“Paradise Alley” (1978) written, directed and starring Sylvester Stallone / Z-View

Paradise Alley (1978)

Director: Sylvester Stallone

Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Lee Canalito, Armand Assante, Frank McRae, Anne Archer, Kevin Conway, Terry Funk, Joyce Ingalls, Joe Spinell, Aimee Eccles, Tom Waits, Frank Pesce, Ray Sharkey, Frank Stallone, Ted DiBiase, Dory Funk Jr., Don Leo Jonathan, Gene Kiniski, Dick Murdoch, Ray Stevens  and Paul Mace.

Tagline:  Three brothers… One had the brains, one had the muscle and one had the suit. Together they had a million dollar dream.

The Plot…

The Carboni brothers, Lenny (Assante), Cosmo (Stallone) and Victor (Canalito) are just getting by.  Lenny, who returned from the war a hero with a limp, is an undertaker.  Cosmo lives by his wits, always looking for a fast buck.  Victor hauls ice.

After an evening in Paradise Alley where real (not scripted) wrestling matches take place, Cosmo gets an idea.  Victor could become a professional wrestler with Cosmo as his manager.  Lenny sees that Cosmo has a good idea, but fears that Victor could be exploited.  Victor likes the idea of the brothers working together so Lenny becomes his manager and Cosmo his trainer.

Victor becomes a popular, winning wrestler.  This puts him in the crosshairs of Stitch Mahone and Frankie the Thumper.  Stitch is a local mobster and Thumper is a big dumb brute who happens to be an undefeated wrestler.  As Cosmo begins to have concerns that Victor is being pushed to fight to often, Lenny starts working on a fight with Frankie the Thumper.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Sly Stallone wrote, directed, starred in and sang the title song for Paradise Alley.  It was his directorial debut.

Paradise Alley was Terry Funk’s, Lee Canalito’s and Tom Waits’ feature film debut.

Frank McRae as Big Glory and Terry Funk as Frankie the Thumper own their scenes.

The final wrestling match in the Paradise Alley ring during a pouring thunderstorm is amazing.

I rate Paradise Alley higher than most folks.  Keep in mind that I am a huge Sly Stallone fan.  Your mileage may vary.

Paradise Alley (1978) rates 5 of 5 stars.