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A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

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5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Capt. Edelson
...
Nancy
...
Stuart Richards
...
Ted Bailey
...
Patrolman DiSimone
...
Skip Lee
...
Det. Lefransky
Barton Heyman ...
Dr. Rifkin
...
DaVinci
Arnaldo Santana ...
Loren Lukas
Larry Atlas ...
Eric Rossman
...
Chief of Detectives
Sonny Grosso ...
Det. Blasio
...
Det. Schreiber (as Edward O'Neil)
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Storyline

A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Al Pacino is Cruising for a killer.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Friedkin's Cruising  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1977 and '78 the gay community in New York City was terrorized by a series of "bag murders"--six male victims were murdered, mutilated and dismembered, their remains wrapped in black plastic bags and dumped in the Hudson River. Some of the grisly fragments washed up on the New Jersey shore, others came to ground near the World Trade Center. Police traced items of recovered clothing to a shop in Greenwich Village, catering to gays, and distinctive tattoos identified one of the victims as a well known member of the gay community. Because several of the cases involved unidentified persons and there was no confirmed cause of death, the crimes were not officially classified as homicides but were listed as CUPPI's--circumstances undetermined pending police investigation. One of the cases was solved due to evidence collected in an "unrelated" case. On September 14, 1977, film critic Addison Verrill was beaten and stabbed to death in his New York apartment. Charged with the slaying, Paul Bateson, a 38-year-old X-ray technician, confessed to meeting Verrill in a Greenwich Village gay bar. After having sex at Verrill's flat, Bateson admitted to crushing his victim's skull with a metal skillet, afterward stabbing Verrill in the heart. Convicted of the homicide on March 5, 1979, he was sentenced to a term of 20 years to life in prison. While in custody awaiting trial, Bateson bragged of killing other men "for fun," dismembering their bodies and dropping the bagged remains in the Hudson River. This case inspired the novel upon which this film was based. Detectives were satisfied that Bateson actually was the serial killer they had been looking for, but lack of solid evidence resulted in his not being charged with them. See more »

Goofs

Just before the first murder happens you can see the blood tube for a few moments as the first stabs are going into his back. See more »

Quotes

Steve Burns: Excuse me?
Hankie Salesman: Yeah? What?
Steve Burns: I was just looking at all these colored handkerchiefs you have for sale here and... well, I'm kinda new around here and I noticed that nearly all of the guys wondering outside have one or more of these colored hankies in their rear pockets. Could you tell me what they mean?
Hankie Salesman: The blue hankie means blow-job. You have one hanging out of your left pants pocket means you want a blow-job. A blue in the right rear pocket is you give them. The green hankie in your right rear ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The film only opens with the title in large letters, across the screen. It is only at the end where the filmmakers are credited. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Herbal Scent
Performed by Tom Browne
Written by Marcus Miller (uncredited)
Courtesy of Arista/GRP
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
a question of taste
14 February 2005 | by (Romania) – See all my reviews

This is a FRIEDKIN movie. Consequently, it is soulless, dark and physical. There are no heroes, the range goes from unclear/mixed up/tortured souls/loonies to the dephts of hell. It is also highly interpretative, you can not expect a logical script and a "I did it" smile or a "walk towards the sun" type of ending. So, it's a question of taste if you like his movies or not. I DO. I very much doubt that Pacino or Sorvino regret making this film. It is riveting. For one, characters are not even gray, they are a mystery. Sorvino's character, for instance is so blank, that you even wonder if he cares about anything, including Burns' fate. Pacino's character is pretty ambitious, but other than that he is completely controversial. Although he shows some kind of goodness (towards his neighbor, for instance), the ending even kinda questions that (was it because he had sexual intentions with the guy or that he just wanted to do some good?). Also, he sometimes feels overwhelmed by the undercover job ("I don't know if I can do this") but then he starts to adapt. One of the possible ideas of this movie is: you dance with the devil and then you start to like it. In any case, it leaves conclusions to the viewer. The atmosphere and especially the music are truly amazing and original. 9/10


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