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Kill the Poor is director Alan Taylor's screen adaptation of a novel by Joel Rose. The film is set in Manhattan's Alphabet City in the early 1980s, when the neighborhood was a center of illegal drug activity. The film's title comes from the Dead Kennedys song "Kill the Poor".

Kill the Poor
Directed byAlan Taylor
Produced byRuth Charny
Lianne Halfon
Russell Smith
John Malkovich
Gary Winick
Alexis Alexnian
Written byDaniel Handler
Based onKill the Poor by Joel Rose
StarringDavid Krumholtz
Clara Bellar
Paul Calderón
Jon Budinoff
Cliff Gorman
Damian Young
Heather Burns
Otto Sanchez
Zak Orth
Larry Gilliard Jr.
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
Tribeca Film Festival
May 9, 2003
United States limited
January 6, 2006
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States



Kill the Poor begins with a fire in the apartment of tough guy Carlos DeJesus and his trouble-making son, Segundo. The screenplay then focuses on the other tenants of the rundown building in an attempt to determine who set the blaze.

The other principals are:

  • Joe Peltz, a young man who ignored his uncle's warnings to bring his wife Annabelle and their young child into the neighborhood where his Jewish grandparents had their start in America;
  • Spike, an aspiring found-object sculptor;
  • Delilah, a flamboyant gay man;
  • Butch, a presumptuous graduate student;
  • Scarlet, the tenement's resident floozy;
  • Negrito, a fixture in the neighborhood.

A shared distrust of Carlos and Segundo unites this eclectic group and prompts them to hold "co-op" meetings with one goal: eviction of Carlos and Segundo DeJesus.


Kill the Poor was first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003. It was then shown in 2006 at the IFC Center in New York City.



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