|Directed by||Rob Weiss|
|Produced by||Matt Blumberg|
|Written by||Rob Weiss|
|Music by||Jeff Sternhell|
|Edited by||Leo Trombetta|
|Distributed by||Fine Line Features|
|US 23 July 1993
UK 26 November 1993
Amongst Friends is a 1993 film written and directed by Rob Weiss.
The film portrays the conspicuous consumption and aggressive upward mobility among the mobsters and drug dealers living among the affluent communities in the Five Towns in southwestern Nassau County, New York. Weiss's voiceover introduces the film citing the contrasts in a community where "you got judges living next to gamblers next to rabbis living next to dentists" and "16-year-old kids thinking and acting like they're Flavor Flav." The film tells the story of three boys — Billy (Joseph Lindsey), Trevor (Patrick McGaw) and Andy (Steve Parlavecchio) — who stray from their parents' professional careers to become low-level gangsters and end up involved in drug running and murder.
The film received considerable attention at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival and opened in New York City in July. Weiss grew up in Baldwin, New York, close to the Five Towns, and lived with his father in Lawrence for a period of time. While emphasizing that the characters in the film are fictional, Weiss acknowledged that "I'm going to try to hide during the Five Towns screening."
The film was produced for $900,000, most of which was raised from friends and family, and was shot on location in the Five Towns. With finances tight, a scene in which Weiss opens a bag of Doritos was filmed using yellow cardboard triangles. The film was distributed by Fine Line Features, a division of New Line Cinema.
Mira Sorvino was hired to work on the film in pre-production as third assistant director, then was promoted to casting director, then to assistant producer, and was finally offered a lead role. Positive reviews received for her role in the film helped jump start her career. Her grandfather, Ford Sorvino, appears in the film, providing comic relief.
Peter Travers in Rolling Stone gave the film three stars, stating that Weiss made "a sensational debut as writer and director", despite the lack of stars or a big budget in a film written with the "pitch-perfect eloquence about the mean streets he knows."
A soundtrack containing hip hop and alternative rock was released on August 31, 1993 by Atlantic Records.
- Lyall, Sarah. "FILM; 'Amongst Friends' Tops Off a Journey Of Self-Discovery", The New York Times, July 18, 1993. Accessed September 18, 2008. "Born in Baldwin, near the Five Towns, Mr. Weiss dropped out of the Parsons School of Design, where he studied fashion, then film. He found himself out of work and living goallessly back at his divorced father's house in Lawrence, smack in the Five Towns."
- James Berardinelli (1993). "Review: Amongst Friends".
- Hal Hinson (August 13, 1993). "Amongst Friends". Washington Post.
- Travers, Peter. "Amongst Friends", Rolling Stone. Accessed September 18, 2008.