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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
2 wins & 4 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 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:

Teniente corrupto 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

According to Abel Ferrara, the film was originally supposed to be funny. "It was always, in my mind, a comedy", Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over, as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The Lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing." See more »

Goofs

When the Lieutenant stops the Jersey girls he is talking to them through the open driver's side window. When the camera angle changes it is clear the window is rolled up. 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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

WE DID IT BEFORE, WE'LL DO IT AGAIN
Written by Cliff Friend (as C. Friend) and Charles Tobias
Published by Warner Bros. Inc & Tobias
Performed by Peter Yellen & Greg Hollister
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 MisterWhiplashSee 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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