In Harlem, two Italian mobsters meet three black gangsters that work to the kingpin Doc Johnson to collect dirty money from their associates in an apartment building. Out of the blue, the smalltime thieves Jim Harris and Joe Logart knock on the door disguised as police officers to steal US$ 300,000.00 from the Mafia. However, they startle when the suitcase with the money falls on the floor and Jim kills the five men with a machine gun. They flee to the runaway car driven by Henry J. Jackson and they kill two policemen. The idealist NYPD Lt. Pope and the violent Capt. Mattelli investigate the case while the Italian Mafia and the black gangsters hunt the killers down. Will Jim Harris and his accomplices be found?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The robbery getaway car is a 1967 Checker taxicab. See more »
Shortly into the movie while counting the money, two cops knock on the door. The tablecloth with the money is folded up and pushed to the floor. When the cops enter the room the tablecloth, money and briefcase are back on the table. See more »
The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC with edits made to nearly all the fight scenes and shots of beatings, and heavy cuts to shootings and a man on fire during the climax. All later releases were uncut. See more »
Criminally underrated 70's crime pic.....fully equal to Dirty Harry & The French Connection, but virtually unheard of at least here in the UK- I IMPLORE fans of hardboiled urban thrillers to check this out, you won't be disappointed! 3 black hoods rob $300,000 from the mafia, killing 2 cops and some mobsters in the process. The mob send in Nick D'salvio, a paranoid sadist married to the bosses daughter & desperate to prove himself worthy to his formidable father in law. The two senior policemen on the case are like chalk and cheese- Capt. Martelli is 55 & a corrupt, hardened, cynical veteran of the streets whose time is clearly drawing to a close. Wheras Lt. Pope is a young black detective- ambitious but fundamentally honest & by the book, and therefore appalled by Martelli's violent and sometimes illegal methods. What raises this film above the norm isn't the rather generic plot. The performances are uniformly excellent- but it's really the writing and directing that elevate this film to greatness.....Martelli and Pope (played by Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto respectively) don't become "buddies" like Riggs and Mortaugh in Lethal Weapon, the simmering tension & mistrust between them remains- as it would in real life. The 3 robbers, whilst never glamourised (only one is shown as having any kind of real conscience, and their leader is dangerously & unpredictably violent), are far from cardboard cut out bad guys- they're all three dimensional characters, a realistic mix of good and bad, with understandable motives. The psychopathic D'Salvio on the other hand is a truly nasty piece of work with no redeeming features, but even he is intriguingly multi-layerd- particularly in his dealings with the positively Machiavellian boss of the Harlem crime syndicate Doc Johnson, in his own way the most ruthless and streetwise character in the movie.....On paper D'Salvio is the senior mobster, and so should have the upper hand, but Johnson expertly plays on his insecurities to gain the upper hand in a masterfully played scene. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the film is how well it has aged- made over 40 years ago it still holds up well today. Also the level of violence is very strong, even when compared to the many other tough thrillers of the time, but it's never gratuitous- like The French Connection, this is a film about the seamy side of life in New York's ghetto, and director Barry Shear captures the mood and texture of grim n gritty 70's Harlem in a way few have managed. A must see for those who like their thrillers edgy, realistic and uncompromising!
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