Cops and Robbers (1973) Poster

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Cops and Robbers is a steal.
st-shot12 December 2010
New York City cops Tom and Joe are in the mist of burn out. Why me syndrome eats at them in every way including getting in the wrong lane on the highway. They decide on a bold move to remove themselves from the relentless rat race by stealing and selling security bonds to the mob while remaining untraceable themselves.

Cops and Robbers is a very decent suspense comedy overachiever. Lack of star power works in its favor with Cliff Gorman and Joseph Bologna as the two rogue cops as non-descript everydays they ooze New York and are not required to perform acts of cool bravado to protect their careers. They are not master thieves, instead learning as they go along and it's this thin ice approach that gives the film it's well paced balance of humor and suspense.

Made during the Serpico era when the NYPD was swimming in corruption it's hard not to root for these dirty cops being squeezed on both sides. It may be a low rent sting but it does have the benefit of bluffing the audience deeper into the final moments than predictable outcomes reserved for superstars like Newman and Redford.
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A GREAT hidden gem about the way NYC used to be!
UNOhwen20 October 2012
I'm Born, raised - and still live in NYC.

Seeing this movie made me (like a lot of my fellow NYC'ers) pine for those days.

It was a great place to grow up - made you 'get with it' really fast.

I'd never heard of this film (and I know Mr. Gorman!), so, when it appeared last night on TCM, I recorded it.

What a find!

The sights and sounds bring back a lot of memories, as does even the film's stock, and the look. All pitch-perfect.

The acting's superb.

Instead of the (misguided) idea of using 'star' names, the producers and the director went for ACTORS - New York actors.

ANd that makes all the difference.

The leads, Cliff Gorman and Joseph Bologna are 2 schlubs - cops, who know they're stuck ion a treadmill.

They want SOME way to get out - to 'go sit on a beach,' and enjoy their lives.

So, through a meeting by happenstance, with a well-known Mafioso figure 'Pasquale Aniello' aka Patsy O'Neill, they think they've found a way to meet their goal.

Everyone in the cast is so New York, the director - Aram Avakian - is a born New Yorker, and it really does help give this film that true feel.

You can see it in such things like the ways the cops slouch.

The little touches - such as the annoying Muzak that plays in a couple of scenes - gives the humor (this IS a comedy) a real NYC feel. It's dry, it's got a 'been there,' jaded quality that is so typical.

I join the chorus in praising this little gem.

If it shows up - WATCH IT.
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Entertaining and More Entertaining
angelsunchained30 January 2005
Cops and Robbers is an enjoyable, entertaining, and well-acted film. Directed by Aram Avakian, and starring Cliff Gorman and Joseph Bologna as two cops who decided to pull-off the "perfect crime".

Filmed in 1973, it's a trip down memory lane, capturing the grit and grime of New York City before it's "make-over" some twenty years later. Gorman and Bologna give their career best performances. Their interactions and conversations seem as real as can be. At no time what-so-ever, do you feel like these fine actors are acting.

The movie however is stolen by character actor John P. Ryan as mob-fence "Pastsy O'Neill". Ryan gives an academy award winning performance(he was never nominated), and you truly have sympathy for his character in the end.

A really fine work of film-making.
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Great 70s cop flick that captures the era
udar556 February 2008
Disillusioned NYC cops Joe (Joseph Bologna) and Tommy (Cliff Gorman) decide their meager weekly salary isn't worth getting killed over and plan a big score. Tommy contacts Mafia kingpin Pasquale "Patsy" Aniello (John P. Ryan) after observing him being booked. In disguise, Tommy finds out that Patsy would pay handsomely for $10 million in bonds. So together the two cops plan to rob a local Wall Street firm during a big parade for the Apollo 11 astronauts.

One review here leads off with the line, "A Real Find" and I couldn't agree more. This 70s cop thriller captures both the working man's embitterment with the system and the sleazy side of NYC. Both of the leads are good in their roles and they get fine support from Ryan (has he always been middle aged?), whose lead henchman is played by Joe Spinell. Director Aram Avakian didn't make many films (5 total), but he has a great eye for realism and even a bit of the absurd like the mob using guys on ten speeds during the final chase in Central Park. Filmed entirely in New York City, this really captures the feel of the 70s station house with the green, cracking walls.
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Cops AND Robbers!
JLRMovieReviews31 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Cliff Gorman and Joseph Bologna star in this movie about two cops who are looking forward to their retirement and want to rob somewhere, but where, for some extra money. (They get paid squat.) One of them goes to a mobster with a proposition in exchange for some information, so that they'll know what and where is the best place. They're told to rob a securities bank for bonds worth a lot of money. But then, there's an unexpected twist.

