The true story about an honest New York cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.
A fucking masterpiece.
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…
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…
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.
There was a time, way back when, when Serpico was my favourite film. I don't quite know how it happened. Barely interested in cinema at the time, what few things I watched were the 18-rated DVDs taken from my brother's collection (cos there's nothing more appealing to a youth), almost always horror. How did a melancholy drama about police corruption manage to stick out and demand a dozen rewatches? Maybe it's the fragility of Pacino's performance, the incredible physicality as his appearance constantly shifts, his character never able to settle into one comfortable identity. Maybe it's the power of Lumet's direction, the remarkable depths of darkness that fills the frame making visually manifest the pessimistic weariness of the narrative. Whatever it was, it had me—young and only passably interested in movies—utterly hooked. Now, older and infinitely more engaged in cinema than I was then, I love it all the more.
Recommended by someone who saw it when it came out, but I think it has dated a bit. Struck me as a bit one -dimensional. The main character is the hero, constantly thwarted by the system. Did not realise till the end that it was based on a true story. Would not recommend it myself.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Oh, man, there's something about 70s Pacino. Just so damn good. Like every little nuance seems perfect.
Sidney Lumet is just the master. I didn't enjoy Serpico as much as Dog Day Afternoon or the masterpiece 12 Angry Men, but it's still really good.
Good guys finish last. Uncorrupt cops get shot first.
"The reality is that we do not wash our own laundry - it just gets dirtier."
Pacino, De Niro, Hoffman etc. were screen 'GODS' of the seventies and once again Al Pacino shines this time as Frank Serpico in Sidney Lumet's study of police corruption. Pacino is fantastic in this as an honest good cop, who becomes a bit of a hippie, and tries to combat police corruption whilst dealing with mental and emotional strain. The cinematography is wonderful and captures 70's New York perfectly just like Taxi Driver did. The music and sound can seem quite intrusive and strange at times but for the most part works well with Serpico's mental state and helps drive the narrative. Lumet and Pacino's partnership is one of cinemas finest whilst being severely under-appreciated to audiences I feel. Whilst I feel Dog Day Afternoon is the better film this is still a prime example of seventies cinema. Overall, a fantastic good cop versus the bad cops story with a brilliant performance from Pacino and great direction from Lumet.
Based on a true story, Al Pacino stars as a honest cop in New York City battling against police corruption. Pacino's performance as Frank Serpico is very powerful, earning him an Oscar nomination, and you really feel his frustration and anger and desperation at the situation he finds himself in. An intelligent script is well handled by director Sidney Lumet, dealing with Serpico's mental and emotional state while maintaining a gripping plot. The music is unusual but adds further emotional depth to the film, particularly during scenes of Serpico trying to enjoy normal relationships and life while under intense pressure. One of Pacino's better films.
A decent classis
Is this pretty much the prototype for every "Bad cops shit on the good cops" movies? The free meals, the going above and beyond, the beating suspects with a phone book...
First time viewing, and like watching any classic that's been riffed on for 30 plus years, it can be a bit difficult to distant oneself from the parody/riff and the real thing.
That being said, this is pretty good.
Pachino looks so dirty and sweaty and young and kind of scuzzy. I would not trust that guy. And his voice is so annoying! It's interesting how cultured/educated/modern he is. Doesn't care that he comes off as queer or weird to the other cops. That's different. He motherfucking looks like…
In this cop drama acting, editing and directing are superb. Pacino steals the whole show while playing against well rounded three-dimensional characters.
The subject matter wasn't the most interesting one but very well told.
Serpico is one prime example for Pacinos method acting. He *is* Frank Serpico when he gives his new puppy some water, when he's angry and even when he nearly falls off a chair. He never breaks out of the role but incorporates everything into his performance.
You have to watch this movie just for Pacinos performance.
I usually love Sidney Lumet, but this one just struggled to float my boat.
Partially melodramatic in it's writing and music, yet gritty and minimalistic through it's acting and camerawork. The film just didn't get me invested in what was going on, it was just lacking in something to bring the two elements together and really sell me the film.
But regardless, mostly everything is stellar, Pacino is obviously great along with all the side players, the direction is solid although lacking in Lumet's typical conviction and craftsmanship. And it succeeded in making me respect the real life risks and dedication Freddy Serpico went though as a honest cop. But if you're looking for somewhere to start with Lumet, make it Dog Day Afternoon or Network.