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Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

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A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Frank Pierson (screenplay), P.F. Kluge (based upon a magazine article by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,840 ( 135)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penelope Allen ... Sylvia
Sully Boyar Sully Boyar ... Mulvaney
John Cazale ... Sal
Beulah Garrick Beulah Garrick ... Margaret
Carol Kane ... Jenny
Sandra Kazan Sandra Kazan ... Deborah
Marcia Jean Kurtz ... Miriam
Amy Levitt ... Maria
John Marriott ... Howard
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Edna
Al Pacino ... Sonny
Gary Springer ... Stevie
James Broderick ... Sheldon
Charles Durning ... Moretti
Carmine Foresta Carmine Foresta ... Carmine
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Storyline

Based upon a real-life story that happened in the early seventies in which the Chase Manhattan Bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn, was held siege by a bank robber determined to steal enough money for his male lover to undergo a sex change operation. On a hot summer afternoon, the First Savings Bank of Brooklyn is held up by Sonny and Sal, two down-and-out characters. Although the bank manager and female tellers agree not to interfere with the robbery, Sonny finds that there's actually nothing much to steal, as most of the cash has been picked up for the day. Sonny then gets an unexpected phone call from Police Captain Moretti, who tells him the place is surrounded by the city's entire police force. Having few options under the circumstances, Sonny nervously bargains with Moretti, demanding safe escort to the airport and a plane out of the country in return for the bank employees' safety. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nobody could dream him up. His incredible bank robbery is all the more bizarre...because it's true. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarde de perros See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$50,000,000, 31 December 1977
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1975)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During production, Al Pacino reportedly only slept a couple hours a night, ate sparingly, and would sometimes take cold showers; this was in order to emphasize Sonny's disheveled, exhausted and yet wired appearance. See more »

Goofs

New York State license plates of the time were orange on blue, not blue on yellow. See more »

Quotes

Sonny: You! Manager! Fucker! Don't get any ideas, you hear?
Sheldon: Believe me, I'm on your side on this one!
Sonny: Yeah, my side, shit!
Sylvia: Look, there are young ladies, here. You could watch your language, you know!
Sonny: I speak what I feel. "Watch my language". Empty the drawer out!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: What you are about to see is true - It happened in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972. See more »

Alternate Versions

Recent DVD release replaces the old Warner Bros. logo at the beginning with the newer WB/AOL logo. See more »


Soundtracks

Easy Livin'
(uncredited)
Written by Ken Hensley
Performed by Uriah Heep
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
D Day for Pacino
25 February 2004 | by MovieAddict2016See all my reviews

By the time Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon" came around he had already learned to let Al Pacino loose. Forget the holdbacks of "Serpico"; here we get a glimpse into the real Al, the actor who would bring Tony Montana to life in the years to come and the same man who provided Michael Corleone with such heartfelt warmth that was lacking in some of his lesser characters.

There's essentially the Al Pacino as an actor and the Al Pacino as a character, and here he's the character, and it works splendidly. Al Pacino the actor comes into play when he is given a recycled script and a talentless director, which has been happening a lot lately, although fortunately his comparison, De Niro, has been lucky enough to generally avoid these blunders of older-age film-making.

This is based on a true story, like "Serpico," only it's better and more involving. It connects with the audience more than "Serpico" because it doesn't jump through the same old hoops; it goes for the long trek and comes off better than it would have had the team behind it been lazy. The clichés are gone and the originality creeps in early on. Watch Pacino indulge himself in character and let the plot sink in. It's more touching than it seems at first.

Pacino is Sonny Wortzik, a Brooklyn man who takes a bank hostage in order to pay for his "wife's" operation. The wife is actually Leon Shermer (Chris Sarandon who was Oscar-nominated for this, his first role in a mainstream film), Sonny's gay lover who doesn't have the money for a sex operation.

The bank robbery was going to be what one of classic cinema's greatest bad guys once described as a quick "in and out," but Sonny gets held up inside the bank and soon he's all over the news and police are standing outside the building with guns drawn. It's like Denzel's movie only better and more original. Oh, and true. This one actually happened and we can tell.

Sonny's partner in crime, Sal (John Cazale), is worried that he'll be treated as a homosexual by the media outside. His fretting is comic relief and one of the connections between the film and the audience. Charles Durning is the frustrated cop handling the situation. His performance is as subtly convincing as Cavale's.

Pacino's performance is exceedingly excellent, manic and energetic. He'd display this same talent in "Scarface" again eight years later; only he would be bashed by the critics for going over-the-top. (Although they really just had problems with the excessive profanity and violence, just like Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" will soon become a well-known classic and people will laugh when they hear that someone once called it the most violent film ever made.)

There's also one of the best scenes of all time in this movie that rivals Montana's Last Stand in "Scarface" or the Baptism Scene in "The Godfather," which involves Sonny speaking on the phone to his "wife," carefully concealing his motive from any listeners nearby. Watch Pacino delve into character here and you're immediately hooked. We like his character because he seems real and Pacino makes him real, and that's why this will go down as one of the best tour de force performances of all time.

Is this Hollywood trying to ease our culture onto homosexuality and sex change operations? Is Hollywood trying to gradually introduce us to gay characters in the hope that the uptight American families will be increasingly invaded by the images of gay men? No. This is Hollywood showing us a true story, regardless of the homosexuality. Pacino could be playing a frustrated postal worker and it would still work because it all settles down to the fact that the suspense and dramatics of the movie affect us, not the background of its characters.

Sarandon's Oscar nomination was more than worthy; here he displays the smarmy talent that would shine through in his characters in the years to come. Prince Humperdink from "The Princess Bride" is equally memorable but less realistic. Here he seems more real, which is good for this film and would have been quite bad for "Bride." We don't like real characters in fantasy tales, do we?

Lumet, who ruined "Serpico" with his bad editing, out-of-place music, clichéd dialogue/events and unnecessary scenes, directs "Dog Day Afternoon" with style and flair and good pacing and a surprisingly heartfelt sense of emotion and care. This isn't exactly a good example of a perfect motion picture but it's pretty close.


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