This is a great little film that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was afraid it was going to get really bloody and violent, because it has that feel to it like anything can happen. In fact, at the beginning, there's a fracas that's a little jarring with the yelling and the tension. But essentially we are being shown an average day in the life of a police officer in New York City, from encounters on the street to petty things in the office, which Bologna and Gorman are getting pretty tired of.

(Sidenote: It costars Ellen Holly, who was mainly a Broadway actress and made only a few movies and who is known as Carla Gray from One Life to Live as the woman who "passed." I was too young at the time to remember her role, but she was a very beautiful actress.)

Getting back to the movie: If you get a chance to see this, which is going to be rare, watch it please. It's a chance to see these stars as cops and as robbers.
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Light-hearted NYC heist flick.
rmax30482325 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's a pretty dumb title -- "Cops and Robbers." Sounds as if it ought to be a gritty urban crime tale starring maybe Steven Segal. Instead it's a good-natured look at two ordinary New York City cops who are tired of the violence and selfishness they see on the job, the greed and perspiration. They dream about getting their share of the goods too so that one of them (Cliff Gorman) can take his family to Bermuda and the other (Joseph Bologna) can become a farmer in Saskatchewan.

The cops contact a mafioso (John Ryan) and tell him they want to get out, and they plan on doing it by stealing something and selling it to him for disposal. "What do you plan to steal?" asks Ryan. "Whatever you'll pay two million dollars for," replies Gorman.

So they stage a robbery along lines suggested by Ryan, robbing an investment firm of ten million dollars worth of bearer bonds. The man who runs the firm, Mr. Eastpool (Shephard Strudwick) and his secretary (Ellen Holly, a dish) cooperate fully -- and for good reason. Afterward they claim TWELVE million was stolen, stealing the extra two million for themselves. "One million apiece!" Bologna exclaims in disgust. The two don't actually steal anything because they are forced by circumstances to destroy the bonds. But they cheat Ryan out of the two million he agreed to pay, and the film ends with the pair lazing in the back yard of their modest home, smiling and gazing contentedly at an airliner way up there in the sky.

The amusement is tempered with a good deal of suspense before and after the robbery as the usual things go wrong and reality intrusions occur.

Gorman and Bologna work well together, the former slightly wall eyed and a little insane, the latter cherubic and frightened. In their false mustaches, each looks a little like Groucho Marx. Strudwick and Holly are better than simply good enough, too.

Much of the credit must go to the director, Aram Avakian, watching whose documentary, "Jazz on a Summer's Day," was almost as good as being there. Avakian gets a lot of smiles out of events in long shot. (The kids might not get it.) Example: Ryan is having his record typed up for an interview in the police station, looking very very Italian. "What's your name?" asks the cop tonelessly from behind the desk. "Patsy O'Neal," replies the smiling Ryan easily. The cop doesn't bat an eye as he types in, "Anielli, Pasquale." Well, another example, because that last one didn't involve a long shot. A half dozen mafia types wearing shades and flowered shirts are leaning against the wall in front of a high mafioso's headquarters when Ryan's long limousine pulls up. Ryan sits patiently in the car while the armed goons spread out in a circle, like the Praetorian Guard, hands fondling the guns packed into their belts, eyes searching for enemies. Nothing much is made of it but the scene is quite funny. I won't describe any of the other amusing scenes except to say that you have to look for them. The comedy is effective but not outrageous. Nobody falls on his behind, and after the first few minutes there is no shooting.

Easy going and diverting film, worth watching.
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A Real Find
ndrejaj19693 March 2002
A gem of a caper movie, based on Donald (HOT ROCK)Westlake's novel. I discovered this film in the bargain bin of some video outlet near Ft. Bragg, NC. I was a little homesick at the time, not having had leave for nearly a year, and I thought I could alleviate some of the pain by kicking back with a few beers and watching a NY-set Seventies flick. Boy, what a find. This is a real sleeper, with easy-going charm provided by the two leads (Gorman and Bologna), suspense, droll wit, and a fine performance by J.P. Ryan as the treacherous mob fence. The film perfectly captures the mood of NYC in the early Seventies, seen through the eyes of its ethnic, blue-collar inhabitants. Catchy title tune by Michel Legrand, gorgeous location photography by David L. Quaid, cameos by Joe Spinell, Frankie Gio, and Frank Adonis. A completely satisfying conclusion. This film will leave you with a smile on your face for hours after each viewing.
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Deserving of a cult following.
Hey_Sweden14 August 2012
"Cops and Robbers" is an engagingly offbeat caper comedy, written by Donald E. Westlake, about two cops, Tom (Cliff Gorman) and Joe (Joe Bologna) who succumb to the temptation of corruption. They've come to believe that it isn't worth putting their lives on the line for the meager pay that they receive. They strike a deal with a mobster, Pasquale Aniello (the wonderful John P. Ryan) to serve as their fence while they go and steal $10 million in bearer bonds from a securities firm, using a parade as their cover.

