7.6/10
6,185
54 user 36 critic

Prince of the City (1981)

R | | Crime, Drama | 21 August 1981 (USA)
A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Jay Presson Allen (screenplay), Sidney Lumet (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Offence (1973)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A burned-out British police detective finally snaps while interrogating a suspected child molester.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A newly elected District Attorney finds himself in the middle of a police corruption investigation that may involve his father and his partner.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss, Lena Olin
Daniel (1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Daniel Isaacson attempts to determine the true complicity of his parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, who were executed for espionage in the 1950s.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Lindsay Crouse
The Verdict (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden
Deathtrap (1982)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Broadway playwright puts murder in his plan to take credit for a student's script.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon
The Hill (1965)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen
Q & A (1990)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young district attorney seeking to prove a case against a corrupt police detective encounters a former lover and her new protector, a crime boss who refuses to help him in this gritty ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Nick Nolte, Timothy Hutton, Armand Assante
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The eldest son of a fugitive family comes of age and wants to live a life of his own.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: River Phoenix, Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch
Certificate: GP Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After Duke Anderson is released from prison after ten years for taking the rap for a scion of a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honor with the mob to bankroll a caper.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A Jewish pawnbroker, victim of Nazi persecution, loses all faith in his fellow man until he realizes too late the tragedy of his actions.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A TV producer who is the mistress of her boss, tries to have him make their relationship more permanent, and begins a relationship with a younger man. When her boss hears of this, he tries ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Ali MacGraw, Alan King, Myrna Loy
Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A washed up, alcoholic actress who is prone to blackouts wakes up next to a murdered man. Did she kill him and, if not, is she in danger?

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Raul Julia
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Treat Williams ... Detective Daniel Ciello
Jerry Orbach ... Detective Gus Levy
Richard Foronjy ... Detective Joe Marinaro
Don Billett Don Billett ... Detective Bill Mayo
Kenny Marino Kenny Marino ... Dom Bando
Carmine Caridi ... Detective Gino Mascone
Tony Page ... Detective Raf Alvarez
Norman Parker ... Assistant U.S. Atty. Rick Cappalino
Paul Roebling Paul Roebling ... Assistant U.S. Atty. Brooks Paige
Bob Balaban ... Santimassino
James Tolkan ... Assistant U.S. Atty. George Polito
Steve Inwood Steve Inwood ... Assistant U.S. Atty. Mario Vincente
Lindsay Crouse ... Carla Ciello
Matthew Laurance ... Ronnie Ciello
Tony Turco Tony Turco ... Socks Ciello
Edit

Storyline

New York City cop Daniel Ciello is involved in some questionable police practices. He is approached by internal affairs and in exchange for him potentially being let off the hook, he is instructed to begin to expose the inner workings of police corruption. Danny agrees as long as he does not have to turn in his partners but he soon learns that he cannot trust anyone and he must decide whose side he is on and who is on his. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A cop is turning. Nobody's safe.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

21 August 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El príncipe de la ciudad See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$8,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,713, 23 August 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,124,257
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Brian De Palma and David Rabe had spent a year and a half developing the script for this Prince of the City with no production movement, De Palma and Rabe decided to put the development of the script indefinitely. David Rabe was hired by Universal Studios to to write Scarface and Brian De Palma was offered to direct, David Rabe and De Palma were excited to work together again. AL Pacino read the script and was unhappy with the script, Pacino told the producers and studio how unhappy he was and of course the studio would side with their movie star. So David Rabe quit and De Palma quit with him. De Palma and David Rabe went back and revived Prince of the City. Sidney Lumet took over Scarface as director with Oliver Stone as screenwriter and together spent a year developing the Scarface script together. Universal Studios and Lumet ultimately parted ways over creative difference. Lumet had read the script that De Palma and Rabe had wrote for Prince of the City, he expressed his interest in directing and the studio fired De Palma and Rabe and gave the film to Lumet, Lumet ultimately stole the film from De Palma and reaped the fruits of his labour. Lumet hired his own writer rewrote the script and made the film. The twist is Universal Studios came back to De Palma and asked him to direct Scarface again and De Palma reaped the fruits of Lumet labour! See more »

Goofs

Gino Mascone's wife's name is listed as Ann in the credits, but she is repeatedly referred to and addressed as Rose in the film. See more »

Quotes

Raf Alvarez: I don't know why you people don't understand the system. You want a conviction, but you've got these stupid search and seizure laws. And wiretaps. Case one never got made without an illegal wiretap. And you're never gonna get a conviction if a cop don't commit perjury. What is it that you want? You want the big dealer out of business? The only way I know to push him out of business is to steal his cash. Otherwise somewhere down the line, he's gonna buy out. He'll buy himself a bondsman. A DA. A...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film originally premiered on TV in a version broadcast over 4 hours (running no longer than 196 minutes), including previously unseen material which had been cut from the 167-minute theatrical release. Among the restored scenes is one that makes more sense of the DiBenadetto Case (the character Ciello's first rat-job). See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: By Sidney Lumet (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Will Keep Us Together
(uncredited)
Written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield
Performed by Captain & Tennille
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

accurate portrayal of use and behavior of informants
9 January 2002 | by silboscoSee all my reviews

I've been a defense lawyer in NYC for the past 35 yars. I have more than a passing familiarity with some of the actual trials and appeals generated by Ciello's (Treat Williams' character) testimony. More broadly, I can attest to the accuracy of the film's depiction of the agonies, doubts, remorse and dreads of the turncoat/informant-witness in criminal cases. No film has developed this theme - a very common one in federal criminal trials, but one never visible to the public - as thoroughly as this film. "Goodfellas" devoted a few minutes to this, but only to the witness protection aspect after Henry Hill decided to testify, and never developed the broader, morally ambiguos dimensions of becoming an informer who turns on former close associates.

Nor has any other film more accurately revealed the way government prosecutors deal with their informants, which is not always pretty; often prosecutors treat their informers in ways that paralell the way Ciello treated his junkie informers on the street - he supplied them with drugs when he needed them, but he also abused, ignored or took advantage of their vulnerabilities when the need suited him.

The film also displayed, though it did not emphasize, another aspect of the prosecutor/informant relationship: willful blindness to likely perjury. Here, when Ciello offers to cooperate, prosecutors sternly insist that he tell the whole truth, not just about the crimes committed by others but by Ciello himself. They want to be assured of this not only because legal ethics demand it, but because their cases can fall apart if the defense later uncovers and reveals nasty secrets about the informant to the trial jury to undermine the informant's credibility. Here, as in the actual case, Ciello insisted that he had committed "only three" crimes while a NYPD detective. While prosecutors sensed, but did not actually know, right from the start that this was highly unlikely, and that Ciello was in fact concealing both the number and severity of his past misdeeds, they preferred not to inquire too deeply, and did little independent investigation of Ciello's prior misconduct on the force ("willful blindness"). That came back to haunt them, because after the trials, the defense lawyers dug up many of Ciello's hitherto unrevealed criminal deeds, and severely damaged his credibility, almost fatally imperiling the convictions his testimony had been so helpful in procuring. This film portrays not only the moral dilemma of the informant, but the moral dilemma of prosecutors, who desperately need informants to build their cases, but who have mixed feelings about learning too much about their unsavory pasts.

By the way, the detective played by Jerry Orbach has been a private investigator for the past 20 years or so (though never convicted, he was discharged from the police force); I've hired him, and he is terrific!!


63 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed