The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (film)

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The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Goldstone
Produced byRobert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Screenplay byWaldo Salt
Based onThe Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
by Jimmy Breslin
StarringJerry Orbach
Leigh Taylor-Young
Jo Van Fleet
Burt Young
Lionel Stander
Robert De Niro
Irving Selbst
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyOwen Roizman
Edited byEdward A. Biery
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • December 22, 1971 (1971-12-22)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight is a 1971 American Mafia comedy film directed by James Goldstone and written by Waldo Salt, based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Jimmy Breslin, which in turn was based on the life of gangster Joe Gallo. The film stars Jerry Orbach, Leigh Taylor-Young, Jo Van Fleet, Lionel Stander, Robert De Niro and Irving Selbst. The film was released on December 22, 1971, by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1][2]


Kid Sally Palumbo (Jerry Orbach) grows jealous of his older, mobster boss Baccala (Lionel Stander), who has little respect for the crew Palumbo commands. Baccala allows Kid Sally to supervise a six-day bicycle race (for the purposes of keeping the money generated), and among the 12 Italian cyclists brought into the city is Mario Trantino (Robert De Niro), a budding thief. When the bicycle race does not take place due to outside interference, Sally is demoted to serving Baccala as a chauffeur, and Trantino stays in New York City to run his own cons, including masquerading as a priest. Kid Sally's mother Big Momma (Jo Van Fleet) urges him to take down the old, entrenched mobsters in power, but it appears the only fatalities are in his own camp, and the increase in violence draws the attention of the city police.



The movie received negative reviews. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars, writing: "Maybe part of the trouble is James Goldstone's direction, which tends toward the heavy-handed." and "The performances are too broad, the characters are too many, the plot is too indifferent to the structure of the movie, and - surprisingly - the movie is too sweet."[3]

Home media[edit]

The movie has been released on VHS and DVD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  2. ^ "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". TV Guide. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 28, 1971). "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight". Retrieved September 26, 2017.

External links[edit]