Westlake infuses his script with a truly unpredictable sensibility and clever dialogue, brought to life by actors Gorman and Bologna whose bantering is believable. You can buy into the friendship of these two dissatisfied Average Joes. Director Aram Avakian keeps things moving along at a good clip, and he and his two talented leads milk each and every scene for its humorous potential. One can't help but wonder how our "heroes" are going to think their way out of the various situations in which they find themselves. One scene that will strike viewers as being rather original is when the car Tom and Joe are driving is surrounded by aggressive cyclists.

This also works as another irresistible time capsule of the city of NYC during the 1970s, a decade when it fared very well on the silver screen. The sights and sounds are a pleasure to take in, and the music by Michel Legrand and cinematography by David L. Quaid are prominent assets.

The supporting cast is a pleasure to watch, especially Ryan, Shepperd Strudwick as Mr. Eastpoole, and the beautiful Ellen Holly as Ms. Wells; there are noteworthy bits by the likes of Frances Foster, Martin Kove, Delphi Lawrence, Nino Ruggeri, Dolph Sweet, Richard Ward, and Joe Spinell in the role that officially "introduced" him.

The interesting finish to this movie juxtaposes happy and sad endings, and we can't help but feel some sympathy for one of the characters. This is clearly not a very well known film, which is unfortunate, but hopefully I and others can help it to gain some more fans. It's a funny, breezy, quirky little piece of work and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Seven out of 10.
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Good Movie, Zilch Video
johnbates5 December 2001
Two cops have had enough of the 'system' and decide on a high level robbery. This theme is presented in a somewhat light hearted manner. The film is an effective period piece of New York in the early Seventies. And of the work-a-day person in general.

The video (and current tv version) however...Whatever soulless bonehead was allowed to prepare this movie for video release should be thrown in a lake. The story line is still there. But apparently the plodding nature of the film prompted cutting and editing. Many scenes have been awkwardly shortened, re-mixed or completely removed. Hopefully an original copy still exists on the premium cable channels.
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one of my all time favs
snowboarderbo22 March 2003
i first saw this flick as a kid back in the late 70s, when i lived in Bergen County, NJ. my old man worked in manhattan, so i made plenty of trips to NYC, and this movie just perfectly captured the time & place. Good acting, great story, and some pointed social commentary kept it in my head until i was able to locate a copy on VHS back in the early 90s. If you like caper/crime/cop movies, this one will keep you interested, gasping, and laughing.
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An excellent piece of 70's film-making
bob_gilmore125 May 2006
Donold Westlake is a true American original. He wrote a number of great books on capers in the 70's including Bankjob and The Hot Rock. But his best screenplay is clearly Cops And Robbers which also benefits greatly from top notched performances and an effortless presentation of a tightly knit story. It is one of the few films from the period that has aged well and given the fact that it was never released during the VHS era (and rarely screened on television) it is a treat for those that missed it.

The DVD is nothing special (pan and scan without special features) but it captures the essence of the theatrical release and given the lack of close-ups it doesn't suffer a lot from being cropped. It captures the spirit of 70s morality without offending many. In summary, it remains a strangely uplifting "feel good" artifact of an era that generally feels more dated than the proceeding decade.
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Two likable characters and a great supporting cast ..........
merklekranz30 January 2014
The story is a simple one, two of New York's finest decide to get rich by robbing ten million in bearer bonds, and then fencing them through the mafia. I didn't laugh once during this supposed caper comedy. I did however enjoy the film, and especially liked the supporting cast. The late Dolph Sweet and J.P. Ryan are standouts. The photography is another plus, with long engaging shots of New York City. The robbery itself is well done, but the exchange of the goods with Ryan's men in Central Park stretches believability to the limit. The ending seems quite abrupt, and while happiness reigns, it is doubtful, they could get away with it so easily. - MERK
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Very good movie
joed166724 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Cliff Gorman and Joe Bologna play 2 cops but they can be just about anyone else in any profession. Just 2 guys trying to make a living and support their families in the craziness of New York City. Even though they are corrupt, you can't help but feel sorry for them because all they are trying to do is survive. We soon find out that everyone else is just as corrupt, from the grocery store manager who justifies walking out of the store each day with a sack of groceries as a "prerogative of my managerial position", to the executive and his secretary at a Wall St. securities firm padding the amount stolen so they can keep a little for themselves to the crooked mobsters who weren't going to let anyone keep the money in return for the stolen bonds.

