7.1/10
31,134
177 user 74 critic

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness.

Director:

Writers:

(as Zoe Lund),
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4,783 ( 513)

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
LT
Brian McElroy ...
Frankie Acciarito ...
...
LT's Wife
...
LT's Daughter
Dana Dee ...
LT's Baby Girl
...
Beat Cop
...
Cop #1 (as Paul Calderone)
...
Cop #2 (as Leonard Thomas)
Anthony Ruggiero ...
Lite
...
JC
Robin Burrows ...
Ariane
Victoria Bastel ...
Bowtay
G. Elvis Phillips ...
Young Cop
Stephen Chen ...
Korean Store Owner
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Storyline

A police Lieutenant goes about his daily tasks of investigating homicides, but is more interested in pursuing his vices. He has accumulated a massive debt betting on baseball, and he keeps doubling to try to recover. His bookies are beginning to get agitated. The Lieutenant does copious amounts of drugs, cavorts with prostitutes, and uses his status to take advantage of teenage girls. While investigating a nun's rape, he begins to reflect on his lifestyle. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for sexual violence, strong sexual situations & dialogue, graphic drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 December 1992 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Teniente corrupto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,000,022 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the young women in the car was Harvey Keitel's nanny. Abel Ferrara recalled, "I said, 'You sure you want to do this with your babysitter?' He says, 'Yeah, I want to try something.'" See more »

Goofs

When the Lieutenant stops the Jersey girls he is talking to them through the open driver's side window. When the camera angle changes it is clear the window is rolled up. See more »

Quotes

The Lieutenant: Leave it to the Catholic Church. Girls get raped every day, and now we're putting up 50 Gs just 'cause these girls wear fuckin' penguin suits.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Killer Flick (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

LET'S GET HIGH
Written by Adams / Van Lierop / Praga Khan (as Somora)
(P) 1991 Be's Songs
Performed by Lords of Acid
Used by permission of Antler / Subway Records & Caroline Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Good movie
9 May 2001 | by (Jersey City, NJ) – See all my reviews

What more can I say? Keitel gives an astounding performance. Then again, when has he let us down? I was able to find some interesting parallels to "Mean Streets." Aside from the use of "Pledging my Love" by Johnny Ace, it explores the theme of Catholic guilt and how one's temptation and hunger for evil can weaken spiritual judgments. The climactic scene is great, in which Keitel (literally) comes face to face with Jesus. I wasn't a big fan of "Mean Streets" and think this film better explores its Catholic themes. One may perceive this film to be sinful, and it received tons of controversy. It's very rare that a movie is able to show rape of a nun, and get away Scott-free with the MPAA. I think the NC-17 rating was mostly on account of the explicit nudity and sex. I don't know why the hell people are trying to scare viewers by regarding this movie as "graphically violent." About all we really see are aftermaths of violence. However, the language is extremely blunt, and that's about the only warning I can give. Of course, religious activists might protest its use of footage of Jesus on a cross and the aforementioned rape scene, but they simply have to look closer at what message Ferrara is trying to bring out. Cinema is an art form often misjudged by the prudish. The scene where Keitel pulls the two young girls over is classic, and I loved its darkly humorous element.

"Bad Lieutenant" is an impressive character study, and though it occasionally gets meandering and repetitive and seems to be missing something (which I might be able to identify on a second viewing), it's a moving story with terrific acting. I wasn't too thrilled with the other Ferrara pieces I've seen, "King of New York" and "The Funeral," but I was younger and I think I just had trouble understanding the subtle messages he delivers in his films. Of course, he specializes in gritty urban dramas like this, being a Bronx native what do you expect, so something like "Bad Lieutenant" naturally wouldn't appeal to general audiences. It's unpleasant, though somewhat humorous, but life can be the same way. You can't spend your whole life watching "The Wizard of Oz." Every once in a while, you have to take a break and watch graphic character studies like this and learn a little something. After seeing this movie, I'm curious about checking out some more of Ferrara's work, because I know he has talent.

I can tell this a movie I will have to watch again, because it's not easily understood the first time around, but I'm sure there's hidden messages that just flew over my head. I still think the film could've had more substance, but it's still an impressive work.

My score: 7 (out of 10)


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