Cop Land (1997) Poster


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Stallone's Finest performance
CharltonBoy7 December 2001
Copland is one of those film that gets better and better the more you watch it. The story is gripping and the acting in straight from the top drawer and top of the performances is from Sylvester Stallone. Not normally known for his acting ability, Stallone pulls out his finest performance .To say he is the best in this film is a massive compliment considering the company he performed with in Copland. Robert De niro , Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta all put in memorable displays , of which you would expect but Stallone still stands out. He plays the sheriff of a sleapy town called Garrison who's occupants are all members of the New York police Department.Because of an accident while saving someones life he is unable to pass the medical to get in the NYPD therefore as a sheriff he is not respected amongst the population of the town.He learns that an influential group of cops are crooked and are planning to kill to save their own necks. Totally Gripping. 8 out of 10.
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Finally, a role that shows Stallone's true talent
Predator-1128 May 2001
Many people see Silvester Stallone as just another action movie hero who can't do anything but that. However, unlike other action movie stars, (Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Seigal etc..) Stallone made his breakthrough with a movie that wasn't really an action movie at heart. He gave forth an excellent performance in Rocky and set a standard for himself that just seemed to fall and fall as his career progressed. He starred in cheesy action movie role after cheesy action movie role until finally people began associating him with nothing but that. Now finally, over twenty years after Rocky, Stallone comes back and shows people that he can be more than an action hero if he wants to. Stallone's performance in Cop Land shows vulnerability, anger, admiration, fear and many other emotions that were rarely present in any of his movie except Rocky. I'm sorry to say that I was one of the many people who took Cop Land for granted when it came to theaters simply because I didn't believe Stallone could do anything but cheesy action movies. Today, I finally rented it out of pure curiosity and was shocked at how far I was from the truth.

Cop Land is a very well made film about a small town that corrupt New York City cops have made their haven. Stallone plays the sheriff of the town, Freddy Heflin, who wanted to be NYPD but couldn't due to a hearing disorder. When Murray 'Superboy' Babitch (Michael Rapaport) shoots and kills two drugged up teenagers when he mistakes a steering wheel club for a gun in a high speed chase, his friends come in to help him. But their far-fetched plan starts to come down on them when Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) from Internal Affairs begins investigating Superboy's alleged suicide. Things begin to go seriously wrong from here and Freddy is caught right in the middle. I thought that Stallone would have been upstaged by all his great co-stars like Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro, but I was wrong. Stallone comes out perfectly as an aging cop with smashed dreams faced with a moral dilemma he doesn't know how to solve. In many ways he idolizes these big time New York cops but he knows that many of the things they do are wrong. In many ways Stallone's performance is far superior to that of his co-stars as he exhibits more depth and character development than any of them.

Cop Land is a somewhat unknown gem that many people overlooked for the wrong reasons. If you have any interest in the genre I would highly recommend it. Cop Land is probably the second best police murder/crime drama I've seen, only behind L.A. Confidential. At times the story has something to be desired and unlike L.A. Confidential is drags in some parts but the fantastic performances by every cast member more than make up for these minor flaws. I give Cop Land 8 stars out of 10.
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My God! Stallone can act!
fiozinho5 January 2000
Sylvester Stallone is excellent in this slow-moving, absorbing film about cops on the take. Sly goes through what must be one of the longest slow-burns in movie history as the dumb, passive sheriff who only has his job thanks to the grace of crooked cop Harvey Keitel and protects him and his gang because of it. When it finally dawns on him, as it was inevitable it would, that he's been played for a fool, the results are explosive. It's well written, with a strong storyline, great dialogue and excellent performances all round (especially from Robert de Niro, Keitel and Ray Liotta). But it stands or falls on Stallone's portrayal of the central character, and he rises surprisingly majestically to the occasion. A very restrained, sensitive performance in a cracking good film.
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Stallone's comeback not for the ignorants
atzimo20 April 2001
I know that everyboby's laughing about a movie that Stallone's starring in. His name is an easy target even to the most ignorant ones; they immediately put him under the 'action movie' label, like Arnold or Jean-Claude. What people forget (or don't know) about is that Stallone differs from all those action movie actors, in that he turned into this icon we all know by making a series of (really) bad choices. Do you know that Sly's the one who wrote the script of the Oscar winning Rocky? Do you know that because his face is half paralyzed (from birth) he speaks in that weird way that some people find difficult to understand what he's saying (and always joke about it)? Do you know that he was paid only $60.000 for his acting in Cop Land, while he had to gain 30 pounds for his role?

