Directed by Lionel Rogosin • 1956 • United States
Starring Ray Salyer, Gorman Hendricks, Frank Matthews
Lionel Rogosin’s landmark of American neorealism chronicles three days in the drinking life of Ray Salyer, a part-time railroad worker adrift on New York’s skid row, the Bowery. When the film first opened in 1956, it exploded onto the screen, burning away years of Hollywood artifice, jump-starting America’s postwar independent-film scene, and earning an Academy Award nomination for best documentary. Developed in close collaboration with the men Rogosin met while spending months hanging out in neighborhood bars, ON THE BOWERY is both an indispensable document of a bygone Manhattan and a vivid and devastating portrait of addiction.