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The First Deadly Sin (1980)

A police inspector, nearing retirement, tracks a serial killer who is terrorizing New York.


Brian G. Hutton


Mann Rubin (screenplay), Lawrence Sanders (novel)
4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Sinatra ... Edward Delaney
Faye Dunaway ... Barbara Delaney
David Dukes ... Daniel Blank
George Coe ... Dr. Bernardi
Brenda Vaccaro ... Monica Gilbert
Martin Gabel ... Christopher Langley
Anthony Zerbe ... Captain Broughton
James Whitmore ... Dr. Sanford Ferguson
Joe Spinell ... Charles Lipsky
Anna Navarro ... Sunny Jordeen
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Sergeant Fernandez Correlli
John Devaney John Devaney ... John Rogers
Robert Weil ... Sol Appel
Hugh Hurd Hugh Hurd ... Ben Johnson
Jon DeVries Jon DeVries ... Calvin Sawtell


A serial killer is stalking New York. Inspector Edward X. Delaney is an NYPD detective, nearing retirement, who is trying to put together the pieces of the case. Are the victims somehow linked? What does the brutal method of death signify? Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's searching for a killer. She's searching for a miracle .... And time is running out.


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Third and final project of Frank Sinatra's production company "Artanis Productions Inc." which had previously produced Sinatra's None But the Brave (1965) and Contract on Cherry Street (1977). See more »


Even though the murder was committed prior to DNA evidence was in use, it is totally inaccurate that gloves would not be worn when a murder victim is being first examined as was the case at the beginning of the movie. The detective and medical examiner both would have been wearing gloves so as not to compromise any evidence. See more »


Dr. Bernardi: [Delaney's arrived at the hospital where his wife has been operated on] Sergeant Delaney, they got ahold of you.
Edward Delaney: Yeah, they said it was some kind of an emergency. What happened?
Dr. Bernardi: Well, several hours ago Barbara began running a high fever, and experiencing severe pain in the lumbar region. She was going into shock, so we thought it best to operate. We, uh, had to remove one of her kidneys.
Edward Delaney: [confused] Removed? What?
Dr. Bernardi: It was very badly infected. Diseased. Rotted. We had no other choice.
Edward Delaney: "Diseased"? With *...
See more »


Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Music by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Played by the Salvation Army Band outside the hardware store
See more »

User Reviews

Final hurrah for Frank.
20 July 2001 | by jrs-8See all my reviews

"The First Deadly Sin" will be remembered as the last starring role for Frank Sinatra. It's a good performance in a decent (but should have been better) film.

Frank plays a New York homicide detective investigating a series of murders. This main story is a good one. It is involving and creepy. David Dukes turns in a terrific performance as the killer. The problem comes in the sub-plot with Faye Dunaway as Frank's dying wife. Every 10 or 15 minutes the film comes to a screeching halt so Frank can visit Faye in the hospital. Faye must have been desperate to work with Frank since she literally spends the entire film in a hospital bed. It's a needless distraction to the main plot.

Still the film is worth watching. Frank is at his gritty best as his whole world falls apart in front of his eyes. The film also does one other good thing. It erased the possibility that the awful "Dirty Dingus Magee" would be his last starring role.

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Release Date:

3 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The First Deadly Sin See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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