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Any good coming-of-age tale is bound to be evaluated by two questions: What happens to our young lead character in the end, besides looking older on the surface?

What happens to us as observing that inevitable process of maturation?

While the hero of “A Bronx Tale” recounts nostalgic memories of his early years, the movie takes us into his small world via intimate drama and strong characters, and we see how much he was influenced by two different father figures.

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It is 1960, and Calogero Anello (Francis Capra) is a nine-year-old boy living in the Italian neighborhood of the Bronx.

Although his parents Lorenzo (Robert De Niro) and Rosina (Kathrine Narducci) keep telling him that he should stay away from a bar right next to their modest apartment building, Calogero cannot help but be attracted to that place because most of its patrons are local mafia members led by Sonny Lo Specchino (Chazz Palminteri), an assured, charismatic boss and de facto owner of the bar.

The way these colorful figures are introduced to us one by one through Calogero’s viewpoint is reminiscent of a similar scene in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” (1990); like young Henry Hill in that scene, Calogero watches neighborhood gangsters from the distance with innocent awe and fascination, even though he knows that they are not good people.

One day, Calogero happens to witness a sudden killing committed by Sonny under broad daylight.

When two cops later ask him to identify the killer, Calogero chooses not to reveal what he saw.

He considers that forbidding stare Sonny gave to him at that very moment, and does not want to be a squealer. Lorenzo, who does not want to get involved with Sonny under any circumstance, respects his son’s decision: “You did a good thing for the bad man.” Not long after that incident, Sonny lets Calogero into his world to show his appreciation, and Calogero is excited by this opportunity.While frequenting the bar more than before, he becomes another usual figure in the place, and he also enjoys his changed status in the neighborhood.At one point, he is allowed to participate in craps under Sonny's guidance, and he has a really fun time along with Sonny and others, getting more money than he ever imagined.Of course, Calogero’s parents are not so pleased to see their son getting involved with Sonny.Lorenzo eventually confronts Sonny, but their conflict, which is put into a sort of cessation after that confrontation, does not turn out to be as simple as we thought.Although they are opposed to each other due to their different values, both of them care about Calogero, and are sincere when they respectively impart to Calogero their life lessons to guide and help him.

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