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Cruising (1980)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  15 February 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 12,082 users  
Reviews: 135 user | 96 critic

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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Title: Cruising (1980)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Edelson
Stuart Richards
Ted Bailey
Joe Spinell ...
Patrolman DiSimone
Skip Lee
Randy Jurgensen ...
Det. Lefransky
Barton Heyman ...
Dr. Rifkin
Arnaldo Santana ...
Loren Lukas
Larry Atlas ...
Eric Rossman
Chief of Detectives
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 <>

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  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In 1977 and '78, New York homosexuals were terrorized by a series of "bag murders," in which six male victims were 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 coming 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 known homosexual. Lacking identities and confirmed cause of death in several cases, the crimes were not officially classified as homicides, but were listed as CUPPI's - circumstances undetermined pending police investigation. A solution in the case derived from 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 crushed his victim's skull with a metal skillet, afterward stabbing Verrill in the heart. Convicted of the homicide on March 5, 1979, Bateson drew a term of 20 years to life in prison. While in custody, awaiting trial, Paul Bateson bragged of killing other men "for fun," dismembering their bodies, and dropping the bagged remains in the Hudson River. Detectives satisfied themselves of Bateson's guilt, but he was never charged, and the "bag murders" - that later inspired the movie Cruising - remain technically unsolved. See more »


When the first victim gets stabbed blood is shown running off his shoulder but the knife is spotless. See more »


Steve Burns: There's a lot you don't know about me.
See more »

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 Interior. Leather Bar. (2013) See more »


Performed by Mutiny
Words & Music by Jerome Brailey
Produced by Jerome Brailey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

subversive genius

I had the pleasure of seeing this movie recently and I highly recommend it to any people who savor the darker things in life. If I had never seen this movie the reviews left about it everywhere on the net would surely have made me miss it at every opportunity but luckily I only came across them looking for more information after its viewing.

The first thing that really got me was the fantastic soundtrack. This is American punk rock at it's best and most glorious and I cannot think of a more apt context for it than the New York gay S&M scene. This my friends ... is punk-o-rama.

This is not a gay film ... nor is it a porno film ... this is an in your face horror much like William Friedkin's other classic "The Exorcist" ... but not a hammer horror nor a gore filled voyage through some fiery "kissing the devil's ass" hell but a very real slice of a very real life that exists in every major city in the world as well as some smaller ones. This is a film about a world so few know anything about that it is far above common criticism ... yet at the same time the directions and nuances are all too common. I would say that any fans of the movies of David Lynch might enjoy the somewhat lost disenchantment of this flick as it slides further and further into the darkest realms of the grotesque. As well anyone who's enjoyed the backwards pleasures of watching the cult classic "Je'Taime ... Moi Ne Plus" starring Jane Birkin would also find a little gem here.

"Cruisin'" is pure subversive genius.


Pure *ART*

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