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‘The Lords of Flatbush’: A Gritty Snapshot of 1950s Brooklyn

Where Sly Stallone and Henry Winkler got their start.


In the landscape of 1970s cinema, The Lords of Flatbush stands as a raw and nostalgic portrayal of adolescent camaraderie set against the backdrop of 1950s Brooklyn. Directed by Martin Davidson and Stephen Verona, this coming-of-age drama captured the hearts of audiences with its authentic portrayal of teenage life and the struggles of growing up in a working-class neighborhood.

The Lords of Flatbush revolves around a group of tough and charismatic high school students from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Led by the charismatic Chico (Perry King), the group navigates the challenges of adolescence, including relationships, family dynamics, and their uncertain futures.

(Lords of Flatbush) Columbia Pictures

Released in 1974, The Lords of Flatbush didn’t achieve widespread commercial success upon its initial release, but it gained a dedicated following over the years, thanks to breakout performances of its cast members. It has since become a cult classic with a loyal following.

Here, we look at the The Lords of Flatbush cast and where they are now.

Sylvester Stallone as Stanley Rosiello

Sylvester Stallone as Stanley Rosiello (Lords of Flatbush)
1974/2023Archive Photos / Stringer/Getty; Ethan Miller / Staff/Getty

Born on July 6, 1946, New York City, Sylvester Stallone played the role of Stanley Rosiello aka, Stanley the Animal, a tough and hot-headed member of the Lords gang who struggles with his temper and his relationships.

Lords of Flatbush put Stallone on the big screen, but it was another film that launched him to success.

Stallone wanted to be known as a screenwriter, not just an actor, so he wrote a film script about a nobody fighter given the opportunity to win the heavyweight title. Rocky (1976) became the stuff of cinematic legends, scoring ten Academy Award nominations, winning the Best Picture Award and triggering one of the most financially successful movie franchises. In addition to all the Rocky films, Stallone did the Rambo franchise, as well as dozens of other action-adventure films. His most recent is The Expendables 4 which came out in 2023.

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Henry Winkler as Butchey Weinstein: Lords of Flatbush

Henry Winkler as Butchey Weinstein
1975/2024 Silver Screen Collection / Contributor/Getty; Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty

Born on October 30, 1945, in New York City, Henry Winkler played the role of Butchey Weinstein (Butch), a member of the Lords gang who dreams of becoming a singer and escaping his tough neighborhood.

Winkler got his start in commercials before landing the role in The Lords of Flatbush. That led to his career-defining role as Fonzie in the wildly successful Happy Days sitcom. Ironically, when he first landed the part of high school dropout and greaser Arthur Fonzarelli, the character had a very small role in the first few episodes of the sitcom. However, the character became extremely popular with viewers and was then given a prominent position in the series. 

Winkler continued to act in both TV and movies appearing in Scream (1996) and The Waterboy (1998) and on shows such as Royal Pains, Children’s Hospital, Out of Practice and Arrested Development.

Most recently, he was in the TV show Barry. He also has been doing a lot of voice work for animated series.

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Perry King as Chico Tyrell

Perry King as Chico Tyrell (Lords of Flatbush)
1974/2017 Michael Ochs Archives / Handout/Getty; Paul Archuleta / Contributor/Getty

Born on April 30, 1948, in Alliance, Ohio, Perry King played the role of Chico Tyrell, the leader of the Lords gang, known for his charm, confidence, and rebellious spirit.

King made his film debut in the 1972 film Slaughterhouse-Five. After appearing in Lords of Flatbush, he continued to act. In 1975, he portrayed Hammond Maxwell in Mandingo. In 1984, he was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his role in the TV movie The Hasty Heart. In 2004 he played President Blake in The Day After Tomorrow and in 2018 he played Sam Kincaid in The Divide.

He also appeared in TV and played the role of Cody Allen on the series Riptide, he played the role of Hayley Armstrong on Melrose Place, and he was Richard Williams in the series Titans (which also starred Yasmine Bleeth).

Most recently, he was in the 2023 podcast The Signal.

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Paul Mace as Wimpy Murgalo: Lords of Flatbush

Paul Mace as Wimpy Murgalo
1974Sunset Boulevard / Contributor/Getty

Born January 15, 1950, in Brooklyn, New York, Paul Mace played the character Wimpy Murgalo, a member of the Lords gang who struggles with his self-confidence and his desire to fit in.

Mace appeared in the TV series Search for Tomorrow and the movie The Panic in Needle Park before landing the role in Lords of Flatbush. He continued to act after that film and appeared in Paradise Alley (1978) and TV series such as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Mace died in a motorcycle accident in 1983 He was only 33.

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Susan Blakely as Jane Bradshaw

Susan Blakely as Jane Bradshaw (Lords of Flatbush)
1979/2023 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty; Amanda Edwards / Contributor/Getty

Born on September 7, 1948, Frankfurt, Germany, Susan Blakely played the role of Jane Bradshaw, Butch’s love interest and a member of the girls’ gang known as the Babes.

Blakely had small parts in movies such as Savages (1972) and The Way We Were (1973), before landing two roles in 1974: Lords of Flatbush and The Towering Inferno. She then landed her career-defining role as Julie Prescott in the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man. She continued to land parts on TV shows including Falcon Crest, Project: Phoenix and This is Us.

She also continues to act in films with her most recent movie Emily or Oscar (2022).

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Ray Sharkey as Crazy Cohen: Lords of Flatbush

Ray Sharkey as Crazy Cohen
1982/1989 MediaPunch / Contributor/Getty; MediaPunch / Contributor/Getty

Born on November 14, 1952, in Brooklyn, New York, Ray Sharkey played the role of Crazy Cohen, a member of the Lords gang known for his wild antics and unpredictable behavior.

Sharkey made his career debut in Lords of Flatbush. From there, he went on to appear in Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978), The Idolmaker (1980) and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989). His last film project was the 1993 movie Cop & ½

He also appeared on TV in Kojak, Barny Miller, Crime Story, Wiseguy, and The Man in the Family.

Unfortunately, Sharkey struggled with substance abuse issues and he passed away in 1993. He was 40 years old. According to Herb Nanas, Sharkey’s manager, the cause of death was AIDS, thought to be contracted by infected needles.

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