Based on author James T. Farrell's trilogy written between 1932 and 1935 and later combined into a one-volume Studs Lonigan book, this less than two-hour film does not quite do justice to the literary whole. Studs (Christopher Knight) is raised on Chicago's infamous South Side, an Irish kid when prejudice against the Irish was still around and hanging tough was the norm in impoverished neighborhoods. Once he leaves grade school behind and enters high school, a world of "wenching," fights, drinking, and wild parties starts to open up. By 1929, Studs is trapped into a marriage he comes to hate and as the decade of the '30s begins, he is still trying to be as tough as he can. But as he learns, no one can out-tough the Great Depression. At times confusing and histrionic and wordy (not to mention censored to fit a 1960s unspoken coda), Studs Lonigan falls short of the pithy, emotional, rugged world of Farrell's Irish hoodlum.