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MEAN STREETS (tonight, BBC2,

11.40pm), Martin Scors­ese’s hard-hit­ting third fea­ture film, truly marked him out as one of Amer­ica’s most ex­cit­ing di­rec­tors, fea­tur­ing many stylis­tic touches that have re­curred through­out his ca­reer.

It also marked his first col­lab­o­ra­tion with lead­ing man Robert De Niro. Har­vey Kei­tel co-stars as Char­lie, a young Ital­ian-Amer­i­can who feels torn be­tween his Catholic faith and his de­sire to rise through the ranks of the mob. To ease his con­science, Char­lie takes it upon him­self to pro­tect his friend Johnny Boy (an elec­tri­fy­ing De Niro), a reck­less, self-de­struc­tive gam­bler who is in debt to the local loan sharks.

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