City Hall (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  16 February 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,226 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 50 critic

The accidental shooting of a boy in New York leads to an investigation by the Deputy Mayor, and unexpectedly far-reaching consequences.


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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judge Walter Stern
Paul Zapatti (as Tony Franciosa)
Sydney Pappas
Det. Eddie Santos
Mel Winkler ...
Det. Albert Holly
Elaine Santos (as Lauren Vélez)
Chloe Morris ...
Maria Santos
Randy Santos
Nettie Anselmo


A young boy dies from a stray bullet during a shootout between a cop and mob family member who had previously been supiciously given probabtion, only to break its terms. New York's Deputy Mayor, Kevin Calhoun starts digging for information. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It started with a shootout on a rainswept street and ended in a scandal that shattered New York. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Sombra da Corrupção  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)


$20,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Al Pacino and Tamara Tunie also appeared in The Devil's Advocate (1997). See more »


A same extra (man with dark glasses) can be seen walking twice on the shot with Kevin Calhoun making his campaign at the ending. First, Kevin gives a leaflet to the man, who accepts it and takes the subway route. A few frames later, the same guy appears but this time he refuses the leaflet and goes to the subway (again). See more »


Mayor John Pappas: Your power? What good are you to the people without it? But down deep you know there's a line you can't cross, and after a thousand trades and one deal too many, the line gets rubbed out.
See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Danny Aiello/Coolio (1996) See more »


If I Loved You
from the musical play "Carousel"
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Used by permission of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization
Vocals performed by Cassie Byram
See more »

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User Reviews

Politics in The Big Apple
4 June 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Being a transplanted New Yorker, I might be more critical than most in watching City Hall. But I have to say that before even getting to the story itself I was captivated by the location shooting and the political atmosphere of New York City that Director Harold Becker created.

For example there's a reference to Woerner's Restaurant in Brooklyn where political boss Frank Anselmo likes to eat. There is or was a Woerner's Restaurant on Remsen Street in downtown Brooklyn when I lived in New York back in 1996. It was in fact particularly favored by political people in the Borough though they did have a couple of other hangouts.

No surprise because the script was co-authored by Nicholas Pileggi who still writes both political and organized crime stories. He knows the atmosphere quite well and he sure knows how those two worlds cross as they do in this film.

A detective played by Nestor Serrano goes for an unofficial meeting with a relative of mob boss Anthony Franciosa and things erupt and three people wind up dead, including an innocent 6 year old boy whose father was walking him to school. The story mushrooms and at the end it's reached inside City Hall itself.

Al Pacino plays Mayor John Pappas and John Cusack is his Deputy Mayor a transplanted Louisianan, a state which has a tradition of genteel corruption itself. He's the outsider here and in trying to do damage control, Cusack finds more than he bargained for,

Danny Aiello plays Brooklyn political boss Frank Anselmo and for those of you not from New York, his character is based on the late Borough President of Queens Donald Manes who was also brought down by scandal. He's very much the kind of Brooklyn politician I knew back in the day whose friendship with organized crime and favors done for them, do Aiello in.

City Hall was the farewell performance on film for Anthony Franciosa, one of the most underrated and under-appreciated talents ever on the screen. No one watches anyone else whenever he's on.

Al Pacino's best moment is when at the funeral of the young child killed, he takes over the proceedings and turns it into a political triumph for himself. His is a complex part, he's a decent enough man, but one caught up in the corruption it takes to rise in a place like New York.

For those who want to know about political life in the Big Apple, City Hall is highly recommended.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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