The birth of Martin Scorsese, as most moviegoers have come to think of him. The director’s first foray into the Italian-American mob scene, Mean Streets is steeped in the sort of tough-guy patter and stylistic flashes that would cohere so brilliantly in Goodfellas and form the backbone of a number of his other films. Sometimes Scorsese’s operatic technique – including the many tracking shots propelled by rock and Motown – overshadows the story, which centers on a religiously minded loan shark (Harvey Keitel) who puts a misguided premium on penance. Still, it’s invigorating to watch Scorsese feel his way. With future muse Robert De Niro, absolutely mesmerizing as a loose-cannon, low-level hood Keitel’s character feels obligated to protect. The minute he walks into a room (aided by Scorsese’s camera) the air crackles with charm, menace, and violence.