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
The entire film is mostly improvised, though around the script. After rehearsing the script for weeks with his cast, Sidney Lumet took the improvisations that were made while rehearsing and made that the official screenplay. See more »
When Stevie is leaving the bank, there is a calendar from September, 1973 hanging on a bulletin board behind Sonny. The actual events took place in August, 1972. See more »
[talking to Sal, waiting for his wife to answer the phone]
You know I can call anybody, they'd put it on the phone? The Pope, an astronaut, the wisest of the wise... Who do I have to call?
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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 »