Martin Scorsese's semi-autobiographical debut feature stars a then-unknown Harvey Keitel as J.R., a young Italian-American living in 1960s New York. Filmed over a five-year period, the film introduces us to what have since become classic Scorsese themes: Catholic guilt, Italian mamas and their cooking, repressed sexuality, New York - and, of course, street violence. J.R., who has hitherto spent his days and nights aimlessly hanging out with his friends on the streets of Little Italy, undergoes a rite of passage when he meets The Girl (Zina Bethune) on the Staten Island ferry. Beautiful, blonde and sophisticated, she opens up a whole new world to J.R., who falls completely in love with her, and strives to maintain the sanctity of their fledgling relationship by not sleeping with her. But when she reveals that she has already lost her virginity as the result of a date rape, he struggles to reconcile this revelation with his flawless, idealistic image of her.