Prince of the City (1981)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  21 August 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 4,865 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
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was budgeted at $10 million but Lumet completed it for under $9 million. At a Guardian Lecture at London's NFT shortly before the film's UK release, he revealed that the studio were furious with him for doing so since it created a major book-keeping problem for them. See more »


Gino Mascone's wife's name is listed as Ann in the credits, but she is repeatedly referred to and addressed as Rose in the film. 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 »


Featured in The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) See more »


Love Will Keep Us Together
Written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Performed by Captain & Tennille
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User Reviews

Possibly the best cop film ever made
3 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

Treat Williams plays a corrupt New York narcotics detective who tries to redeem himself by volunteering to go undercover on the force to weed out other corrupt policeman only to find himself facing an increasingly difficult series of moral dilemmas involving his former partners. This intelligent film is possibly the best cop film ever made. Treat Williams delivers the best performance of his career although the excellent supporting cast, Jerry Orbach, in particular, comes very close to stealing the movie right out from under him. Williams is so good here that you can't believe he is the same guy who later appeared in "Dead Heat." (What happened?) Director Sidney Lumet, who also co-wrote the insightful, penetrating script with Jay Presson Allen, was never better. He does such a great job that you can't believe he's the same guy who directed "Family Business." (What happened?) The film is long, but you never lose interest. A must see.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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