IMDb > Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Bad Lieutenant
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Bad Lieutenant (1992) More at IMDbPro »

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Bad Lieutenant -- 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.


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7.1/10   26,256 votes »
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Up 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Zoë Lund (written by) and
Abel Ferrara (written by)
View company contact information for Bad Lieutenant on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 December 1992 (Argentina) See more »
Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Rough content, but beautifully bleak and harrowing See more (169 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Harvey Keitel ... The Lieutenant

Victor Argo ... Beat Cop

Paul Calderon ... Cop #1 (as Paul Calderone)

Leonard L. Thomas ... Cop #2 (as Leonard Thomas)
Robin Burrows ... Ariane

Frankie Thorn ... The Nun
Victoria Bastel ... Bowtay

Paul Hipp ... Jesus
Brian McElroy ... Lieutenant's Son (#1)
Frankie Acciarito ... Lieutenant's Son (#2)

Peggy Gormley ... Lieutenant's Wife

Stella Keitel ... Lieutenant's Daughter
Dana Dee ... Lieutenant's Baby Girl
Anthony Ruggiero ... Lite

Vincent Laresca ... J.C.
G. Elvis Phillips ... Young Cop
Stephen Chen ... Korean Store Owner
Shawn McClean ... Korean Store Hood #1
John Steven Jones ... Korean store hood #2
Fernando Véléz ... Julio
Joseph Micheal Cruz ... Paulo
Frank Adonis ... Large
Lambert Moss ... Veronica
Nicholas De Cegli ... Limelight Guide
Larry Mullane ... Detective Larry
Michael A. Fella ... Detective Mike
Michael N. Ciravolo ... Detective Michael

Zoë Lund ... Zoe

Bo Dietl ... Detective Bo

Gene Canfield ... Detective Gene
Heather Bracken ... Nurse

Penelope Allen ... Doctor (as Penny Allen)

Eddie Daniels ... Jersey Girl - passenger

Bianca Hunter ... Jersey Girl - driver (as Bianca Bakija)
Ed Kovens ... Monsignor
Jaime Sánchez ... Priest
Minnie Gentry ... Elderly Woman
Iraida Polanco ... Mamacita
Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo ... Radio Announcer #1 (voice)
John Clohessy ... Radio Announcer #2 (voice) (as John Cloghessy)
Bruce Murray ... Radio Announcer #3 (voice)
Bob Murphy ... Play-by-play announcer (voice)
Warner Fusselle ... Play-by-play announcer (voice)
Phil Neilson ... Left Turn (as Phil Nielson)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Darryl Strawberry ... Himself (archive footage)
Nick Macdonald ... Man in crowd (uncredited)

Directed by
Abel Ferrara 
Writing credits
Zoë Lund (written by) (as Zoe Lund)

