“American Boy: A Profile of Steve Prince” (1978) dir. Martin Scorsese

During Martin Scorsese’s notorious “lost weekend” period when he had a serious cocaine problem, he still managed to produce a lot of interesting films. With the exception of the big-budget musical “New York, New York,” the documentary about the Band’s last concert, “The Last Waltz,” is probably the most famous and highly regarded. However, the least known (and arguably, best) film from this period is Scorsese’s documentary “American Boy: A Profile of Steve Prince.”

Prince is probably most famous as the scary gun salesman in “Taxi Driver,” but prior to that he was Neil Diamond’s road manager (among other jobs) and was a heroin addict. During one moment in the film, Prince relates a tale about reviving a woman who overdosed with a medical dictionary, a shot of adrenaline, and a magic marker that’s … um … very similar to a scene in the Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film “Pulp Fiction.”

The film is a fascinating look at the life of someone on the edge … a life that Scorsese obviously identified with considering his drug-intake and near-death at the time. Not only did Scorsese survive (and subsequently make many classic films), but so did Prince, who was the subject of a sequel in 2009 called “American Prince” directed by Tommy Pallotta.

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