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
John Cazale was cast at Al Pacino's insistence, despite being nowhere the age of the real Sal, who was 18 at the time. Sidney Lumet was opposed to the idea because the actor was clearly inappropriate for the part. However, when Cazale came in to read for the part, Lumet was sold on him within 5 minutes. See more »
Opening scene shows the World Trade Centres. The building of these was not completed until 1973. The movie is set in August 1972. See more »
[to his mother]
I'm a fuck-up and I'm an outcast. If you get near me you're gonna get it- you're gonna get fucked over and fucked out.
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Opening credits prologue: What you are about to see is true - It happened in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972. See more »
Wow! The seventies were sure a great decade, just look at all the movies that battled for an Oscar in 1975 to have a good idea about it!This movie has everything anyone could wish in a great movie: a good script, even if the story is based on real events, great direction (Lumet knows how to deal with tense situations as he had already demonstrated it in his debut film 12 Angry Men), great acting (Pacino in his splendor, even better than in Godfather, Part I). The pacing is extremely good: it is very nervous and the camera moves a lot in the first third of the movie but then the whole thing seems to melt into a lifeless, tensionate and slow movement suggesting very well the whole situation as the bank robbery that was supposed to be fast and eventful turns into a hostage situation which is challenging and tensionate. The issue of homosexuality was very well dealt with, not preaching in any way, understanding and considerate, everything was far better than any politically correct angle we may find in today's movies. The movie is hard to place in a single genre, it is essentially a drama of the rejected (Sonny is a war veteran, a homosexual, an unemployed, and by the end of the movie an outcast), but it starts as a thriller and it touches elements of social satire( the family angle, the issue of police corruption and incompetence etc.), comedy and even absurd. This is a movie that I will surely see as soon as possible!
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