To me Cop land is the kind of movie Stallone should have made after First Blood. The director knows what Sly's really capable of so he gives him this role of the cop that is so fair and just, but inside him a burning past lives on. He's a hero and because of that he's lost half of his hearing to save the woman he loves, but she went on to marry another man. He can't be promoted because of his hearing, and while he wants to stay integral, he has to face the deeds of his fellow police officers.

The movie showcases the struggle of a man to overcome his past, the temptation of corruption and the triumph of one's will to remain true to what he believes in. The final sequence is similar to the one's of The Unforgiven or Taxi Driver and it provides a hymn to the human spirit. Stallone's perfomance is unforgettable and he should be nominated for an academy award. Do you think that it's an accident that his performance overshadows De Niro's and Keitel's appearences?

I believe that if Stallone did a movie like that right after his first 2 triumphs he could be leading a career similar to the one of De Niro's. But unfortunately, to all of us Sly's only capable of throwing hand grenades. Right Leonard Maltin?
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A better film than many reviewers originally thought
Wakanohana27 November 1999
I saw this file when it first came out and enjoyed it on a fairly superficial level. Now, after I've seen it again, I think it is a much better film. Not quite great, but excellent on many levels. Another reviewer has commented that Stallone's character is like in the first Rocky film, before all the Rambo BS. I agree. I think this is a showcase for great actors in an above-average script, with excellent directing. This is not a Stallone film, other actors could play this part, but he plays it to a T. Keitel is fantastic, as usual, De Niro and Liotta are okay. The subplot between Stallone and Sciorra, Freddy who once saved Liz from drowning when he was a kid, but he lost his hearing in one ear as a result and could never join the NYPD -- that's a powerful subplot that could have been more fully explored, but only at the expense of the main plot. All in all, a much better film than reviewers thought when it first came out, IMO.
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I gave you a chance to be a cop and you blew it.
hitchcockthelegend15 August 2010
Cop Land is written and directed by James Mangold with an ensemble cast featuring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, and Michael Rapaport. Distributed by Miramax Films it features a musical score by Howard Shore.

Freddy Heflin (Stallone) is the sheriff of Garrison, New Jersey. A small satellite town across the river from the Big Apple where many of the big city cops reside. Freddy always wanted to be a big city cop but due to partial deafness was unable to make the grade. But when a hero white cop shoots dead two black youths it sets off a series of events that make Freddy realise that the big city cops in Garrison aren't as honest as he is. Thus Freddy must decide if he should get involved.

It was heralded as the film to break Stallone on to the A list of serious actors, and the film where a fine ensemble had gathered and worked for a basic scale wage-such was their faith in the material. Yet in spite of making a considerable profit at the box office and receiving generally favourable reviews, Cop Land seemed to vanish without trace before it could make its mark in the cop/drama genre. A lot of that can probably be put down to the sheer weight of expectation, considering the cast involved, for something out of the top draw. However, revisiting the film now, over ten years post its release, Mangold's movie shows itself to be the tight and intelligent picture it is.

From the off it's evident that there's very little good about the town of Garrison. The coppers drink and drive, cheat on their partners and the sheriff looks like an out of work, overweight slob. Mangold clearly is more about the bleak than the beautiful. As the narrative and characterisations move forward, a multitude of strands start to dangle on the screen-where it at first appears a bit too chocked-but ultimately unfolds with ease as the story progresses. Here's where Cop Land excels, it could so easily have just been another good cop/bad cop movie, one where the doofus partially afflicted guy saves the day. But Cop Land is more intimate in detail of its characters, intimacy that is boosted by a pretty flawless cast (notably Stallone & Liotta). There's healthy helpings of action and drama, but it's the dialogue driven confrontations that entertain the most; where we get the pleasure of watching acting heavyweights battle for supremacy.

