Based upon a real-life story that happened in the early seventies in which the Chase Manhattan Bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn, was held siege by a gay bank robber determined to steal enough money for his male lover to undergo a sex change operation. On a hot summer afternoon, the First Savings Bank of Brooklyn is held up by Sonny and Sal, two down-and-out characters. Although the bank manager and female tellers agree not to interfere with the robbery, Sonny finds that there's actually nothing much to steal, as most of the cash has been picked up for the day. Sonny then gets an unexpected phone call from Police Captain Moretti, who tells him the place is surrounded by the city's entire police force. Having few options under the circumstances, Sonny nervously bargains with Moretti, demanding safe escort to the airport and a plane out of the country in return for the bank employees' safety. Written by
Early in the writing proceedings, Frank Pierson considered dropping out of the project but had to continue because he had already spent his advance. Struggling to find a hook, he discovered while researching the story of Sonny Wojtowicz, that everyone who knew him had a contradictory story about the man. One thing they all agreed on was that Sonny was always saying "I'll take care of you. I'll make you happy." Pierson then knew that he had found his way in to the story. See more »
When Sonny is having the tellers empty the money from the cash drawers, one of the teller's name signs says "Maria Sandora." When the telephone rings and the scene cuts to the manager and back to the tellers, the sign has disappeared. After the camera cuts to a different view of Sonny and the tellers walking to the next window, the sign is no longer where it was but is now located at this next teller window. After this, as the camera angles cut back and forth, the scene was obviously filmed at different times because the items on top of the counter are in different order and do not always appear in all shots. See more »
[on a TV broadcast over the phone]
I'm robbing a bank because they got money here. That's why I'm robbing it.
No, what I mean is why do you feel you have to steal for money? Couldn't you get a job?
Uh, no. Doing what? You know if you want a job you've got to be a member of a union. See, and if you got no union card you don't get a job.
What about non-union occupations?
What's wrong with this guy? What do you mean non-union, like what? A bank teller? You know how much a bank teller makes a week? ...
[...] See more »