Abel Ferrara  written by

Produced by
Mary Kane .... producer
Diana Phillips .... line producer
Edward R. Pressman .... producer
Randy Sabusawa .... co-producer (as Randall Sabusawa)
Patrick Wachsberger .... executive producer
Ronna B. Wallace .... executive producer
Original Music by
Joe Delia 
Cinematography by
Ken Kelsch (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Anthony Redman 
Production Design by
Charles M. Lagola  (as Charles Lagola)
Set Decoration by
Stephanie Carroll 
Costume Design by
David Sawaryn 
Makeup Department
Cydney Cornell .... department head hair stylist
Joe Cuervo .... makeup artist
Production Management
Albert Coleman .... post-production supervisor
Denis Hann .... unit manager
Peter Pastorelli .... production supervisor
Diane Phillips .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Noga Isackson .... second assistant director
Drew Ann Rosenberg .... first assistant director
Art Department
Betsy Alton .... art department assistant (as Elizabeth P. Alton)
Annie Ballard .... prop shopper
Damian J. Costa .... lead man
Robert Covelman .... set dresser
Erik Ferrar .... art department production assistant
Matt Galvin .... art department production assistant
Chris Jordan .... assistant props
Diane Lederman .... additional dresser
Michael Saccio .... property master
Rachel Talbot .... art department production assistant
David Weller .... set designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Michael Barosky .... production sound mixer
Geoffrey Bradley .... assistant sound editor
Joe Campana .... assistant sound editor
John Cattigan .... assistant sound editor
Michael P. Cook .... sound editor
Casey J. Crabtree .... foley artist
Denis Dutton .... sound editor
Bill Fox .... assistant sound editor
Al Gomez .... foley mixer (as Albert Gomez)
James Koford .... sound editor
Rachel Lederman .... sound mixer
Yehuda Maayan .... boom operator
Linda Murphy .... boom operator
Tom Ruff .... sound re-recording mixer
Allan Schultz .... sound editor
Charles C. Simmons .... foley editor (as Chuck Simmons)
Bess Steele .... foley artist
Randall K. Tomlin .... sound editor
Clancy T. Troutman .... sound editor
James G. Williams .... sound re-recording mixer
David Abrahamsen .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
J.C. Brotherhood .... special effects coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Glenn Arnold .... grip truck helper
Donald Bialer .... best boy grip
Rick Bruck .... crane technician: "Bertha" crane
Jim Denault .... electrician
Andrea Dorman .... second assistant camera
Robert Kummert .... key grip
Dennis A. Livesey .... first assistant camera
John Paul McIntyre .... grip
Charlie McNamara .... gaffer
John Milcetic .... best boy electric
Adrian Misol .... camera intern
Linda Phillips .... electric truck helper
John Pirozzi .... dolly grip
Steve Sands .... still photographer
Eric Schmidt .... electrician
Tom Zafian .... video playback operator
Laura Zito .... still photographer
Casting Department
Rebecca C. Crespi .... casting assistant
Laura Gillis .... extras casting
Kimba Hills .... casting: Los Angeles
Meredith Jacobson .... casting: New York
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Anita Ellis .... wardrobe supervisor
Melinda Eshelman .... assistant costume designer (as M.A. Eshelman)
Winsome G. McKoy .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Albert Coleman .... assistant editor: Los Angeles
Antonio Costa .... assistant editor: New York
Mayin Lo .... assistant editor: New York
Sharon McGeeney .... negative cutter
Maria Montoreano .... assistant editor: Los Angeles
Ray Morfino .... color timer
Craig Nisker .... assistant editor: Los Angeles
Eric Alan Donaldson .... post-production runner (uncredited)
Transportation Department
William Curtin .... driver
Harry J. Leavey .... driver captain
Vincent Russo Jr. .... driver
Barry Stanton .... driver
Other crew
Jennifer Anderson .... set production assistant
Roni Ben-Nevat .... key set production assistant
Hilary Birmingham .... production intern
Joshua Blum .... baseball advisor (as Josh Blum)
David Burris .... production assistant (as Dave Bunis)
Cyrus Claffy .... craft service
Andy Clark .... assistant location manager (as Andrew Clark)
Jenn 'Waiff' Cobb .... office production assistant
Wendy Damon .... production assistant
Lori Gottlieb .... production assistant: Los Angeles
Grace Griffith .... production assistant: Los Angeles
Bruce Hofert .... production assistant: Los Angeles
Diana Hrabowecki .... production business liaison
Matthew Huffman .... production intern
Karen Kelsall .... script supervisor
Tony Kono .... location manager
Mary Beth Mann .... assistant production coordinator
John Paul McIntyre .... creative consultant
Peter Millerman .... production assistant
Christopher Otto .... assistant: Edward R. Pressman
Marcello Picone .... production intern
Daniel Posener .... production assistant: Los Angeles
Michael Radiloff .... assistant: Edward R. Pressman
Jennifer Roth .... production coordinator
Jonathan H. Shaw .... location assistant
Susan Sloan .... set nurse
Mark Taylor .... assistant production accountant
Michael Tracey .... set production assistant
Tony Trimarco .... production accountant
Max Velez .... production intern
Fred Walsh .... production intern
Ante Novakovic .... assistant: Harvey Keitel (uncredited)
Jon Sperry .... dialect coach (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated NC-17 for sexual violence, strong sexual situations & dialogue, graphic drug use
96 min | 91 min (R-rated version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".See more »
Crew or equipment visible: Towards the end of the scene where LT is shooting heroin with the redhead, you can see the shadow of a crew member slip into the shot in the lower-right part of the screen.See more »
The Lieutenant:Show me how you suck a guy's cock.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) (TV)See more »


What are the differences between the R-rated version and the NC-17 version?
See more »
63 out of 81 people found the following review useful.
Rough content, but beautifully bleak and harrowing, 26 April 2005
Author: soymilk from East Anglia, UK

