On The Bowery was the first of Lionel Rogosin's award-winning films, garnering the Grand Prize for Documentary at the 1956 Venice Film Festival, the British Award for Best Documentary and nomination for an Oscar® as best documentary.
From the beginning, Rogosin's style as an independent filmmaker was straightforward and compassionate. His films were made -from the inside, - showing subjects in their normal surroundings and allowing them to speak in their own words. By choosing ordinary people caught up in universal problems - homelessness, racial discrimination, war and peace, labor strife, and poverty - Rogosin made his point poignantly. Interestingly, he chose the Bowery and its inhabitants as his first subject - intending to reveal the reality of people who were drinking away their lives in an attempt to escape from it.