I saw “True Romance” when I was 10 years old in the company of several adults for a family gathering. I just remembered how they all laughed at any scene involving racial humor. It would be a full year before I understood that brand of humor, so I sat there perplexed at what I was seeing. I didn’t see it again until my second semester of college. By that point, my sense of humor was well-honed and well-attuned to the kind that’s as pitch black as Satchel Paige. I gained a greater appreciation of the film upon my second viewing. Though directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino, the film belongs to the latter. With his trademark flair for odd dialogue, music from the 1970s, and free-flowing racial epithets, spectacular killing sequences and hero-gets-the-girl formula, the film is exactly as most critics describe it: A teenage boy’s fantasy. That’s also what still makes it so appealing for viewers such as myself. With all the action in the film, it’s this scene that’s the most talked about.
Dubbed the “Sicilian Scene”, it’s ten minutes of a questions-and-answers session between an Sicilian Don played by Christopher Walken and a cop-turned-security guard played by Dennis Hopper. A young pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini and Paul Ben-Victor appear in the scene as well. Apart from Walken’s hilariously deadpan expressions and the scene being rumored to have been done in just one take, it’s most famous for Hopper’s racial remarks to Walken at the end.
Beyond that, just listen to the dialogue and you’ll marvel at the absurdity as I have:
Only in a film written by Tarantino would a Sicilian Don be under the thumb of a notorious Irish-American mobster. It’s also worth noting that said Sicilian has a self-hating White man who believes himself to be a Black American under *his* thumb.