I had sewn on to make me stand out in a crowd. You know?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 2 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 23, 2019
Synopsis: Cosmo Carboni (Stallone) and his two brothers could take anything that Hell's Kitchen had to dish out — but they had a dream of getting out and making it big. The exit signs point to Paradise Alley, a sleazy private club where raucous wrestling matches with big purses are the order of the day. When younger brother Victor (Lee Canalito) steps into the ring, it appears their shared dream might finally become a reality ... but tensions between Cosmo, Victor, and brother Lenny (Armand Assante, I, The Jury) might rip the family apart first.



[tab title="Art"]

Paradise Alley (1978) - Blu-ray