A blend of personal favorites and films that I consider to be the "greatest." Top two-hundred is definitive. Only 1940-2015.
Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.
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.
Mr. White as a cop living on the mother fucking edge. Blow. Bo fuckin' Dietl. A smart bet. Baseball. A street pharmacist. Crack is whack. Naked dancing. Flaccid Harvey. A convenience store shakedown. A despicable-horrific-sad-face act of violence. Darryl fuckin' Strawberry. Stealing from the dead. Chicks in penguin suits. A nude nun. Jersey bad girls. A serious question. Extreme-chicken-chokin'. Fuck you cassette player! Holy communion. Yummy wafers! Sad confessions. Not giving a flyin' fuck who you snort coke in front of. Nightclub action. Playing dumb. Uncontrolable laughter. An empty threat. China fuckin' White. Real fuckin' justice. Holy fuckin' hallucinations. Some real good shit. The way Harvey says cocksucker. The bus. Checking out for good. Harvey fuckin' Keitel blows it out…
Bad Lieutenant is a crime drama that follows the story of a cop who, while investigating a nun's rape, tries to straighten out his life. Ferrara builds an excellent character study on an unlikeable man who leads a life of corruption (by abusing his authority as a lieutenant) and who finds himself cornered with his addictions (drug and gambling) that threaten to destroy his life.
Instead of trying to establish a real 'story', director Abel Ferrara insvests in a controversial study on a man who tries to find redemption after a life of corruption and bad choices, in a detailied examination of a man's nihilist life, a cop who abuses of his social position to lead a semi anarchist life.…
For some reason I've always remembered Bad Lieutenant as a 70s film. There's something about its detachment and struggles with morality that harks back to early Scorsese, especially with Harvey Keitel in the lead role. It becomes more than a mere homage to Mean Streets as Abel Ferrara mirrors Scorsese by weighing down Keitel's boots with Catholic guilt and having him commit a series of unforgivable sins.
The Lieutenant in question is more than a corrupt cop, he's a pervert, a drunk, and a drug addict. He's the sort of guy John Doe and Jigsaw would have a field day with as sin oozes from every pore of his body like thick black tar. His actions are not mere indulgences,…
Less a narrative than an examination of the depths of redemption, Bad Lieutenant takes an unlikable asshole and asks us how much we can take before we want him dead. Harvey Keitel's Lieutenant is a complete monster, a walking pharmacy cabinet, and, besides a strikingly inane suburban side-life, has nothing redeeming about him. We're treated to increasingly detestable episodes that showcase his brutality, hubris, and utter nihilism until there's seemingly no deeper he can sink.
The showcasing of his banal domestic life seems to be director Abel Ferrara's indication that most, if not all, of LT's woes are of his own causing. He mistakes self-destruction for pride. He thinks himself untouchable, even as he becomes more and more erratic. It…
This is one of Ferrara's greatest films, bar none. It's as much a remarkable character study as it is portrait of a city. Both suffering from a moral and spiritual crisis. Harvey Keitel has never been better. He plays a corrupt New York City police detective with a serious drug and gambling addiction who, while investigating a nun's rape, tries to change his ways. That alone won't be enough. He'll have both look inward and outward to find forgiveness. Ferrara knows this. Christian faith and symbolism are very important to the film. But Ferrara doesn't offer easy answers. Rightly so given how complex a character his protagonist truly is. The finest American film of the '80s.
Pretty sure I disliked this at the time, probably for the same reason I like it now: Nothing but downward spiral, plus one agonized act of forgiveness. The early, iconic scene in which Lt. Bad staggers around naked, his face a mask of pain, arguably does more harm than good—it's certainly arresting and memorable (so much so that it became the primary marketing image), but it overwhelms what's otherwise a remarkably flat, almost procedural portrait of ingrained vice. I liked Herzog's "remake," too, but try to imagine Nicolas Cage just zipping up his pants and silently walking back to his car after forcing those two girls to perform for him; that there isn't even a sardonic "You ladies drive…
Could use more dancing souls and lizards.
Cinema is filled with ‘bad’ protagonists, the kind of immoral anti-heroes that make the viewer question why they identify with or at least enjoying their corrupt exploits. Bad Lieutenant’s greatest fault lies within its protagonist who is irredeemable and not in any cinematically satisfying way and while there’s subversive enjoyment to be had from such a gritty tale there’s never enough content to justify his actions and so it skirts the line between exploitation and laziness. Harvey Keitel’s one of the only reasons to watch the movie, as his performance is a powerhouse, it’s just a shame it’s not surrounded with a more well rounded film.
Not sure which I enjoyed the least, this or the Nic Cage one. This has better scenes and Keitel is a million times the actor Cage ever will be.
That scene where he pulls the two girls over for a busted tail-light, is superb.
I am Woolf. I make problems.
Devedeset minutni tango Keitelovog kmečanja i samouništavanja. Može proći, ali realno Herzog > Ferrara.
This review is for the heavily censored R-rated version; which up until about 90 minutes ago I was unaware of it's existence.
Wow. What a difference a few minutes makes. This bad lieutenant doesn't seem nearly as bad as the one that I am familiar with. In fact, it just makes it seem like he has a substance abuse problem which leads to some impulse control issues. More like Tragic Lieutenant.
This is a completely different movie. I wonder if everyone that I have ever talked to who didn't care for this film watched the R-Rated version. That would certainly make sense, this version is terrible and it's rather incoherent.
At any rate, shame on you Cinemax for showing this compromised version. Usually that channel does right by films. Not so in this case.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The first scene of "Bad Lieutenant" shows Harvey Keitel driving his kids to school. He's screaming, cursing, exploding in anger about trivial things all the way through. Right after his kids get out of the car, he pulls of some cocaine and snorts it. That's the first shot we see a crucifix hanging on the rearview mirror.
The next crucifix that we see is the one Keitel wears around his neck, and at this particular moment he's pouring liquor down his throat. This is a guy torn between a strong religious upbringing and enough doses of real-world cruelty that've demolished his belief in the kindness of humanity and made him a junkie.
The relation between drugs and religion is clear.…
The downward spiral of the nameless Lieutenant. I didn't catch what has motivated the protagonist along this destructive path, it seems like a gambling debt. This film is stark, bleak, and at the same time captivating. It looks really good, and the acting feels real, the confession scene is a bit hammy, but overall good acting.
I don't know how often I will revisit this film. It wasn't terribly interesting as far as a narrative, I basically watched compelled to see how far his depravity would go, and how the film would resolve.
Entertaining, if somewhat empty.
Abel Ferrara's none more bleak follow up to King of New York is probably his best and features Harvey Keitel's best ever performance, a performance that really should go down with some of the greats.
The film is less concerned with storyline and more concerned with allowing Keitel to delve into the insanity of his performance; a police lieutenant addicted to drugs, booze, hookers and gambling while becoming involved in the investigation of the rape of a nun and dealing with his own Catholic guilt with the possibility of redemption on the other side.
It's a bleak watch, filled with disturbing scenes of drug use, rape and verbal rape, made somewhat bleaker with the real life story of co-writer Zoe Lund who appears as a drug addict and died from real life drug issues, but it is completely worth going through this uncomfortable experience to witness Keitel's performance of remarkable intensity and vulnerability.
This list is the Letterboxd version of The Oxford History of World Cinema.
The book celebrates and chronicles over one…
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.