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Cruising (1980)

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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.



, (novel)
4,564 ( 270)
5 nominations. See more awards »



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Crime story based on the real armed robbery of the Brink's Building in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17th, 1950.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Rifkin
Arnaldo Santana ...
Larry Atlas ...
Chief of Detectives
Sonny Grosso ...
Det. Blasio
Det. Schreiber (as Edward O'Neil)


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


Al Pacino is Cruising for a killer.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William Friedkin's Cruising  »


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$19,798,718, 31 December 1995
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joe Spinell played with Al Pacino in The Godfather: Part II (1974). See more »


Blonde transvestite hooker DaVinci and his brunette transvestite hooker friend are forced into Patrolemen DiSimone and Dresher's police car. When DiSimone, DaVinci and DaVinci's friend are in the back seat, Dresher orders DaVinci into the front seat for implied fellatio. Later, at the police station, DaVinci erroneously says it was DiSimone who forced him to perform fellatio. See more »


Patrolman DiSimone: She ain't gonna make a fool out of me. Takes the kids and goes to Florida to see her sister and leaves me a note. Ten years of marriage down the drain.
Patrolman Desher: They're all scumbags.
Patrolman DiSimone: What?
Patrolman Desher: Women. They're all scumbags.
Patrolman DiSimone: Who. Which ones?
Patrolman Desher: All of them. You're better off.
Patrolman DiSimone: Just drive the car. You'll be driving a squad car for the rest of your life. What do you know? You know nothing. That bitch ain't gonna jerk me around. I'll get her.
Patrolman Desher: You'll get her.
Patrolman DiSimone: [sees the gay men on the street] Look at these guys. One day...
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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 »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Can't Stop the Music (2014) See more »


Spy Boy
Performed by John Hiatt
Words & Music by John Hiatt
Produced by Jack Nitzsche
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Taut Thriller With Unique Twist
27 June 2001 | by See all my reviews

I know this film got bad reviews when it was first released but I have always thought it deserved much better than it got. The film is a very tense thriller with a terrific performance from Al Pacino. The film is filled with memorable scenes and characters. The killer is one of the most interesting villains I have seen.....attractive with a complex character that is both mesmerizing and frightening. The film has a creepy quality that sometimes reminds me of the feeling I got watching "Silence of the Lambs." The scene in which Pacino goes to the shop and views the different colored bandanas for sale provides some brief humor that gives your nerves a chance to calm down.

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