With a slow burn sense of doom hanging over it from the off, Cop Land very much feels like a throwback to the adult westerns and film noirs from the 1950s. There's nothing wrong with that of course, in fact it's a compliment. But this deserves its own little niche, that of the contemporary crime thriller with urban western overtones. A damn fine film with a great thoughtful script, that is acted accordingly and directed without flab and pointless filler. 8/10
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Stallone Was Robbed!
sanosito28 June 2005
I just saw Cop Land for the first time this evening. I watched the "Exclusive Director's Cut" DVD.

This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. Sylvester Stallone, who I've never thought was much of an actor, gives the performance of his career - a performance that deserved the Academy Award for Best Actor. Incredible. I owe the great Stallone a big apology for not seeing his gift of acting before now.

Everyone in this film, including Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Janeane Garofalo, and Ray Liotta, gave stellar performances as well. I guess paying all the actors just scale brought the best out of everyone. Why this modern day "High Noon" doesn't have a higher rating from the IMDb voters like me is way beyond my comprehension. Cop Land deserves, at least, inclusion in the Top 250 films. Perhaps this cut that I just saw is much better than the original theatrical release.
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not a bad turn for Stallone
rdoyle2911 September 2003
Mangold's second film, the corruption drama "Cop Land" stars Sylvester Stallone as Freddy Heflin, the much-denigrated sheriff of tiny Garrison, New Jersey, a community which - thanks to a technicality - is populated almost entirely by members of the New York City Police Department.

When young cop Murray "Superboy" Babitch (Michael Rapaport) becomes embroiled in a controversial shootout which leaves two black youths dead, he apparently commits suicide rather than face the wrath of an official investigation. In reality, however, he flees to safety back home in Garrison. In the wake of the controversial events, NYPD Internal Affairs lieutenant Moe Tilden (Robert DeNiro) arrives in Garrison to uncover the truth. He attempts to enlist Freddy to watch the watchmen, including Superboy's uncle, veteran cop Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel); coked-out Gary Figgis (Ray Liotta); and Joey Randone (Peter Berg), the husband of the woman (Annabella Sciorra) Freddy loved and lost. A rich, complex film about redemption, "Cop Land"'s portrayal of Freddy's struggles to prove his worth mirrors Stallone's own return to thoughtful, character-driven drama after years of vacuous action roles. Like Freddy, he faces an uphill battle, fighting for respectability in the face of a superb cast including Janeane Garofalo, Cathy Moriarty and Paul Calderon.
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Better than the other ones...
Guardia7 January 2005
This movie was always going to be interesting because it involves so many sides to the one story. There is an excellent balance established between all the factions involved in the case of a missing/dead police officer.

The characters for this sort of movie are very original, and their flaws are revealed just as much, if not more so than their strengths. This has to be Sylvester Stallone's career highlight, and goes to show that his talents are not necessarily best for action movies. And De Niro's understated but excellently played "Moe Tilden" leaves you wishing he was featured more. The scenes between these two characters are worth the viewing alone. Harvey Keitel as well, plays an excellent cop/quasi-crime boss.

It's a little soppy at times but overall a stand-out in it's genre.
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Nice movie with great actors
HunterDK3 January 2002
I didn't really know what to expect from "Cop Land".

You have some expectations when actors like Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel star in this movie - but could Stallone be the quiet Sheriff? The answer is yes, Stallone did well in this movie, he showed that he isn't just an action star, he is a great actor.

"Cop Land" had a nice story, but I think it had more potential. The movie could have lasted for 20-30 minutes more. It was a nice movie anyway, I will rate it 7/10.
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Sylvester Stallone presides a star-studded cast giving fabulous interpretations in this thrilling and interesting movie
ma-cortes27 February 2020
Overweight Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone in a rare character role) is the not-too-bright sheriff of Garrison, New Jersey, a small town that is home to a number of New York cops that many NYPD officers call home. He was barred from NYPD service because of his partial deaf in one ear. His little town is a satellite suburb for N.Y. policemen , the more crooked of whom render it rife with a sinister Mafia . But when an officer (Michael Rapaport) breaks the rules , being responsible for a violent incident involving two African-American civilians , Freddy leads his own investigation and uncovers a racially-charged conspiracy within the NYPD. As Freddy is now investigating on this case, then Internal Affairs officer (I.A.) Mo Tilden (Robert De Niro) is also on the issue and asks Freddy for help, but Freddy could not. No One Is Above The Law.

