Serpico is a cop in the 1960s-early 1970s. Unlike all his colleagues, he refuses a share of the money that the cops routinely extort from local criminals. Nobody wants to work with Serpico, and he's in constant danger of being placed in life threatening positions by his "partners". Nothing seems to get done even when he goes to the highest of authorities. Despite the dangers he finds himself in, he still refuses to 'go with the flow', in the hope that one day, the truth will be known. Written by
Before shooting began, Sidney Lumet and the production company had to cast 107 speaking parts. They decided to use mostly unknown actors. Lumet said the best way to strengthen the sense of reality was not to use actors for whom audiences had a lot of previous associations. Even Al Pacino, despite his high exposure in The Godfather (1972), was still relatively new. See more »
As the cops watch the drug dealer's apartment near the end of the movie, a Renault Dauphine is parked in the front of the building. It disappears after Frank enters the building. Once the police bust the two users leaving the building, the gray car parked across the sidewalk on the other side of the street disappears as well. See more »
honest filmaking, good and true story of corruption in NY police department
Sidney Lumet is a director who captures something crucial in city based dramas surrounding legal and political affairs; with films like '12 angry men', 'the verdict', 'nightfalls on Manhattan' and 'Q & A' he shows an excellent grasp of the power plays in civic politics. In 'Serpico' he uses an excellent script to tell the story of an unorthodox character in Frank Serpico, a hippie in a time when most cops were square as a doorway but whose honesty when faced with police corruption marks him out as a man of remarkable character. Unflinching in its depiction of Serpico, the film portrays warts and all, over the period in which he refuses to take money and shows his extraordinary political vindication at an official investigation into NYPD corruption. The story of civic corruption is cogent in any time, one only has to look at great empires like Rome to understand how much corruption plays a part in the shaping of so called civilizations; where the very foundation stones have bodies, so to speak, buried under them or even within them. This film is both informative and honest in much the way 'All the Presidents Men' would be in the following year. Winning Al Pacino a deserved Oscar nomination in the years between the Godfather's Part I and II; it demonstrates the range of an actor who would go on to portray a character in Michael Corleone soon afterwards who is the very nemisis of the character in Serpico. In Serpico there is a dramadocumentary that calls to mind Shakespeares history plays in its depiction of a classical situation of a man ostracized and driven by noble sentiments to embody something of the civic value one expects of servants of the public trust. Brilliant film. 10 out of 10.
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