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Bad Lieutenant (1992)

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While investigating a young nun's rape, a corrupt New York City police detective, with a serious drug and gambling addiction, tries to change his ways and find forgiveness and redemption.

Director:

Abel Ferrara

Writers:

Zoë Lund (as Zoe Lund), Abel Ferrara
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Popularity
3,486 ( 472)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harvey Keitel ... LT
Brian McElroy Brian McElroy ... LT's Son (#1)
Frank Acciarito Frank Acciarito ... LT's Son (#2) (as Frankie Acciarito)
Peggy Gormley ... LT's Wife
Stella Keitel ... LT's Daughter
Dana Dee Dana Dee ... LT's Baby Girl
Victor Argo ... Beat Cop
Paul Calderon ... Cop #1 (as Paul Calderone)
Leonard L. Thomas ... Cop #2 (as Leonard Thomas)
Anthony Ruggiero Anthony Ruggiero ... Lite
Vincent Laresca ... JC
Robin Burrows Robin Burrows ... Ariane
Victoria Bastel ... Bowtay
G. Elvis Phillips G. Elvis Phillips ... Young Cop
Stephen Chen Stephen Chen ... Korean Store Owner
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Storyline

A police Lieutenant goes about his daily tasks of investigating homicides, but is more interested in pursuing his vices. He has accumulated a massive debt betting on baseball, and he keeps doubling to try to recover. His bookies are beginning to get agitated. The Lieutenant does copious amounts of drugs, cavorts with prostitutes, and uses his status to take advantage of teenage girls. While investigating a nun's rape, he begins to reflect on his lifestyle. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for sexual violence, strong sexual situations & dialogue, graphic drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

17 December 1992 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Lieutenant See more »

Filming Locations:

1911 Hone Ave Bronx NY 10461 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,454, 22 November 1992, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,000,022

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,527,895
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bad Lt. Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The organ music playing during the scene depicting the rape of the nun, amongst others, was added at a later date.The score playing during the scene was originally supposed to be the rap track "Signifying Rapper" by Schooly D (featuring a famous Led Zeppelin guitar rift). However, due to legal disputes over copyrights, the other music was substituted, and all references to Schooly D were omitted. The version with the Schooly D music was, I believe, played during the Channel 4 forbidden season. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the scene where LT is shooting heroin with the redhead, you can see the shadow of a crew member slip into the shot in the lower-right part of the screen. See more »

Quotes

The Lieutenant: Leave it to the Catholic Church. Girls get raped every day, and now we're putting up 50 Gs just 'cause these girls wear fuckin' penguin suits.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical version was released with an NC-17 rating. However, there is an R-rated video version which omits a great deal of critical plot structure. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #33.64 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

SIGNIFYING RAPPER
(uncredited)
Written by Schooly-D (as Jesse Bonds Weaver, Jr.)
Performed by Schooly-D (as Schoolly D)
Courtesy of Jive Records / Zomba
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Intense, subtle, and in some ways unique- Bad Lieutenant is the sleeper of 1992
23 November 2003 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Abel Ferrara has on his hands a small masterwork of one man's existence in the doldrums, and he has such a way of dealing with "the streets" as a perpetually gritty, hellish world in a movie that I didn't disbelieve it for a second. In a sense he can be compared to the likes of Scorsese, however he certainly works in a different frame of honesty in mind in depicting his lead character and those he encounters.

At the core of this extremely well made, unconventional film is the best performance Harvey Keitel delivered in the nineties, a bravado piece of work in which he bares all of the qualities that can make up the badness in the lieutenant. The Lieutenant spends little time with his kids, and when he does is hardly happy, and when he leaves them he goes into the underworld to do coke, crack and heroin, gulps down alcohol like Evian, and tries to cling onto whatever dignity he has left in betting on the Mets in the championship series.

When a startling case occurs - a nun is raped by two street kids - the lieutenant is on the scene, however fogged in his muck, and can't understand how somebody, even a nun, can forgive such a crime. This leads into the third act of the film, and this is where the work propels itself into a higher ground, mature, spiritual, and ultimately fascinating in every aspect. Overall, Bad Lieutenant is a lean, un-abashed first-person singular in a rather sophisticated delivery. We are delivered a character, like Alex in Clockwork Orange for example, who is not even a half-way decent person.

But just by the way Ferrara and Keitel bring us into his world, and the details of his existence, a viewer can start to understand that the film works on other levels besides those of a conventional "all around bad-cop" story.


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