An exciting and moving film about police corruption , though hard to follow , at times , but thrilling enough for crime aficionados . Sly gives a good acting as a honest New Jersey sheriff who suffers deafness in one ear , he has divided loyalties when a criminal investigation could implicate his department and the cops he idolizes , as he finds out that some of his heroes may have feet of clay . Here Sylvester's Rocky of the cop world blissfully unware of most of the crime on his patch and after realising the New York's finest cops have become New Jersey into a twisted nest of corruption and badness , as he carries out an expeditive solution . Stallone wanted to play a ¨first-class actor¨ film back on his resume after his Rambos and Rockies and he made his ultimate sacrifice of his physical appearance for the character by gaining 38 pounds and letting his muscles go . An all-star-cast movie but curiously cheap-looking picture, it results to be a crossover of High Noon wake Western into the world of Goodfellas , including a dark police corruption in Film Noir style of the Forties . Main starring Stallone is excellently accompanied by a great cast such as : Ray Liotta as a good/bad policeman , Robert De Niro as an Internal Affairs agent , Peter Berg as an abusive cop , typecast Harvey Keitel who leads the corrupt bunch along with Robert Patrick , Michael Rapaport as an officer who causes a deadly accident , breaking the rules , being threatened with elimination by his senior colleagues , Janeane Garofalo as Deputy Cindy Betts , Annabella Sciorra as the mistreated wife Randone , Noah Emmerich as a Deputy Geisler , Cathy Moriarty , John Spencer , Frank Vincent , Malik Yoba , Arthur Nascarella , Edie Falco, Paul Calderon ,John Doman , Debbie Harry , Vincent Laresca, among others .

It contains a suspenseful and emotive musical score by Howard Shore. As well as an evocative and colorful cinematography by Eric Edwards . The motion picture was well written and directed by James Mangold who grew up in an upstate New York , providing a Western feel enhanced by a magnificent main and support cast , giving them a chance to do what they do best . While the film garnered decent reviews from critics, it didn't do well at the box office, making a few money during it's opening weekend , and dropping down five slots on it's second weekend. However , nowadays , it is considered a pretty good film and highly deemed . Writer/director James Mangold is a fine American film and television director, screenwriter and producer. Frequently provides strong lead female characters and regularly casts Dallas Roberts and usually his characters become unlikely couples . Mangold has directed 3 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Angelina Jolie in Girl , interrupted (1999), and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in walk the line (2005). Both Jolie and Witherspoon won Oscars for their performances in his films. Films he has directed include Girl, Interrupted (1999), Walk the line (2005), which he also co-wrote, the 2007 remake Train 3:10 to Yuma (2007), Wolverine (2013), and Logan (2017). Rating . 7/10 . Better than average . The picture will appeal to Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro fans .
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Well played, if unlikely thriller
bob the moo28 January 2002
Freddie Heflin is a sheriff in a New Jersey suburb mainly populated by NYPD cops seeking a break from the big city. Freddie lives in awe of the cops, unable to join due to deafness in one ear. However he is forced to confront Donlan and his colleagues when an IA officer Tilden begins to investigate the killing of two unarmed black men by, and subsequent suicide of Donlan's nephew Murray Babitch.

This `independent' thriller boast a deep cast and certainly had a lot to shout about in the run up to it's release. The problem is with the actual story that the film has to work with. The start is exciting with Babitch's killing of two black motorists but it is also quite stretched. Similarly the denouncement is exciting but is quite easy to see it coming. However the middle section is good, as it relies on the characters and the actors to develop the story - although there is probably too much history to squeeze into a short time.

Stallone proves that he can act, being excellent in a particularly unglamorous role, carrying extra weight for the part and looking like he took lessons from De Niro. The rest of the cast would find it hard to be bad - De Niro and Harvey Keitel rekindle their Scorsese partnership and both are good here. Liotta, Rapaport, Patrick and Sciorra are all excellent in smaller roles. Even small roles are played by heavyweights - Emmerich, Moriarty, Spencer, Vincent and Garofalo (who only seems to have 2 scenes!)

