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Clockers (film)

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Title: Clockers (film)  
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Subject: List of film director and actor collaborations, Delroy Lindo, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Jamie Hector, Freak (film)
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Clockers (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Spike Lee
Produced by Martin Scorsese
Spike Lee
Jon Kilik
Screenplay by Richard Price
Spike Lee
Based on Clockers 
by Richard Price
Starring Harvey Keitel
John Turturro
Delroy Lindo
Mekhi Phifer
Isaiah Washington
Keith David
Pee Wee Love
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Malik Hassan Sayeed
Edited by Sam Pollard
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates September 13, 1995
Running time 128 minutes
Language English
Budget $25,000,000 (est.)
Box office $13,071,518

Clockers is a 1995 American crime drama film directed by Spike Lee. It is an adaptation of the eponymous 1992 novel by Richard Price, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Lee. The film stars Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, and Mekhi Phifer in his debut film role. Set in New York City, Clockers tells the story of Strike (Phifer), a street-level drug dealer who becomes entangled in a murder investigation.

Plot summary

In a Brooklyn housing project, a group of "clockers" - street-level drug dealers - sell drugs for Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo), a local drug lord. Rodney tells Ronald "Strike" Dunham (Mekhi Phifer), one of his lead clockers, that another dealer, Darryl Adams (Steve White), is stealing from him and "got to be got", implying that he wants Strike to kill Darryl. Strike then meets with his brother, Victor Dunham (Isaiah Washington) and tries to persuade Victor to kill Darryl Adams.

Rocco Klein (Harvey Keitel) and Larry Mazilli (John Turturro), homicide detectives, ride to the scene of Darryl Adams' murder. Larry and Rocco receive a phone call from another detective who says a man has confessed at a local church that he killed Darryl. The police meet Strike's older brother Victor at the church and take him in for questioning. In the interrogation room, Victor tells Rocco that he shot Darryl Adams in self-defense. Rocco finds holes in this story and starts looking into Victor's background which includes two jobs, a wife, two children, no criminal record, and aspirations to move out of the projects; Rocco comes to the conclusion that Victor is covering for his younger brother.

Rocco pressures Strike but Victor sticks to his story, so Rocco convinces Rodney that Strike has confessed and informed on Rodney's drug ring. Rocco arrests Rodney and then implicates Strike in front of his crew. Strike gets together some money and decides to leave town, but a younger boy who admired Strike shoots Errol, Rodney's enforcer, with Strike's gun. later the young boy is taken into custody and confesses that he got the gun from Strike. Rocco lets Strike leave town.


Conception and adaptation

David Denby of New York magazine said that while the original novel was "filled with operational detail" the film adaptation was "more emotional" and "less factual".[1] Denby further explained that Spike Lee, the film director, was "concerned less with Strike's spiritual condition than with the survival of the entire community."[1]

Denby said that Lee, in the work, "jumps around a lot, telling his story in hot flashes" as typical in Spike Lee films, arguing that the technique makes the film "difficult to follow".[1] In regards to the cinematography of Malik Sayeed, Denby said that it was "rough and dark-hued, with an almost tabloid angriness in the scenes of violence."[1]

Film poster

Critics and film buffs were quick to notice that the poster, designed by Art Sims, was similar to Saul Bass' art for Otto Preminger's 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder. Sims claimed that it was a homage, but Bass regarded it as a rip-off.[2]


Critical response

The film received generally positive reviews. Roger Ebert gave the movie three-and-a-half stars,[3] and the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes records that 67% of reviewers viewed it positively.[4]

Box office

The movie had a poor opening at the box office.[5]


  1. "People in Search of a Life" - Marc Dorsey
  2. "Love Me Still" - Chaka Khan
  3. "Silent Hero" - Des'ree
  4. "Bird of Freedom" - Seal
  5. "Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers" - The Crooklyn Dodgers
  6. "Bad Boy No Go a Jail" - Mega Banton
  7. "Blast of the Iron" - Rebelz of Authority
  8. "Reality Check" - Buckshot Lefonque
  9. "Illa Killa" - Strictly Difficult
  10. "Sex Soldier" - Rebelz of Authority
  11. "Reality" - Brooklynites
  12. "Changes" - Marc Dorsey


  • Denby, David. "Hard Time." ("Movies" section) New York (magazine). September 18, 1995. New York Media, LLC. Vol. 28, No. 37. ISSN 0028-7369. p. 72-73.


  1. ^ a b c d Denby, p. 73.
  2. ^ Schaefer, Stephen (1995-09-08). "Poster Imposter | News". Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  3. ^ "Clockers". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  4. ^ "Clockers (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Dutka, Elaine (1995-09-19). "Weekend Box Office : 3 New Films Open Quietly - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 

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