Gangster Sonny is the big man in the Bronx neighborhood of an Italian small boy named Calogero. A shooting witnessed by the boy (nicknamed C) is the starting point of a lasting bond between the gangster and the boy. Father (bus driver Lorenzo), however, disapproves. C grows up under the wing of both men, torn between his own natural honesty and his fascination with Sonny. C's neighborhood cronies get involved in theft, use of guns, and racial fights. When C falls for an African American girl, things don't get any easier. C's leap to manhood is marked by tragedy, but also by his recognition of the many faces of love.