Overall the film benefits from a fantastic cast but needed a much stronger plot to justify the depth of the performances.
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Stallone's Best Performance Apart from Rocky and Rambo
adamkdavis13 June 2015
In 1976, esteemed film critic Roger Ebert said after having seen Rocky that Sylvester Stallone could become "the next Marlon Brando." To date, Rocky I remains Sylvester Stallone's best movie as an actor. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar and was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Unfortunately, Stallone did not become the next Brando. He remained successful mostly as an icon, known mostly for Rocky and Rambo. In addition, he acted rather well in most of those movies, except perhaps the disastrous Rocky V and Rambo III. Most other movies Stallone starred in sucked big time!! Which is what makes Cop Land such a valuable movie in Stallone's career. It's a wonder he wasn't nominated for an Oscar for this movie honestly. He proved once again he could act but not only that, he doesn't play the impassable unaffected hero of the movie. Stallone stripped himself of all of the monosyllabic machismo and actually broke down and acted in something that wasn't Rocky or Rambo and aside from those performances, Cop Land is Stallone's best movie apart from Rocky and Rambo. He breaks down and acts. He gained all of that weight in body fat (not muscle) and played a man coming to terms with a life full of missed opportunity and mishap, forced by mere conscience to take action, a very human hero and story. This is Stallone's "f you" to all of his haters and record winning razzies. He should have received an Oscar nomination for this movie. Great cast as well. By all accounts, most would praise Robert De Niro and even Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta as better actors than Stallone. Stallone held his own very well with these giants and showed himself to be an equal New York bred and street tough actor. Kudos to Mr. Stallone. I wish he had made more movies like this in his career and stepped out even more.
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A superb performance by Sly
movieman_kev15 June 2005
Slightly deaf soft spoken Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is a sheriff of the New Jersey town of Garrison, that transient New York cops also live in. He always wanted to be a cop and has a tad of envy for them, but because of his disability he could never pass the exam. Robert De Niro is Lt. Mo Tilden, an Internal Affairs investigator. His current investigation leads him to Heflin's small town. This was a pretty damn good cop drama. And it should have been the one that put Sly back on the map, as his performance here is golden, but it was not to be as he choose to follow this with such turkeys as "Driven", the horribly "Get Carter" remake, and the unfunny "Avenging Angelo", which is a shame as I really like the guy. Same with writer/director James Marigold, this film showed he had talent to spare, and as an adverse effect I found myself disappointed to all the films that he's made prior. It's a damn shame that this picture didn't even pick up an Oscar nomination as it's a more fully realized and better film than the same year's "L.A. Confidential"

My Grade: B+

DVD Extras: Commentary with director/writer James Mangold, producer Cathy Konrad, and actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert Patrick; 2 deleted scenes with optional commentary by the same people as the main commentary; "Shootout" storyboard sequence; "Cop Land: The Making of an Urban Western" featurette; and a compilation Trailer for Miramax

Eye Candy: A stripper is topless
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Stallone Gives Oscar-Worthy Performance.
furiousneon26 July 2003
Sylvester Stallone, Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Harvey Kietel star in this amazing movie which deals with the story of crooked cops. Stallone plays a Sheriff of a small New Jersey town where most of the NYPD lives. The cops are crooked and a set up goes bad, very bad. I dont want to give away too much of the movie because i saw it knowing nothing and absolutley loved it. The best thing about it to me was Stallones performance. He was just great. I think he really deserved an oscar for it. Everyone comes down on stallone for being just an action star, saying his only good acting performance comes from Rocky and Rambo..well if you all believe that just check this movie out, Stallone will really impress you. 10/10.
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The Good & Bad Of 'Cop Land'
ccthemovieman-111 February 2007
This star-studded cast was more impressive than the story, which is probably one reason this film wasn't a big box-office success. The names might draw people into the theater but it just wasn't a good enough story to attract more fans.

Only small-town sheriff "Freddy Heflin" played by Sylvester Stallone, is a good guy while the others, all New York City cops, are shown to be crooked. You can overdo the bad-guy thing, too, which Hollywood does and then probably doesn't understand why the movie isn't appealing to the masses. With Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra and others, this should have done better.

Having said all that, I go on record as saying I enjoyed the film, finding it intense in parts and it kept my interest. Could it and should it have been better? Yes. It's too hard-edged, profane and too sleazy. But if you like a tough crime film, here is one. I would watch it a second time.
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Oh My God..He Jumped!
sol12185 May 2005
***SPOILERS*** Leaving the Scores nightclub after a bachelor party for a fellow three seven precinct cop young Murrary "Superboy" Babitch, Michael Rapaport, gets in his car and drives to the George Washington Bridge on his way home to Garrison NJ.