People are probably right enough when they comment that this entire film essentially hinges on Harvey Kietel's impassioned performance as the corrupt and deeply troubled lieutenant of the title. Which shouldn't necessarily be taken as a shortcoming - an engrossing lead is the one key thing that any one-man character study like this needs in order to flourish, after all. Whether sobbing, howling or clenching his jaws in anguish, or else hanging his head and sipping liquor in silence, his acting here is always raw, convincing and utterly compelling; the kind of portrayal you'd be hard-pressed to take your eyes off. The exact identity of his character is never revealed, but the title informs us he's a 'bad lieutenant', a label seemingly confirmed by his tendency to indulge in substance abuse, work up heavy gambling debts and even, on occasion, pull over a couple of young female drivers and use them as motivation for his own self-pleasure. Very lurid, and yet the way that Kietel plays him also makes feel completely human. He conveys such pain and desperation behind his each and every immoral action that they never come across as nearly as shocking or vulgar to watch as they are harrowing. It's this alone that enables 'Bad Lieutenant' as a whole to reach the true extent of its potential - what could easily be read off as a plethora of fury, drug-taking, masturbation and full-frontal nudity in practice translates very aptly into a sad and striking depiction of a despondent man who's lost his ability to see goodness in anything in life, and who's sinking ever deeper beneath the weight of all those answers being continuously sought in the wrong places. As you've probably worked out by now, this isn't exactly the balmiest movie you could spending your time with (might be wrong, but I don't think there's a single light-hearted moment to be found in the entire screenplay), but if you can bring yourself to look past the sourness on the surface and instead feel sympathy for this bad lieutenant, as Kietel's involving performance invites us to do, then you'll find some considerable power lurking in its bleakness.

So, while it's Harvey Kietel who really (and rightly) brings things together in 'Bad Lieutenant' and makes it the affecting near-masterpiece that it is, it would be unfair of me to completely overlook Ferrara's role in this equation. He's provided the context against which our centrepiece man must function - a world so run-down, sombre and nihilistic that trying to find redemption round here seems not only impossible, but practically pointless. The mood is well-set by the ever-overcast skies; killing, rape and robbery are rampant, and the Lt isn't exactly given a great deal to aspire to in his day-to-day life. Kietel and his character are admittedly the only things here that come off as particularly outstanding - the vast majority of supporting characters are really all just part of this one big daunting backdrop, with dialogue, screen time and development kept to a strict minimum in each case - though personally I look at this as being more of an additional strength than as a weakness. That everyone else around him always seems so distant only increases the overall feelings of detachment and isolation that draw us deeper into the Lt's outlook.

Christian faith and symbolism are pretty integral to the overall themes of this movie, but even being non-religious myself I find I can still get a good deal of emotional investment in it. It delivers its underlying issues - of non-judgement and the potential for goodness in even the most repellent of sinners - with acute precision, as reflected in the investigation concerning the raping of a young nun which the plot loosely revolves around. While this heinous crime only serves to strengthen the Lt's belief in the general depravity of the world around him, the nun herself has found solace in her refusal to condemn those who wronged her, viewing them instead as victims as their own confusion and despair. There are of course some fairly sharp parallels between this scenario and the Lt's own personal predicament, which any viewer who's really come to feel for him will recognise - as displeasing as some of the things he himself gets up to may be (and the way he incorporates further crime into his efforts to uphold the law), there's that challenge lying at the centre of every scene as to whether or not we're really in any position to pass judgement upon him. All things considered, is it truly a bad lieutenant that he is at heart or just, well, a sad one?

I don't imagine that everyone will quite take to the conclusion this eventually leads to (and which I'm not going to give away here), but considering just how weighty a lot of the issues it addresses really are, you never get the impression that Ferrara ever intended to come up with a cut-and-dried solution of any sorts. Instead, he and Kietel have put together a polished and powerful piece of film-making that, though it deals with some pretty disagreeable and, at the time at least, controversial subject matter, is so rich in great acting (well, one great performance, but it's easily worth the input of an entire cast) and slick atmospherics that it becomes entirely captivating. In the end, it's the surprising amount of depth and emotional muscle that it carries, and not the notorious reputation that it garnered, that 'Bad Lieutenant' really deserves to be remembered for - and remembered I hope it always will be. Another great in early 90s cinema.

Grade: A

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