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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
1,589 ( 2,667)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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A New York City film director, working on his latest movie in Los Angeles, begins to reflect the actions in his movie and real-life, especially when he begins an affair with the lead actress.

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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

Much of the movie was filmed guerrilla style. Like many indie-minded directors of low-budget films, Abel Ferrara didn't bother with permits most of the time. "We weren't permitted on any of this stuff", Editor Anthony Redman admitted. "We just walked on and started shooting." For the scene where a strung-out Lieutenant walks through a nightclub, they sent Harvey Keitel through an actual, functioning club during peak operating hours. See more »

Goofs

When LT is getting the $30,000 from the drug dealer, he sits down and watches TV. The audio from the game show on can be heard repeating itself. Towards the end of the scene it repeats, suggesting it was a limited clip, on a loop. See more »

Quotes

Nurse: Can I help you?
The Lieutenant: Yeah, I'm in charge of the investigation. I'm just checking security.
Nurse: Security?
The Lieutenant: Yeah. You wouldn't want those guys coming back, huh? For the nun? Or for you?
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was passed uncut in the UK in 2003. The previous releases suffered from the following cuts: Rape of the nun: cut: scene where nun's pants are removed revealing pubic hair. Injecting heroin: cut: close-up of Zoe Lund's arm as she injects herself. Injecting heroin: cut: Keitel drinking as he watches Zoe. Injecting heroin: cut: another shot of Zoe's arm with the needle in it. Injecting heroin: cut: close up of Zoe's face. Injecting heroin: cut: Zoe drawing liquid from spoon. (still present in the trailer!) Injecting heroin: 31s replaced by crude dissolve: Zoe injects Keitel. Led Zepplin threatened legal action against a track sounding slightly like "Kashmir". The offending song has been removed from 4 points in the video. Street drug dealing just before Keitel arrives to buy crack: now no music at all. Nun's rape originally to backing track "signifying rapper": now church organ music. Long tracking shot following Keitel into the hospital: now no music at all. End credits: now have Abel Ferrara himself singing. See more »


Soundtracks

PLEDGING MY LOVE
Written by Don D. Robey (as Robey) / Fats Washington (as Washington)
(P) 1954 Music Corporation of America, Inc.
Performed by Johnny Ace
Used by permission of MCA Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant -- and not just a clever title
16 September 2009 | by trymyproduct11See all my reviews

Harvey Keitel gives the performance of a lifetime in a brilliant, unflinchingly gritty street ballad that holds up next to Scorcese's greatest moments. A depressingly underrated character study, Bad Lieutenant is truly Abel Ferrara's masterpiece, and a high point in independent cinema of the 90's.

Harvey Keitel plays a New York cop who, to put it bluntly, is a pretty awful person. Throughout the film, we watch as he goes from situation to situation exploring the depths of depravity and corruption. Ferrara keeps it voyeuristic -- Keitel is often shot from a distance, and he is presented without judgment. This matter-of-fact approach to his character is what makes this film so believable, so real. Keitel is portrayed not as a monster, but as what he is -- a human. As easy as it is to hate him (and boy, is it easy), it is just as easy to forgive him -- a point which is highlighted by the religious themes and Catholic imagery throughout. And ultimately, it really is a film more concerned with forgiveness and redemption than power and corruption. All of the evils perpetrated by our protagonist build over the course of 90 minutes and lead to a final act of humanity. He is not necessarily vindicated, but he is most certainly human.

It's not a feel-good film, and it's unpleasantness is not always easy to endure, but Bad Lieutenant is a powerful, rewarding film experience. One of the absolute best of its kind. 9 out of 10.


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