As Babitch enters the bridge he's side-swiped by a car with two coke-heads that almost up-ends him. Moving along side the out-of-control car one of the occupants pull out what looks like a shotgun, it turned out to be a steering wheel club. As Babitch hits the breaks the car speeds away only to get blasted by Babitch from behind killing the two in the getaway car.

As the police and ambulance crews come on the scene they find that the two who Babitch shot dead were unarmed and that he may well be not only thrown out of the NYPD but have to serve time for homicide which cause Babitch to get very emotional. Before you know it he jumps to his death off the bridge, or did he? His body was never found.

Speeding through the town of Garrison the next day NYPD policemen Ray Dolan & Jack Rucker, Harvey Keitel & Robert Patrick, are stooped by the towns Sheriff Freddy Heflin and his deputy Cindy Betts, Sylvester Stallone and Janeane Garofalo. After Deputy Betts is given a lecture by the two cop on how she should be out looking to arrest criminals not giving tickets to fellow cops Freddy lets them leave without being ticketed. As the car drives away Freddy notices that the "dead" Babitch is in the back seat and that he's very much alive.

Police corruption and murder is the main theme of "Cop Land" with a cover up of a cop's suicide that unearths all the dirt that was swept under the rug in Garrison and in the 37th precinct over the last ten years. Financing the three seven precinct's cops houses in Garrison with low or no interest loans and the forgiving and forgetting about paying them off had the entire precinct working for the mob. Thus allowing the mob to push drugs and launder the drug money within it's, the three seven precinct, jurisdiction.

Not believing that Babitch is dead Interanal Affair let. Moe Tilden, Robert De Niro, starts to put the heat on the cops who are sticking to the story of Babtich sudden demise. Tildon starts to make some headway in the case which makes Donlan & Co. very nervous. They realize that they have to provide a body for the police investigation of Babitch's death to close the case. That body was to be that of Babitch himself!

Top notch police drama with Sylvester Stallone giving the best performance of his career as the sad-sack Freddy Heflin. Freddy because of an ear injury couldn't make the grade as a real cop and always looked up to the men of the three seven as his hero's. That's until he found out that they were anything but. With Babitch on the run after Dolan & Co. tried to murder him Freddy finds him hiding in a water tower with Figgys(Ray Liotta), another cop from Garrison, providing him with food and water. Friggy's also has it in for Dolan and his fellow corrupt cops for the murder of his partner Glenn Tunney three years ago.

Tunney was about to talk to a grand jury about police corruption and was mysteriously found murdered in his prison cell before he could testify. Figgsy correctly suspected it was Dolan who had Tunney done in. Freddy realizing that he has to talk to let. Tliden about what he knows but is told that the investigation was shut down by the mayor due to the pressure of the NYPD union. Which was ironic since the fact that it was Dolan, and his fellow cops, attempt to murder Babtich that made Freddy see the light! In the end Freddy had the whole bunch of dirty cops gunned down in a wild shoot-out. Freddy pull it all off with the help of Figgsy, in a "High Noon" like shootout on the, up until then, quite streets and crime-free and peaceful Garrison NJ. It turned out that if the criminal cops just waited another day or so they would have gotten away Scott-free with no one, like Sheriff Freddy Heflin, being motivated to uncover their criminal actions.

The movie "Cop Land" was a bit uneven and some of the plot-lines just didn't tie all the loose ends in the film together. The acting, especially that of Sylvester Stallone, more then made up for that and that's what makes "Cop Land" one of the best movie about police corruption ever made.
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If you think Stallone sucks, think again.
bldsimple26 November 2005
First off, hats off to James Mangold for assembling what had to be one of the finest casts of the 1990's. Second, another hat off to him for making the best Martin Scorsese film Scorsese never directed. Third, thanks for reuniting DeNiro and Keitel. They need to work more (together, that is).

But the real treasure of this film is Sylvester Stallone turning in the finest performance of his career (arguably) and the finest since the original Rocky (indisputable). If you have only seen Stallone in his pumped-up muscle fests of the 80's and early 90's, then you haven't seen the real Stallone. Copland allows Stallone to inhabit a character that completely unlike any other we have seen him do.

