Recovered 1976 documentary follows around a New York gang

"Human Aggression" is a 24-minute documentary written and produced in 1976 by famed social psychologist Stanley Milgram (who conducted the controversial Obedience Experiments at Yale in the 1960s).

"These teenagers belong to a gang, the Young Skulls," says Milgram at the start of the film, which shows a multicultural group of teenagers wearing colorful clothes with gang insignia. "In this film, we will follow the gang through an ordinary day and see what part aggression plays in the lives of its members."

The gang, fully aware that they are being filmed, seem to enjoy performing for the camera. In one scene, they jump on a moving car and beat it with sticks, feet, and fists.

In another scene, a member of a rival gang, the Blue Angels, encroaches on the Young Skulls' turf, and a scuffle ensues. The leader of the Young Skulls (who may very well have been the inspiration for the gang leader in 1979's Being There) removes the vest of the Blue Angel and spits on it.

In another scene, one of the Young Skulls, who challenges the leader in the hierarchy of the gang, receives a ritual beatdown to put him in his place.

It's interesting to see the grim, dirty old New York of Taxi Driver.

Now I want to watch The Warriors again!

Thumbnail image: Morhos Film Lab/YouTube