The Public Eye (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Public Eye (1992)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Public Eye Photos

Movie Info

Howard Franklin wrote and directed this film noir character study based on the famed New York Daily News photographer Weegee. Joe Pesci plays a character named Bernstein, a freelance photographer for the New York City tabloids of the 1940s. His life is dedicated to his work; with a police radio under the dashboard of his car and a darkroom in his trunk, he quickly and efficiently races to the scene of crimes, accidents and murders to snap photographs of gangsters, politicians, cops, and prostitutes, which he promptly delivers to the newspapers. His knack for arriving at a crime scene before the police earns him the nickname the Great Bernzini. The trouble begins for Bernstein when he agrees to look up a gangster for Kay (Barbara Hershey), the sexy owner of a fancy Manhattan nightclub. After making inquiries, Bernstein traces the man Kay is looking for, but he turns up dead. When he informs the police, he becomes a suspect in the murder; it also turns out that the FBI is interested the case. Bernstein then uncovers an elaborate conspiracy concerning gas rationing, the mob, and the government.

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Joe Pesci
as Leon `Bernzy' Bernstein
Barbara Hershey
as Kay Levitz
Stanley Tucci
as Sal Minetto
Jerry Adler
as Arthur Nabler
Jared Harris
as Danny the Doorman
Gerry Becker
as Conklin
Del Close
as H.R. Rineman
Richard Foronjy
as Farinelli
Tim Gamble
as Agt. Chadwick
Richard Riehle
as Officer O'Brien
Max Brooks
as Teen at Thompson Street
Richard Schiff
as Photographer at Thompson Street
Laura Cerone
as Puerto Rican Woman
Laura Cerón
as Puerto Rican Woman
Chuck Gillespie
as Cop, Puerto Rican Tenement
Christian Stolti
as Ambulance Attendant
Bryan Smith
as Young Cop
Jack Denbo
as Photo Editor
Ellen McElduff
as Lonely Woman at Drugstore
Marge Kotlisky
as Rineman's Receptionist
Timothy Hendrickson
as Richard Rineman
Henry Bolzon
as Photographer at Cafe
Mick McGovern
as Cop with Hood
Maurice Bravo
as 1st Photographer
Tom Lauricella
as 2nd Photographer
George Lugg
as 3rd Photographer
Vinny Argiro
as Sergeant at Police Station
David Hull
as Thatcher White
Kyle Moore
as Young Agent
Bob Gunton
as Older Agent
Peter Maloney
as Federal Watchman
Randall Stanton
as Federal Guard
Jason Wells
as Garage Attendant
Joe Guzaldo
as Spoleto's Lieutenant
Al Mancini
as Camera Shop Clerk
Ian Abercrombie
as Mr. Brown
Nick Tate
as Henry Haddock Jr.
Jean Zarzour
as Sal's Wife
Toni Fleming
as Sal's Mother
Guido DiMarco
as Mr. D'Angelo
Teresa DiMarco
as Mrs. D'Angelo
Phil Locker
as Arresting Cop
Shay Duffin
as Chief of Police
John Farris
as Albert Gerard
Joe V. Greco
as Villa Guard/Hitman
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Critic Reviews for The Public Eye

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (5)

The tale's mournful B-movie romanticism-and Pesci's introspective, crablike performance gets under your skin. In its moody, daffy way, The Public Eye gives off an authentic reek of artistic compulsion.

January 18, 2013 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There are moments in The Public Eye that made me think a little about Casablanca, especially the earlier scenes when Bogart is still mad at Bergman. Higher praise is not necessary.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The Public Eye is the sort of film that frankly never had any chance of becoming a financial success (it grossed a paltry $3 million against a $15 million budget), yet it's good enough that we're thankful the studio elected to waste money on it anyway.

August 5, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The film's visual rhythm is a key reflection of its story, so that neither the lush beauty nor the arresting squalor is gratuitous.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Essentially this is an undeveloped concept, an assorted collection of characters in search of an author. A true sign of its problems emerges from the increasing sense that until the end, the most explosive moments are the popping of flash bulbs.

April 16, 2018 | Full Review…

Plays as if a moody 1940's noir film.

August 16, 2013 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Public Eye


Seriously underrated noir with a great performance by Pesci. This film really needs, and is really deserving of a DVD release!

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

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