Freddie Heflin is the sheriff of a small town on the Jersey side of the Hudson River. He desperately wants to be NYPD but can't because he is deaf in one ear. The good news is, the entire town is populated with NYPD cops so the town has the lowest crime rate in the state. The bad news is someone got all those cops low-interest home loans through the mob in exchange for some favors. Freddie was given the position of sheriff because the locals think he's slow, stupid and will tow the line to keep his job. They are about to find out that they are wrong.

Stallone gained a lot of weight to become Freddie. He plays the role totally introverted, only speaking out toward the end when he is finally pushed in a corner. His clothes don't fit him. He walks awkwardly. He nods and smiles a lot. In short, Stallone melts into the character, leaving behind all the ego he has been accused of bringing to his parts. It's truly a revelation...and should have re-launched Stallone as a dramatic actor, possibly even a mini-DeNiro.

I'm not going to give away the whole story, but one of the best elements I have to mention here. The way Freddie lost is hearing is a tragic story. At the age of 18 he witnesses a car go off a bridge. He dives into the water to save the driver, a teenage girl. He rescues the girl, but loses his hearing in the process. The girl, whom he falls in love with, rejects him and marries another man, an NYPD cop. To this day, Freddie watches her from afar, always keeping an eye on her and hoping one day she'll come around to feel the same way for him as he does for her. It's a touching extra to a story of hard boiled men locked in a hardcore power struggle.

Lastly, I know a lot of people love Ray Liotta. At the time this came out I was not a fan. This, in my opinion, is Liotta's finest work. He utters one of the best quotes in cop movie history, "Being right isn't a bullet proof vest, Freddie."
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He coulda been a contender.
carbuff11 May 2015
I'm rating this so highly because Stallone finally made a movie I really liked watching (and I'm including all of the Rockies including the first one when I say this).

This film has really got to hurt Stallone when he rewatches it--he's gotta be thinking, "I coulda been an actor!" (as another reviewer alluded to). If for no other reason, you should watch this movie to see what Stallone's career might have been if he hadn't taken the path of least resistance and biggest bucks, as he went right back to doing after this critically-acclaimed film flamed-out in theaters.

I should also mention that the entire film is solid--tight plot and pretty much flawless acting all around, but we all know that we are really watching it to see how well Stallone stretches beyond Rambo-- surprisingly well as it turns out.
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Underrated to say the least
nomoons1110 July 2011
I can see this one with a little bit better ratings than it has. At least it deserves it imo. It was definitely worth its 2 hours of time.

To start off, Liotta and Stallone are the stars of this one....Hands down. Keitel and Deniro aren't in it enough to get high praise. Ray Liotta got all the lines and Stallone a dramatic role. To me Stallone has 3 films he can stand by when he gets done with acting...Rocky...Rambo...Cop Land. Why Cop Land? Well...cause it's easily his best dramatic role and it's in a darn good film. Not everyone was ready to see Stallone in a dramatic role but I think by this time his career was on fumes. I read somewhere where he said this film ruined his career for 8 years. Couldn't get any roles. I think at this time eh was pretty much washed up to film goers and this was a last gasp. To blame this film on his lack of roles, I think he should re-watch it and see that he did a good job.

Ray Liotta is one of those actors that's criminally overlooked. He's done so many good dramatic roles that I think that he just mixes in with what's out there now and you don't get to see him anymore. With anything worthwhile anyhow. His lines are the best in this film. His hyper personality and down on his luck persona in this one just flat out works.

Don't see this one just for the all star cast. See it for Liotta and Stallone's performances. They really are stellar in this little gem.
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Proof that Stallone can act
aistipetic13 October 2019
I only watched this film as I was told by the film critic, Mark Kermode, that it shows the Stallone can actually act. Stallone is brilliant throughout the film, and I was amazed by his performance. The moral of the story is that at some point you have to stand up for what you believe in, and you can't bury you head in the sand forever
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Stallone at his best
tigerleo-8567425 September 2019
I really enjoyed this movie: Stallone plays the part of an ordinary human - although a sheriff, so perhaps not 'ordinary' - very different from his usual super-human type roles.

