Prince of the City (1981)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  21 August 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,863 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 32 critic

A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Detective Gus Levy
Richard Foronjy ...
Detective Joe Marinaro
Don Billett ...
Detective Bill Mayo
Kenny Marino ...
Dom Bando
Carmine Caridi ...
Detective Gino Mascone
Tony Page ...
Detective Raf Alvarez
Norman Parker ...
Assistant U.S. Atty. Rick Cappalino
Paul Roebling ...
Assistant U.S. Atty. Brooks Paige
Assistant U.S. Atty. George Polito
Steve Inwood ...
Assistant U.S. Atty. Mario Vincente
Carla Ciello
Ronnie Ciello
Tony Turco ...
Socks Ciello


New York City cop Daniel Ciello is involved in some questionable police practices. He is approached by internal affairs and in exchange for him potentially being let off the hook, he is instructed to begin to expose the inner workings of police corruption. Danny agrees as long as he does not have to turn in his partners but he soon learns that he cannot trust anyone and he must decide whose side he is on and who is on his. Written by Josh Pasnak <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A cop is turning. Nobody's safe.


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El príncipe de la ciudad  »

Box Office


$8,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Brian De Palma who had originally been slated to direct, had worked on the script for over a year before being replaced by Sidney Lumet See more »


Near the start of the film when Dan is pushing his brother Ronnie around, there's a large crack on the wall (probably from a previous shot). After he pushes Ronnie near the wall, another large crack appears but Ronnie is never shown hitting the wall. See more »


Carl Alagretti: [after talking to Danny's cousin Nick about Danny] I says we think he's a rat, and we think we should fuckin' clip him. He says if you think he's a rat, then you should clip him. But if you do, you better be sure he's a rat. Because the people that like him, they're good people.
See more »


References Ship of Fools (1965) See more »


Love Will Keep Us Together
Written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Performed by Captain & Tennille
See more »

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User Reviews

A Lost Masterpiece?
23 December 2001 | by (Watertown, Mass.) – See all my reviews

A few years after this was in the theaters, it was shown on TV over two nights. I remember reading that a significant amount of footage that had been cut for the theatrical version would be restored for the TV showing. That piqued my curiosity, so I watched -- and was completely blown away.

But what amazed me the most was that I couldn't spot one scene that could be taken out of the movie without seriously compromising it. Since I knew it had been cut and restored, I was pointedly looking for stand-alone scenes that only fleshed out the characters but weren't integral to the extremely complex storyline. There weren't any. Every single scene contained some important bit of information that cast light on and helped make sense of something elsewhere in the movie.

Ever since then, I've been patiently waiting for this director's cut to show up on VHS, LD, or DVD -- and refusing to watch the theatrical cut! It's been 15 years and I'm still waiting. But I would certainly think that eventually this will come out on DVD, and we can al hope and pray that it will do so in the full version.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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