Serpico is a 1973 American biopic directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. It's based on Peter Maas' biography of NYPD officer Frank Serpico, who went undercover to expose corruption in the force. The film and its principals were nominated for numerous awards, and together with Scarecrow, which was released the same year, it marked the big breakthrough for Al Pacino. The film was also a commercial success.
A fucking masterpiece.
Once upon a time Al Pacino was the greatest actor alive, and his work throughout the 1970s was a masterclass in acting. The same cannot be said today unfortunately, but at least we have his classics to fall back on. Filmed in between The Godfather Parts I and II, yet not nearly as well known, Serpico documents the true story of one ideological New York police officer putting his life on the line in order to expose the high level corruption within the NYPD. Despite being a man of moral upstanding, Frank Serpico’s hippie lifestyle makes him a target within his own ranks - his colleagues seeing him as a threat to their macho superiority image. As he begins to…
The film begins at a blistering pace and, despite unconventionally revealing the conclusion within the first moments, it remains entirely engrossing throughout. After a brisk start, the pace slows to a comfortable steadiness typical of the director and commonplace for a biographical film.
The narrative, adapted from non-fiction, focuses on the life of Frank Serpico and his illustrious career as an NYPD officer. Salt’s ellipsis-structured screenplay omits plenty of history, leaving only the truly interesting sequences of Serpico’s life. The ellipsis is so apparent that the film is almost episodic in approach and depicts various aspects of the thoroughly interesting character, from the dangers of his work as an undercover cop on the streets of New York to his lavish…
Sidney Lumet's compelling David vs. Goliath story, concerning a scrupulous cop pitted against overwhelming corruption within the New York police force, is one rendered more disquieting by the fact that it's all based on a true account. A needle to the balloon of idealism, disenchanting (as if any sound-minded adult would ever think otherwise) the utopian image of a law enforcement exclusively serving society's best interests.
Already in the opening, Lumet subtly establishes an emotional bridge between ourselves and the title character, emphasizing the life-threatening reality of being a man of steadfast principle in a world where bribery, misconduct and abuse of criminal suspects leans to rule, rather than exception.
Pure of virtue and compassionate in character, Al Pacino is…
I've not seen as many Sidney Lumet films as I'd like, given that 12 Angry Men is one of my all time favourite films and that I really enjoyed Network and Dog Day Afternoon, but his biopic of 60's New York cop Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) who stood up to the corruption within the police force is undoubtedly one of his finest achievements. I'd be surprised if he made too many better films than this.
Also, can any other actor match this sustained quality of films during Al Pacino's run in the 70s: The Godfather (72), Serpico (73), The Godfather: Part II (74) and Dog Day Afternoon (75). (He also did a film called Scarecrow with Gene Hackman, but I've…
The story of Frank Serpico who became the first police officer to report and testify against corruption within the NYPD. Serpico is played well by Al Pacino, and the story is both exciting and very sad (because the police should have been doing their job honestly) as we see Serpico put his life in danger as he tries to do the right thing.
What spoilt the film for me was the backing music - it was nominated for both a Grammy award and a BAFTA award, but I found it intrusive and annoying, turning a 'good' film into an 'ok' film.
Solid thriller that delves into the corruption plaguing police departments. Al Pacino looked ridiculous but pulled it off well. I didn't find it as gripping as Dog Day Afternoon that I watched a day before, but it was still pretty good.
In a weird re-imagining of Pinocchio Al Pacino's facial hair grows a half inch every time he's offered money.
Everyone in this movie looks like they could actually be a cop (or a high school basketball ref), always better to not have all the extras and supporting actors look like they own personal gyms (Michael Bay/Ridley Scott/USA Network).
And a reminder that Pacino used to be great, although he still shouts a lot.
Another great performance by Al Pacino!
An entertaining and very well acted film from the brilliant director Sidney Lumet.
A solid drama with a marvelous performance from Al Pacino. The film's pacing is a bit off, and both of Serpico's love interests are wholly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but the story itself is quite compelling. So much of the film falls onto Pacino's shoulders, and he does an excellent job carrying the movie with a charismatic but complex performance.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Someone recommended this one long back to me mentioning crime and corrpution in New York in 70s was hell and this portrays it well plus it's based on true story ... it met my expectations totally, has a solid (true) story matched with exemplary performance from Al Pacino.