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Cruising (1980) More at IMDbPro »

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Cruising -- A police detective goes undercover in the sleazy and underground gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is murdering numerous gay men with S&M tactics.


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6.3/10   10,503 votes »
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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Friedkin (written by)
Gerald Walker (novel)
View company contact information for Cruising on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 February 1980 (USA) See more »
Al Pacino is Cruising for a killer.
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 nominations See more »
(128 articles)
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Stranger By the Lake | Blu-Ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 13 May 2014, 9:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Just all over the place See more (130 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Al Pacino ... Steve Burns

Paul Sorvino ... Capt. Edelson

Karen Allen ... Nancy

Richard Cox ... Stuart Richards

Don Scardino ... Ted Bailey
Joe Spinell ... Patrolman DiSimone

Jay Acovone ... Skip Lee
Randy Jurgensen ... Det. Lefransky
Barton Heyman ... Dr. Rifkin

Gene Davis ... DaVinci
Arnaldo Santana ... Loren Lukas
Larry Atlas ... Eric Rossman

Allan Miller ... Chief of Detectives

Sonny Grosso ... Det. Blasio

Ed O'Neill ... Det. Schreiber (as Edward O'Neil)
Michael Aronin ... Det. Davis

James Remar ... Gregory

William Russ ... Paul Gaines

Mike Starr ... Patrolman Desher
Steve Inwood ... Martino
Keith Prentice ... Joey
Leland Starnes ... Jack Richards
Robert Pope ... DaVinci's Friend

Leo Burmester ... Water Sport
Bruce Levine ... Dancer
Charles Dunlap ... Three Card Monte

Powers Boothe ... Hankie Salesman

James Sutorius ... Jack (voice)
Richard Jamieson ... Spotter
Jimmie Ray Weeks ... Seller (as James Ray Weeks)
David Winnie Hayes ... Bouncer
Carmine Stippo ... Bartender (as Carmine Stipo)
James Hayden ... Cockpit Coke Man (scenes deleted)
Todd Winters ... Tugboat Mate
Robert Carnegie
Sylvia Gassel (as Sylvia Gassell)
Dennis Shea
Henry Judd Baker ... Tough Cop
Larry Silvestri
Kevin Johnson
Lawrence Lust
Louie Grenier
Penny Gumeny
Burr DeBenning
Ray Vitte
Mike Barbera
Joseph Catucci
Robert Dugan (as Robert Duggan)
Dan Sturkie
Linda Gary
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kirsten Baker ... Jogger (uncredited)
Christian Daugherty ... Hustler #2 (uncredited)
Mark Stern ... Cockpit Patron (uncredited)
Tieg Thomas ... Bartender (uncredited)
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Directed by
William Friedkin 
Writing credits
William Friedkin (written by)

Gerald Walker (novel)

Produced by
Burtt Harris .... associate producer
Jerry Weintraub .... producer
Original Music by
Jack Nitzsche 
Cinematography by
James A. Contner (director of photography) (as James Contner)
Film Editing by
Bud S. Smith  (as Bud Smith)
M. Scott Smith (re-issue)
Casting by
Louis DiGiaimo  (as Louis Digiaimo)
Production Design by
Bruce Weintraub 
Art Direction by
Edward Pisoni 
Set Decoration by
Robert Drumheller 
Costume Design by
Robert De Mora  (as Robert deMora)
Makeup Department
Bob Grimaldi .... hair stylist (as Robert Grimaldi)
Robert Norin .... special makeup effects artist
Allen Weisinger .... makeup artist (as Allan Weisninger)
Production Management
Burtt Harris .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alan Hopkins .... first assistant director
Robert E. Warren .... second assistant director (as Robert Warren)
Art Department
Gene Anderson .... assistant property master
Barry Bedig .... property master
Stan Graham .... scenic artist (as Stanley Graham)
Carlos Quiles Jr. .... construction coordinator
Jimmy Raitt .... property master (as James Raitt)
Bruno Robotti .... scenic artist
Sound Department
Charles L. Campbell .... supervising sound editor
Louis L. Edemann .... sound editor
Richard C. Franklin .... assistant sound editor (as Rick Franklin)
Athan Gigakos .... adr mixer: Sound Shop (as Athan Gigiakos)
Robert Glass .... sound re-recordist
Chris Jenkins .... sound re-recordist (as Christopher Jenkins)
Robert Knudson .... sound re-recordist
Aaron Levy .... sound re-recording mixer (remastered version)
Kim H. Ornitz .... sound mixer (as Kim Ornitz)
David Pettijohn .... sound editor (as David A. Pettijohn)
Bruce Richardson .... sound editor
Norman B. Schwartz .... dialogue editor (as Norman Schwartz)
John A. Amicarella .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Regina Mullen .... adr assistant (uncredited)
John Roesch .... foley artist (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Enrique Bravo .... camera operator
Gene Engels .... gaffer
Billy Miller .... key grip (as William Miller)
Gary Muller .... assistant camera
Hank Muller .... assistant camera (as Hank Muller Jr.)
Josh Weiner .... still photographer
Scott Rathner .... additional second assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Dennison .... wardrobe supervisor
Robert Dean Jackson .... wardrobe supervisor (as Dean Jackson)
Editorial Department
Donah Bassett .... negative cutter
Jere Huggins .... assistant film editor
Ned Humphreys .... assistant film editor
Larry Rovetti .... color timer
Music Department
The Cripples .... music performer
Willy DeVille .... music performer
Bill Evans .... music engineer
The Germs .... music performer (as Germs - G.I.)
Egberto Gismonti .... music performer
John Hiatt .... music performer
Mutiny .... music performer
Rough Trade .... music performer
Madelynn von Ritz .... music performer (as Madelynn Von Ritz)
Other crew
George Davis .... secretary to producer
Carmine Foresta .... location manager
Sidney Gecker .... script supervisor
Sonny Grosso .... technical advisor
Edward Iacobelli .... teamster captain
Mark Johnson .... production executive
Randy Jurgensen .... technical advisor
Toni St. Clair Lilly .... secretary to the director
Jennifer Ogden .... production office coordinator
Lucille Smith .... auditor (as Lucille Cannon)
Michael Weintraub .... production assistant
Darryl Peck .... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William Friedkin's Cruising" - USA (closing credits title)
See more »
102 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:18 | Australia:R | Finland:(Banned) (cut) (1981-2000) | Finland:(Banned) (uncut) (1980-2000) | France:-16 | Germany:16 (re-rating) (2007) | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R18 | Norway:18 | Peru:18 | Portugal:M/18 | Singapore:PG (cut) | South Korea:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 (cut) | USA:R | West Germany:18 (f) (original rating)

