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Fort Apache the Bronx (1981)

In New York, South Bronx's main police precinct is nicknamed Fort Apache by its employees who feel like troopers surrounded by hostiles in a wild west isolated outpost.

Director:

Daniel Petrie

Writers:

Heywood Gould, Thomas Mulhearn (suggested by the experiences of) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... Murphy
Edward Asner ... Connolly
Ken Wahl ... Corelli
Danny Aiello ... Morgan
Rachel Ticotin ... Isabella
Pam Grier ... Charlotte
Kathleen Beller ... Theresa
Tito Goya Tito Goya ... Jumper / Detective
Miguel Pinero Miguel Pinero ... Hernando
Jaime Tirelli ... Jose
Lance Guecia Lance Guecia ... Track Star (as Lance William Guecia)
Rony Clanton Rony Clanton ... Pimp (as Ronnie Clanton)
Clifford David ... Dacey
Sully Boyar Sully Boyar ... Dugan
Michael Higgins ... Heffernan
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Storyline

From the sight of a police officer this movie depicts the life in New York's infamous South Bronx. In the center is "Fort Apache", as the officers call their police station, which really seems like an outpost in enemy's country. The story follows officer Murphy, who seems to be a tuff cynic, but in truth he's a moralist with a sense for justice. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

15 minutes from Manhattan there's a place where even the cops fear to tread. [UK Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bronx See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$29,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$65,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The experiences of real life former NYPD Detectives Thomas Mulhearn and Pete Tessitore served as inspiration for the original screenplay by Heywood Gould. It is reported that Paul Newman spent some time with Mr. Mulhearn, getting into character for Officer Murphy. Thomas and Pete, along with other ex-cops helped add to the authenticity of the experiences documented in "Fort Apache the Bronx". See more »

Goofs

In the last scene, you can see the (non-extra) locals being held back in the background to give the illusion of a deserted area. See more »

Quotes

Murphy: That's just talk, Andy, and you know it. We both know what's right. We ain't got the guts to do it.
Corelli: Guts? What are you talkin', guts? You mean brains, don't ya? Shit, I'll go through fire with you Murph, and you know I will. But I gotta live with these guys. You turn a cop in, and you're finished. Might as well quit the force and move out of the city. Even if you get a transfer, your rep follows you around. It just ain't worth it. Especially when you won't be doing anybody any good. I ain't a ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

NBC edited 29 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Side
Written by David Lasley (uncredited) and Allee Willis (uncredited)
Performed by Crystal Gayle
Courtesy of CBS Records
(P) 1979 CBS Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Blue Wall Of License
26 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

When Paul Newman says about one of the cops in Fort Apache The Bronx that 'he thinks I'm a liberal' he means liberal for the NYPD. I doubt if Paul Newman would have ever voted for Murphy the irreverent uniformed police officer if he ran for public office.

Still Newman has got some real issues to deal with assigned to the infamous Fort Apache or as it is known officially in the film and in real life the 41 Precinct of the South Bronx. That neighborhood came into the public consciousness during a trip through it by President Jimmy Carter in his administration. The lawlessness of the South Bronx area became well known as well.

Newman's been there and seen it all, he's even been a detective for a while, but his irreverent attitude got some guy with juice all bent out of shape with him and calls were made. He takes the neighborhood for what it is, his fellow officers for what they are, and people in general. It's really the right way to live. He respects the blue wall of silence about ratting out his fellow officers for infractions, minor and some major.

The blue wall of silence however isn't a license to murder and when to of his fellow officers throw a young Latino man off an apartment roof during a riot, that's where it has to stop. Still it's not easy to snitch on any fellow officer for any reason.

A big part of the problem is caused by the simultaneous murder of two uniformed officers at the same of an arrival of a new captain in the 41 played by Ed Asner. Asner's one hardnosed by the book type of cop who causes more problems than he cures. It's during a riot that his policies spark that the murder of the young man occurs. A key scene in the film is with Asner and Sully Boyar the captain he's replacing. Reminds me very much of when Humphrey Bogart took over the Caine from Tom Tully.

Newman and Ken Wahl have a nice easy chemistry as the older and younger cops in the squad cars. Their scenes are little more earthy than what you might see on Dragnet or Adam-12, still they make for good viewing. Wahl's a decent young kid as well, sadly mindful of what snitching on fellow officers could do to his career and he's not as far along as Newman towards that pension.

One major flaw of the film is that it doesn't show any of the decent citizens in the area. The bad guys and the rioters are all you see in the area. Even the one somewhat decent character, a Puerto Rican nurse played by Rachel Ticotin who gets involved with Newman, has a heroin habit. The film was rightly criticized by Hispanic groups, something that probably the very liberal Mr. Newman was taken aback with.

A more balanced portrayal of the citizenry of the South Bronx could have made this film a classic.


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