Synopsis: Portrays the lives of nine desperate teenagers. Thrown too young into a seedy grown up world, these runaways and castaways survive, but just barely. Rat, the dumpster diver. Tiny, the teen prostitute. Shellie, the baby-faced blonde. DeWayne, the hustler. All old beyond their years. All underage survivors fighting for life and love on the streets of downtown Seattle.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Martin Bell
Production: Angelika Films
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.
91 min

Early morning on Rainbow Bridge, Rat leaps eighty feet into the water.

Rat (Voice over)

I love to fly. It's just you're alone, there's peace and quiet, nothing

around you but clear blue sky. No one to hassle you. No one to tell you

where to go or what to do. The only bad part about flying is having to

come back down to the f***in' world.

Afternoon on Pike Street, Dewayne and Rat panhandle the crowd.

Dewayne Spare some change, ma'am, so me and my father could get

something to eat?

Woman No, I don't, son.

Dewayne Alright. (To Buddha.) Why not say you're my father?

Budda No. I'm not hungry.

Dewayne Alright. Then get lost. I gotta make some money.

Dewayne (voice over)

Living downtown, a typical day was ... I'd get up at twelve, take a

shower, get something to eat. Three o'clock I was on my robbin' streak,

start robbin' people 'til six, seven o'clock. Then I'd go get my drugs,

get my food, get my ... whoever I was going to sleep with that night.

Party until twelve. Then everybody would turn in and stuff.

Dewayne So what's up?

Chrissie Not much.

Dewayne Spare some change?

Chrissie Hell no.

Dewayne How 'bout a kiss?

Chrissie Hell no.

Dewayne Oh well. Life's hard.

Rat Sir, you wouldn't be able to help me out with a little change,

would you?

Man NO.

Rat Not at all, huh. Ya know, you're a f***in' dick.

Rat (voice over)

I wasn't even thinking about running away or nothin'. But my dad told

me that if I ever got caught selling pot, never come home 'cause he'd

kill me. So when it all came down, I just said, 'oh, well.'

Dewayne (voice over)

I never miss my mom and dad. They're part of my past now, the way I

look at it.

Dewayne Where you be livin' at?

Rat (singing) I be living at the YMCA...

An old abandoned hotel. The windows and doors are boarded up. Inside,

Rat roller skates through the empty corridors.

Rat (voice over)

There's this old abandoned hotel and we took all the furniture we could

find in all the different rooms and put it into this one room. And we'd

carry water up in these gallon jugs, 'cause it didn't have no water or

electricity. And we'd just shower down at this place called The Compass

on Washington Avenue for fifty cents. And do our laundry in the

laundromat and whatever it took. It was pretty easy actually.

Rat and his friend Jack in the railroad yard.

Rat (voice over)

And then me and Jack just started hanging out together. We're real good

friends. He'll treat you right. He won't rip you off. When your back is

turned, he ain't gonna stab you. I would never even have thought about

catching a train if it weren't for Jack. He showed me the ways of the

trains, how they run, where they go. And Jack taught us you can tell

the main track 'cause they got a gravel mound and it sets higher than

all the other tracks. And then you just look north and that's the north

yard. Then you just count three tracks over to your right. And then

we'd just jump on a train and be on our way.

Tiny on Pike Street.

Tiny (voice over)

I wanna be really rich ... and live on a farm with a bunch of horses,

which is my main best animal ... and have three yachts or more ... and

diamonds and jewels and all that stuff.

Tiny goes to the Adolescent Free Clinic for a gynecological


Medical Counselor So you don't have any symptoms right now, but you do

have some concern that you might have a sexually transmitted disease?

Tiny Nothing serious. It just might be trichomonas again.

Medical Counselor Did you ever have one before?

Tiny Yes.

Medical Counselor What did you have?

Tiny I've had chlamydia, trichomonas and gonorrhea.

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Cheryl McCall

Until her death, McCall kept a 1970 letter written by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover that lists her as a threat to national security. more…

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Submitted by aviv on December 01, 2016

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    "Streetwise" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 22 Jun 2021. <>.

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