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Prince of the City (1981)

 -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  21 August 1981 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,922 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 26 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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Prince of the City (1981)

Prince of the City (1981) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Daniel Ciello
...
Gus Levy
Richard Foronjy ...
Joe Marinaro
Don Billett ...
Bill Mayo
Kenny Marino ...
Dom Bando
Carmine Caridi ...
Gino Mascone
Tony Page ...
Raf Alvarez
Norman Parker ...
Rick Cappalino
Paul Roebling ...
Brooks Paige
...
Santimassino
...
District Attorney Polito
Steve Inwood ...
Mario Vincente
...
Carla Ciello
Matthew Laurance ...
Ronnie Ciello
Tony Turco ...
Socks Ciello
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Storyline

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 <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A cop is turning. Nobody's safe.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince of the City  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Daniel Ciello is based on real-life NYPD Narcotics Detective Robert Leuci. Leuci's testimony helped indict 52 corrupt detectives. After he quit the job, Leuci turned novelist and wrote the gritty police dramas "Snitch", "Odessa Beach" and "Captain Butterfly". See more »

Goofs

When Barnes is picking up the Ciello family at their home, Barnes puts his hat - a brown fedora - on Ciello's young child's head. In the next shot, when Barnes takes his hat back from the child, it is not the fedora he had just put on the child but instead is a dark hunting hat with a long baseball cap like bill and no brim. See more »

Quotes

Daniel Ciello: Where did you go to school, Paige?
Brooks Paige: I went to Harvard. And uh, before Harvard to Andover. Before Andover to St. Bernard's.
Daniel Ciello: Ah, St. Bernard's. That's in the 2-3, that's, uh, little blond boys in blazers, right? Aw, shit, Cappalino. My own father can't understand the pressures on cops. What am I supposed to get from St. Bernard's?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Prince of the City: The Real Story (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Will Keep Us Together
Performed by Captain & Tennille
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Film, Unflinchingly Realistic
27 September 2004 | by (Manassas, VA) – See all my reviews

Much has been made of this film's brilliance and how it was glaringly ignored at that year's Oscars. It richly deserved the awards it never received. Its realistic, gritty feel comes from the fact that the movie was lifted straight from the book, with only name changes. The viewer is drawn into the unraveling world of a narcotics' policeman as he recoils in disgust from what he does to maintain his squad's phenomenally high arrest rate, i.e., stealing, bribing, corrupting themselves to nail the corrupt. Cielo first targets people far from him but then the circle tightens until he fingers his own men. For a cop to rat on fellow cops is a deeply ingrained anomaly, an affront to the ties that bind the police in a brotherhood deeper than blood. The direction is great, the dialog heavily laced with coarse language that deepens the realism, and the acting is fantastic. Treat Williams never again received a role nor gave a performance that approached the stellar proportions of this one. Jerry Orbach is so immersed in his part that Dick Wolf cast him as a homicide detective for Law & Order based on seeing his acting in this movie. All of the characters are three-dimensional, human and evoke emotions. Some are admirable, others pitiful, some are despicable. Though long, Prince of the City is never boring, and it leaves its moral dilemmas largely unanswered, letting the viewer sort out who did the right thing. This film was made by Sidney Lumet as an apology to the NYPD for his hatchet job in Serpico. It succeeds in more ways than mere atonement; this movie is superior to its predecessor in many ways and was inexcusably blown off at that year's Academy Awards. Still powerful and has aged well, even if Treat Williams and Lumet haven't.


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