There are some funny lines in The Pope of Greenwich Village. Once the eye knows the characters and the ear gets accustomed to the filthy (and somehow quaint) street slang, Rosenberg keeps the pace entertaining. [22 June 1984, p.D8]
If The Pope doesn't fly Sinatra-high or dig Scorsese-deep, it is an appealing commercial movie with a gritty sense of the city, an effective narrative drive and a very watchable cast of pungent performers. [25 June 1984, p.68]
It's a candied Mean Streets, evenly and impersonally directed by Stuart Rosenberg. It has no temperament -- it doesn't even have any get-up-and-go. But Patrick supplies colorful "ethnic" dialogue, and the actors run with it.
The Pope Of Greenwich Village benefits immensely from Rosenberg’s decision to film on location in Little Italy, which gives every scene a lived-in feel. The city’s streets, restaurants, back rooms, and lofts are as much a character as Charlie and Paulie, a dreamer and a schemer trying to get ahead in a world where the chips are stacked against them.
With its close attention to the Little Italy milieu and its farcical treatment of a safecracking, the picture is designed to turn
Martin Scorsese's scathing Mean Streets into a sitcom. It could be done, and done well, in the right hands, but those hands do not belong to the calloused paws of the pugilistically inclined director Stuart Rosenberg. [22 June 1984]