80 Blocks from Tiffany’s is a documentary that puts a human face to the NYC street gangs of the 1970s. Filmed in 1979, and released on VHS in 1985, Tiffany’s is not a well-known film. In fact, it was considered almost impossible to find until now, which is exciting given how great this film is.
Director Gary Weise interviews members of Bronx gangs, allowing them to tell their story. It is surprising how open and honest some of the interviewees are. They speak candidly about their lives as outlaws, and one can’t help but feel sympathetic to them. Weise attempts to be unbiased by interviewing the Bronx police force that interacts with these gangs, also. However, the true heart of the film lies with the gangs, which are more like chosen families or support groups for a lot of lost causes.
Tiffany’s is short and sweet, clocking in at mere 72 minutes. This may be too short for some to justify a DVD purchase, which I understand. If that is the case, it can be viewed online for free (and legally) here. However, if you have the extra money, I suggest you support this great, almost forgotten piece of cinema. Also, the DVD has bonus features not available online. Either way, don’t miss out on this engaging look into ‘70s street life.