62 user 42 critic

Prince of the City (1981)

R | | Crime, Drama | 26 August 1981 (USA)
2:53 | Clip
A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption, and soon realises he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.


Sidney Lumet


Jay Presson Allen (screenplay), Sidney Lumet (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





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


NYPD officer, Daniel Ciello's involved in some questionable police practices. He's approached by IAB, and in exchange for him potentially being let off he's instructed to begin looking at the inner workings of police corruption. Danny agrees as long as he doesn't have to turn on his partners but he soon learns he cannot trust anyone. He must decide whose side he's on and who's on his. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A cop is turning. Nobody's safe.


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Sidney Lumet said that he did not want to take a directorial stance about whether or not the leading character was a hero or a villain. He wanted to leave that question for the audience to decide for themselves. See more »


During the Blomberg appeal, the judge calls Detective Ciello "Lieutenant Ciello". See more »


Mr. Kanter: Gentlemen, I am gonna tear this town apart. And I'm gonna start with the French Connection ripoff. And the reason I'm gonna start with the French Connection ripoff is because it's a goddamn outrage, and I have already promised myself that it's going to be solved. So what you are gonna do gentlemen, is you're gonna make my word good. The target is cops, the weapon is indictments. And I don't give one infinitesimal fuck if they are indictments that will stick or not. Because to a cop any ...
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 »


References All the President's Men (1976) See more »


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

User Reviews

terrible Treat Williams – mediocre, dragging script – below average 2h40 cop movie
20 June 2011 | by me-justamanSee all my reviews

this "cop-rats on cops" story was probably meant to impress in 1976. But it didn't age well. We are left with the clichés, a dragging, heavy script that is plain factual, and terrible acting.

Treat Williams is ridiculous. He over-acts like those actors from the mute cinema era. but more than that, literally CRY like a child, his face full of tears, every over scene in a movie that last 2h40!!

Result: He is very annoying, and you end up feeling embarrassed that this guy can get lead roles. 10 minutes into the movie, you can't stand him anymore and wish you never see him act ever again.

The direction of Sydney Lumet is clean and professional as usual. But the script is so full of clichés, so heavy and demonstrative! Nothing gets to you: the characters, the story, the whole movie drags endlessly. It has absolutely no invention, no craftiness. It is plain flat.

A below average cop movie that wants to be big, 2h40 minutes of plain "cop rats on cops story". No twists in the plot. Mediocre dialog. Bad actors... And Treat Williams cries and makes "hurt" faces as to tell you : look, something is happening!

Not even nice vintage shots of the New York of the time. Avoid it.

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English | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

26 August 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prince of the City See more »


Box Office


$8,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,713, 23 August 1981

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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