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
The actors were allowed to do some improvisation in their scenes. Much of Al Pacino's explosive reaction in Serpico's last abortive meeting with his former captain was off the cuff. See more »
In the opening scenes with the patrol car carrying Serpico to the hospital, the unit's emergency light has 3 red bulbs and one amber bulb as it spins. As the unit arrives at the hospital and as they remove him from the back seat the light has 4 red bulbs. See more »
Sure, The Godfather made Al Pacino a star, but Serpico kept him one
Al Pacino is one of the best actors around, and he has many definitive roles. His role as Frank Serpico is certainly one of them. He acts with such charm and smoothness in some scenes, while explosive and intense in others.
The movie gets into a big plot line about police corruption and Serpico blowing the whistle on the department. It's interesting and the whole point of the movie, but the reason this is such a good movie is because of the character, not the plot. The better scenes include Serpico's personal life and struggles. There's one great part where he explains to his girlfriend why he's always wanted to be a cop. It's scenes like those that make you sympathetic for him.
Sidney Lumet and Pacino made a great team for this movie, and proved to be a great team for Dog Day Afternoon a few years later. But as good as a director Lumet is, as good as everyone involved with this movie is, this is Pacino's movie. It's an essential viewing for his fans.
My rating: 9/10
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