The Young Savages

Synopsis: A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't exactly as they seem to be.
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Production: United Artists
Rotten Tomatoes:
103 min

- Bravo, Roberto, bravo.

- Louisa!

What did the guy look like?

How do you expect us to help you

if you don't know what the guy looks like?

- Hi, Lieutenant.

- Hello, Sergeant. Where are the boys?

- Oh, we have them set up for you inside.

- Come on.

When are we gonna get to

take a few shots, Lieutenant?

Yeah, when can we see them?

Now, fellows, we'll be through with this

as soon as we possibly can.

Oh, come on...

This is Hank Bell.

He'll handle the preliminary.

Captain Larsen.

- Captain.

- You know Whitey.


- Sit over there.

- Go ahead, sit down.

Okay, Whitey, preliminary interrogation.

For the D.A.'s office,

Assistant District Attorney Bell,

and detective Lieutenant Gunderson.

- Witnesses, Captain Larsen. Officer?

- Wohlman.

Officer Wohlman.

Suspects, three members of a

street gang known as the Thunderbirds.


Arthur Reardon, Anthony Aposto and

Daniel D-I-P-A-C-E. Di Pace.

Which one of you is Di Pace?

- Your name Di Pace?

- David Copperfield.

All right, do you want me to bounce you

around the room?

- Hey, he ain't writing that.

He's Di Pace.

- Your father John Di Pace?

- I ain't got no father.

Your mother's named Mary?

So what the hell does my mother

got to do with it?

Nothing, kid.

- How old are you, Danny?

- I'm 15.

You can't hold me in this police station.

You can't even question me. I'm a juvenile.

You're a juvenile up to 16 unless

you kill somebody and you did.

- He stopped again.

- All right, shut up.


The law says you can execute

a 15-year-old for murder.

But it also says you can't question

him in a police station...

Now look, I'm tired of

having to coddle these punks

because they're 15 instead of 16.

You don't have to tell me about these kids.

I was born in this neighborhood.

I went to school with some of

the worst gunsels in town.

A good swift kick would do more

to straighten out these punks

- than anything...

- Gunderson.

We're not out to kick kids this time,

we're out for first degree murder.

Putting a juvenile in the chair

is always big trouble.

Whoever prosecutes this case will need

a clear record the defense can't attack.

No technicalities getting in the way,

like interrogating a juvenile

in the police station, right?


Let's find out the ages of the other two,

and then we'll separate the baby killers

from the adult killers.

- Okay, Whitey. You, name and age?

- Arthur Reardon, 17.

- Batman.

- What's your name?

- Anthony Aposto.

- How old are you?


- Their homes been called, Captain?

- Strictly according to the book, Counselor.

Mrs. Di Pace and Reardon's old man

are outside now.

Take him out to see his mother.

So you're a big shot, now.

You didn't find them knives on us.

Found a lot of holes in the body,

we'll find the knives.

The spic started it. He pulled a knife.

So now, he's dead like he should be.

Why do you figure he pulled a knife?

- We was on his turf.

- He's on your turf, you pull a knife?

We ain't no dirty spics.

We're Thunderbirds.

Do you know the name

of the boy you killed?

No, we never seen him before.

His name was Roberto Escalante.

He was 15 years old.


Now, let me get this straight.

You went for a walk on his street,

he saw you.

- He came at you with a knife, right?

Yeah, that's right.

He must've been pretty good with a knife?

He was crazy.

In fact, he must have been better with

a knife than anybody in the whole world,

because Roberto Escalante was blind.

So, in view of Tolly's switch to guilty,

I think I'll be free

to take over that teenage killing case,

if you'd like me to.

I mean, it sounds like a toughy

and I'd like something

to get my teeth into, for a change.

Something I can really identify with.

Yes, well, I've asked Hank to handle

the preliminary on that.

How about it, Hank?

Well, the facts in the case

are just about as reported.

The boys admit the killing,

but they claim self-defense.

However, the boy they killed,

the Puerto Rican boy, was blind.


I've got a hunch the papers are gonna

play this like the Chicago Fire.

Do you think we should try

for first degree murder?

It looks like it to me.

You wanna prosecute?

That's up to you,

but before you make any decision

I think you ought to know one of the

defendants is a kid named Di Pace.

I used to go with his mother,

when I was a kid.

Oh boy, Hank, the papers would have

a field day with this one.

I hope I'm not speaking out of turn,

Mr. Cole.

But it seems to me that

politically this is a dangerous case.


We don't care anything

about politics now, do we?

Well, sir, I think we're all aware, sir,

that there's something more

than a ground swell developing to put you

in the Governor's mansion.

I'm sure none of us would like to see

anything happen to jeopardize that.

Oh, now, the worst

the newspapers can say is,

"Honest D.A. Prosecutes

son of childhood sweetheart. "

Doesn't sound so damaging to me.

All right,

that's all for the moment, gentlemen.

- Hello, darling.

- Sweetheart.

Boy, I'm beat.

- How's that for timing?

- I earned this one today.

- Did you ever see such headlines?

- It's a hard case, all right.

Mom, where's that white bra of yours?

- Hi, Dad.

- Hi, beautiful.

Third drawer of the dresser, dear,

where it always is.


Jenny wearing a bra?

Jenny's been wearing a bra

for almost two years now.

I guess I haven't taken

a good look at her lately.

One of those boys is only

a year older than Jenny.

- I guess that's why it bothers me so.

- He was old enough to handle a knife.

Whose idea was it anyway to go for

murder one, Dan Cole's?

- Look, Karin...

- I know why he assigned this case to you.

'Cause you're the only man smart enough

to get him a first degree conviction.

He'd frame his own mother

to get that nomination.

Karin, it wasn't Dan Cole's idea

to go for first degree murder.

It was mine.


Yes, mine.

I don't believe it.

But you came

from that neighborhood yourself.

- Yes and I got out.

- Yes, you did.

But everybody hasn't got the

emotional equipment

to put up with the slums and the poverty.

Here we go with the passive theories

of social oppression.

Listen, Karin, those punks

have made Harlem a nightmare.

People are afraid to walk home

from the subway after dark.

Remember the old man at the newsstand,

the one who loaned me the money

to buy a suit for my bar exam?

Well, last week, four of your

underprivileged children beat him up.

They broke both his legs,

he'll never walk again.

And you're upset

because three self-confessed killers

are gonna stand trial for murder.

Good night, folks. Don't wait up for me.

Oh, Jenny, I wasn't planning to.

I'm going to bed at 12:00, after you.

Mother, you can be such

a drag sometimes. So utterly cubistic.

You know what I mean, don't you, Dad?

You heard your mother. 12:00, darling.

All right, I just hope I can explain it

to Lonnie's satisfaction. Good night.

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Edward Anhalt

Edward Anhalt (March 28, 1914 in New York City – September 3, 2000 in Pacific Palisades, California) was a noted screenwriter, producer, and documentary film-maker. After working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for Pathé and CBS-TV he teamed with his wife Edna Anhalt during World War II to write pulp fiction. (Edna was one of his five wives.) more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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