Serpico

  • 1973
  • Movie
  • R
  • Biography, Crime

In 1970, police officer Frank Serpico electrified the Knapp Commission investigating the New York City Police Department by testifying that there were as many cops taking payoffs as there were crooks. Peter Maas's biography of Serpico formed the basis of the script by Waldo Salt (MIDNIGHT COWBOY) and Norman Wexler (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER), and Al Pacino is...read more

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In 1970, police officer Frank Serpico electrified the Knapp Commission investigating the New York City Police Department by testifying that there were as many cops taking payoffs as there were crooks. Peter Maas's biography of Serpico formed the basis of the script by Waldo Salt (MIDNIGHT

COWBOY) and Norman Wexler (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER), and Al Pacino is the title character, an honest cop who refuses to go on the take.

Surrounded by corruption, Frank Serpico is distrusted and harrassed by fellow officers, who suspect him both for his honesty and for his countercultural lifestyle. When the double-dealing and persecution become too much, he tries to inform police commissioner White of the corruption within the

department, but the response is discouraging. Frustrated, Serpico takes his story to the New York Times editors; the resultant scandal prompts the mayor to initiate a high-profile investigation. Serpico is called to testify, and now both cops and criminals are gunning for him.

All of the actors contribute excellent performances under the assured direction of Sidney Lumet, who replaced John Avildsen on the project. It's a particular pleasure to see Tony Roberts working in a film that wasn't directed by Woody Allen, and he is outstanding as Pacino's trusted pal.

Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham (AMADEUS), Mary Louise Weller (ANIMAL HOUSE), M. Emmet Walsh (STRAIGHT TIME), and Hank Garrett (THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR) also appear in small but telling roles. But when all is said and done, Pacino is the riveting presence that makes the movie work and it is

difficult to imagine any other actor in the part.

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  • Released: 1973
  • Rating: R
  • Review: In 1970, police officer Frank Serpico electrified the Knapp Commission investigating the New York City Police Department by testifying that there were as many cops taking payoffs as there were crooks. Peter Maas's biography of Serpico formed the basis of t… (more)

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