Did You Know?

Al Pacino makes his first appearance 15 minutes into the film.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): The medical examiner discusses the serrations in the wounds of a murder victim but the killer did not use a serrated knife on him.See more »
Stuart Richards:Who's here? I'm here. We're here.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (2003) (V)See more »
Heat Of The MomentSee more »


What's the deal with the big black guy in the jock during the interrogation scene?
What ever happened with the two cops at the begining of the movie who were hassling the male prostitutes?
Who murdered the red headed neighbor (Ted Baily) at the end of the movie? Was it the jealous roommate/boyfriend Gregory?
See more »
28 out of 53 people found the following review useful.
Just all over the place, 3 May 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Body parts are being found in the Hudson River and there have already been two recorded homosexual murders that show signs of being done by the same killer. With no leads in the case, Captain Edelson offers Officer Steve Burns the chance to go undercover on the basis that Steve looks similar to the victims that the killer tends to pick. Steve goes undercover with no badge and no gun, only reporting to Edelson; meanwhile the murders continue as Steve begins to lose himself little by little.

I had never seen this film until just a few weeks ago but I was looking forward to it as I remember it being one of the movies that was reviewed by critic Mark Kermode on his `cult corner' he used to do as a weekly part of a radio 1 show - he liked it and generally I trust him. The film opens with a similar enough premise: cop goes undercover to try and catch a killer. We have all seen this genre before and think we know where it is going to go - cop will start to `go native' gradually and will struggle with it even after he has caught the killer - right? Well, yes and no. The film tries to do this but it manages to make a real pigs ear of it throughout, coming across like it really didn't know what it wanted to do. I am aware that there is another version of this out there somewhere and that this was mercilessly edited but I cannot know that that would be any better without seeing it.

The film is all over the place. Burns' investigation goes nowhere for the vast majority of the time and just seems to focus on gay clubs with lots of men in leather or jock straps. Meanwhile the killer continues to carry out his murders and the rest of the police sort of float around in the background. It is difficult to really get into the film because the narrative is so very disjointed and it is almost impossible to have anything to follow or care about: basically the first 90 minutes is `there's a guy out there killing and a cop going to gay clubs - oh, look what they do' and then the final 20 minutes is `oh, we got him now' - and that's it! So with no traditional narrative I assume that the film wanted us to follow the character of Steve. However, Steve is a nonentity, even being played by Pacino! He has no character and we see nothing to suggest that he is really being either attracted or repulsed by the life he sees. The end of the film is so open in regards him and just doesn't make sense. With these two threads going nowhere, all that remains is a film that looks at the gay scene in the city.

In this regard I was worried that it was going to be all PC when the film opening with a disclaimer that I assume was put on to placate gay groups. However I immediately understood why the makers had put this caption onto the film - and it wasn't even enough! The homosexuals in this film are, to a man, deviants who all hang out in clubs having anonymous sex with multiple partners in clubs and parks. I know the film apologises for this but it doesn't excuse the sheer lazy clichés that it wheels out and seems to just hope that we are shocked by the repeated graphic image. The seedy nature of the film means that it hasn't lost it's shock ability (even with gay relationships no longer a taboo in the media or normal life) - but if this is all it has then it is hardly worth it. If Friedkin had a vision then it has been lost because there is no sign of life in this film - by the end of the film everyone seems to have given up on it and it just, well, grinds to a halt. I won't even go into the various threads that just seem to go nowhere - DiSimone turning up all over the place for no reason for example.

Pacino is a great actor but he cannot do anything with a character he cannot understand. He is absent from the film and is given nothing to work with. Certainly the `slow burn' he is required to do is not fitting his style, but it is made harder considering the script doesn't know about Steve either and Pacino has nothing to build to. Sorvino is OK but has nothing to do, likewise Allen is just floating around as well. The only thing that really kept my interest was how many famous faces were in early roles here - Powers Booth, Mike Starr, Spinell and Weeks to name a few.

Overall I was looking forward to this film and wanted to enjoy it. I was not let down when it failed to do the usual things I expected from the genre set-up, but I was letdown by the fact that it did nothing else with it. The plot is all over the place and the performances are poor simply because they have no characters - Steve is impossible to understand and every gay character is a cliché. An amazingly inept film when you consider the names attached to it.

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