I am not a film buff, however here Stallone reminded me of Brando - which might be sacrilegious to some - yet the under-played, base-humanistic rendering of the character 'Freddy Heflin' by Stallone reminded of Brando in Streetcar Named Desire...

Of course, I could be wrong and Stallone was never as good as Brando, however, Stallone proves he can act in this movie and I enjoyed it immensely for that fact.
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Give it 7 of 10, good story of some bad cops brought to justice.
TxMike26 August 2000
I suppose what I liked most about Cop Land was the role Sly Stallone played, as the half-competent town sheriff who was expected to look the other way when shady dealings involving the NYC cops who lived there came around. Turns out he is quite a good shot, although he can't hear worth a damned out of his right ear. Some shooting, much use of the F-word, but all-in-all a good story with a "feel-good" ending as the bad guys get what they deserve. Actors include Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Isabella Sciorra.

Saw the DVD version, fine picture, great sound, especially during the various crashes, good use of "surround" sound. Worth a look if you like intense cop films. 7 of 10.
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An avant grade role for Mr. Stallone
It is rare for people to step out of their comfort bubble. Even actors, for as successful as they are, they too suffer from breaking what they are comfortable at performing in. Here's a film that not every Stallone fan might see everyday - similarly to that of The Truman Show (1998) a year later with Jim Carrey. This particular role is so far in left field for Sylvester Stallone that it almost seems like the wrong choice. When in fact, it proves that Stallone by far can still back a punch even when he's not pulling a trigger every five minutes.

Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, the Sheriff of a small town in New Jersey called Garrison. All seems fine and well with the town and Freddy himself until an incident occurs on the George Washington bridge that connects the New York and New Jersey police departments. After the problems arise, Freddy is challenged on his thoughts and beliefs that he had never considered before. This is where things get interesting and dangerous simultaneously. As time goes on, Heflin begins to dig and as he digs, he discovers that everything is not as he thought.

The writing is something to behold here. Directed and written by James Mangold, the same man behind Walk the Line (2005), 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and most recently The Wolverine (2013), created a screenplay that not only defies the normal typecasts that most actors have, but also adds depth to the main character of Freddy Helfin. If it weren't for any of the background given to Stallone's character, the audience would have no idea about Heflin's past and why he acts the way he is in the movie. When it is revealed though, it's a heartfelt story that contains a lot of emotion. Even more interesting is how little Stallone uses a gun. Not only is Stallone overweight but he barely even raises his voice - which is rare. The character of Heflin is very self contained and covers it up well.

Also playing a role that is out his usual casting role is Ray Liotta. For anyone who's not familiar, Liotta frequently plays scumbags and creeps. A good example of this is from Unlawful Entry (1992) and a bad example is from Turbulence (1997). But what wasn't seen coming was Liotta playing not only a supporting character but also a tactical one. There is one scene where he explains to Stallone's character how he should take on convicted felons and the advice he gives is extremely noteworthy. Liotta, you should be doing this more often my friend. Along with him are Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, future director Peter Berg, Robert Patrick, Noah Emmerich from The Truman Show (1998) (how coincidental!), and just for laughs Mr. RoboCop 3 (1993) himself, Robert John Burke. All the actors, even the ones not mentioned do a fine job.

What also makes this movie a fish out of water role for Sylvester Stallone is how human the story makes him look. This isn't a movie where Stallone mows down villains with a rapid-fire gun without taking any hits. Stallone's character is flawed and limited, humanizing him for the entire running time. That's something serious. Adding to the realism of the story is the cinematography where most scenes take place in the suburbs or along the shore outside the city. Finally what helps complete this feeling is Howard Shore's score to the film. It isn't the strongest of film music but it does contain some very simple themes that help bring out the emotion of various scenes. Overall a very strong drama / thriller.

It's not your regular Stallone shoot 'em up and that's fine. The entire cast in the movie performs great. The music isn't complex but is well supported by a strong cast and character driven story.
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Coxer9920 April 1999
Stallone is impressive as a small town sheriff standing aside in the midst of police corruption, led by Keitel. DeNiro clocks in and out in a small cameo, needing more depth of character for us to care about him at all. The film is too short with an abrupt and violent ending. It's an okay film, but it needed more story and more added to it to be a keeper.
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