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Serpico (1973)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  5 December 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 73,172 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 163 user | 95 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

The true story about an honest New York cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Kehoe ...
Biff McGuire ...
Barbara Eda-Young ...
Laurie (as Barbara eda - Young)
Cornelia Sharpe ...
John Medici ...
Norman Ornellas ...
Edward Grover ...
Lombardo (as Ed Grover)
Albert Henderson ...
Peluce (as Al Henderson)
Hank Garrett ...
Joseph Bova ...
Potts (as Joe Bova)


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 Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Many of his fellow officers considered him the most dangerous man alive - An honest cop.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

5 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Serpiko  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Surprisingly, this subject was first planned as a star vehicle for Paul Newman and Robert Redford, following their success in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Redford was to play Frank Serpico and Newman was to play his lawyer friend David Durk (a character renamed "Bob Blair" in the final film, where he is played by Tony Roberts). See more »


In the opening sequence of the movie that shows Serpico having been shot, it is raining heavily while he is being rushed to the hospital in the police cruiser. Towards the end of the movie where this sequence of events picks up again, it is not raining. See more »


Cop: [to Frank] All right, you cocksucker. You might get by with that shit in the Bronx, but down here, eight thousand a month is chicken feed. And with that, you don't fuck around. You understand? Good. Now get the fuck out.
See more »


Referenced in Barney Miller: Ambush (1975) See more »


Aria di Rinuccio
Written by Gianni Schicchi
Performed by Al Pacino
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User Reviews

honest filmaking, good and true story of corruption in NY police department
11 March 2004 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

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.

39 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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