- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 47 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: September 9, 2003
- Originally Released: 2000
- Label: Lions Gate
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary: Laurence Fishburne - Director
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"Once in the life, always in the life, Mikey. You know that."
- Tony "the Tiger" (Eamonn Walker) to 20-20 Mike (Laurence Fishburne)
Entertainment Weekly - 11/17/2000
"...Fiery urban-scuzz eloquence....Gangster ruthlessness with all the glamour singed away." -- Rating: B
Los Angeles Times - 10/27/2000
"...Deft and imaginative....In this handsome, graceful film, Fishburne has found the stuff of tragedy in an urban, streetwise melodrama..."
In this crime drama directed by Laurence Fishburne and adapted from his own play, RIFF RAFF, a chance meeting changes the lives of two half brothers. One of the pair, 20-20 Mike (Fishburne), is a black man, a streetwise career criminal who claims to have eyes in the back of his head. His half brother, Billy (Titus Welliver), is a white strung-out purse snatcher who is desperate for a fix. Their plan to rob a local drug dealer ends in chaos and bloodshed, and they call on Mike's old friend, Tony "the Tiger" (Eamonn Walker), to help them get out of town. What they don't know is that Tony is now working for the same dealer they tried to rob, and as the three ponder their allegiance to each other, the tension mounts. ONCE IN THE LIFE is Fishburne's directorial debut, and his skill in guiding the already strong cast (which includes Annabella Sciorra and Gregory Hines) comes naturally. Despite the seedy, run-down locations and the overall grimness of the subject matter, Fishburne injects a lot of unexpected humor into the script. The film also has a few surprisingly tender moments between these men, who are running out of options but never give up fighting for their lives.
- Theatrical release: October 27, 2000.
- The film was shot on location in New York City.
- The film premiered at the Chicago Film Festival on October 10, 2000, where Laurence Fishburne was given the Career Achievement Award.
- Actor Paul Calderon (Manny Rivera) made his New York stage debut with Laurence Fishburne and Ving Rhames in the play SHORT EYES.
- Eamonn Walker (Tony "the Tiger") won a CableAce Award for his work on the HBO series OZ as Kareem Said.