This was just a nicely made, lighthearted movie with a good cast of actors and takes us back to the 70's. There's no sex scenes, no wild ridiculous explosions, no actors doing the physically impossible, no computer generated graphics, just a nice clean (and corrupt) movie. It's movies like this that Hollywood needs to go back and remember a time that you had quality, and not quantity with the garbage they are throwing into them today.

I would like to see this movie released in Blu Ray and with the scenes added that regular DVD version cut.
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Dig it, man! The crooked cops are the heroes... well, sort of.
Ddey6518 January 2017
One night a New York City cop on the beat (Joe Bologna) goes into a liquor store and holds it up just to see if he could get away with it, and he does. The next day while caught in a traffic jam at the Long Island Expressway/Cross Island Parkway interchange, he brags to his partner (Cliff Gorman) about it, and from that point on, it's all about the money for the two of them. All to the cool mellow '70's soundtrack by Michael LeGrande, Jacques Wilson and Candy Tate.

Using a cops standard salary, and the economy as an excuse to justify it, they decide that if they're going to end their crime spree, they should make a hit so big, they won't have to rob anyone anymore. But the question is who? And the answer comes in the form of a round-up of some mobsters from New Jersey lead by crime family boss Pasquale Aniello (John P. Ryan). After they make bail, the two cops decide to approach the boss under the guise of an offer to pull a job for them. As it turns out, the mob wants to get them to rob some bearer bonds from a financial firm on Wall Street during a parade for the Apollo 11 Astronauts, then make an exchange with the mobsters in Central Park. The firm they rob cooperates with them, but as it turns out, they're not entirely so squeaky clean either.

This movie was released in 1973, but was shot in 1972 and evidently takes place in 1969. This skewed time-line seems to be the biggest flaw on the movie, not to mention a 1972 Plymouth Fury NYPD Special suddenly becoming another car a couple of times. The familiar landscape to those of us from the New York Tri-State area especially during that era, makes it worth seeing. I actually remember catching the end of this on some weekend afternoon on WNEW Channel 5 during the scene where Joe Bolonga and Cliff Gorman are hassled by a bunch of bicyclists in Central Park and Joe throws a middle finger at them... UNCENSORED!! This was from back in the day when local TV stations existed and were willing to show obscure movies at odd hours. The movie has been on my mind from time to time ever since. I'm glad I got myself a copy.
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Fun and crafty 70's crime caper
Woodyanders5 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Disgruntled police officers Tom (the extremely affable Cliff Gorman) and Joe (the equally engaging Joseph Bologna) decide to steal ten million dollars worth of untraceable bonds in order to improve their lackluster lots in life. However, things don't go as smoothly as planned.

Director Aram Avakian keeps the enjoyable and engrossing story moving along at a brisk pace, makes fine use of gritty New York City locations, grounds the premise in a thoroughly plausible blue collar reality, stages several exciting action set pieces with flair and skill (a chase sequence in Central Park involving a bunch of angry bicyclists rates as a novel and thrilling highlight), and maintains a playfully audacious tone throughout. Donald E. Westlake's clever script slyly subverts crime cinema conventions by making the crooks a pair of highly likable and sympathetic average working class guys who the viewer can't help but identity with and subsequently root for to get away with their daring heist. Gorman and Bologna display a natural and convincing chemistry in the leads; they receive sturdy support from John P. Ryan as formidable mob fence Patsy O'Neill, Richard Ward as hard-nosed flatfoot Paul Jones, Sheppard Strudwick as shady businessman Mr. Eastpoole, Ellen Holly as nervous secretary Mrs. Wells, Dolph Sweet as the hearty George, and Joe Spinell as intimidating enforcer Marty. Both David L. Quaid's sharp cinematography and Michael Legrand's tuneful score are up to speed. A racy treat.
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