Everything in Harlem is black — except all business which is owned by whites and immigrants. The only stores that are not owned by whites, the street people will tell you, are the omnipresent funeral homes, since white undertakers will have nothing to do with black bodies. Being an undertaker is one of the surest ways of reaching middle-class status. For death is as ubiquitous in Harlem as the fear haunting everybody beneath the uneasy sporadic laughter. Yet I feel safer as a member of the ever-present invisible «Whitey» in Harlem than most blacks are, for as always in slavery, aggression is aimed towards fellow victims rather than towards the hated oppressor.
Charlie is a nephew of the criminal leader in Little Italy of New York dreaming of his own restaurant. If Charlie wants to do the trick from this day he must get commendation from rich uncle, serve the decencies, be assiduous and stay out of his crazy pal Jonny Boy. Jonny is a daffy guy without any brakes! He is drinking every day, haven`t any job and takes moneylender `s cash without returning. A life story of two friends John and Charlie who are trying to escape from dangerous mafia`s environment inspired Martin Scorsese to create a hard nervous and harsh script about the temper of a «Wild East»