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Serpico (Paramount 1973, Al Pacino, John Randolph)

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Based on a true story, Sidney Lumet’s film stars Oscar-nominated Al Pacino as the eponymous New York cop who, as he progresses from uniform to plains clothes work, discover that the level of corruption rises accordingly, from free meals to backhanders from crooks. Pressured to join his venal colleagues, he rebels but even his superiors are indifferent to the problem. Compelled to expose the dishonesty, he finds his life at risk (in fact, the film opens with him shot and being rushed to hospital with his story told in flashback).

Established by his roles in Panic in Needle Park and The Godfather , Pacino was hot Hollywood property and Lumet pulled from him one of his finest performances, showing both the honest cop tortured by his colleagues’ corruption and the man away from the job, with supportive friends. He is surrounded by a solid cast, including Jack Kehoe as a graft-taker extraordinaire, Charles White as the crooked police commissioner and Ed Grover as one of his crucial allies but the film belongs to Pacino, from rookie idealist to disillusioned cynic.

A TV series was made a few years later.

production details
USA | Paramount – Artists Entertainment – Complex – Dino de Laurentiis | 129 minutes | 1973

Writers: Waldo Salt, Norman Wexler from Peter Maas’ book
Cinematography: Arthur J. Ornitz
Music: Mikis Theodorakis
Producer: Martin Bregman
Director: Sidney Lumet

cast
Al Pacino as Officer Frank Serpico
John Randolph Jones as Chief Sidney Green
Jack Kehoe as Tom Keough
Cornelia Sharpe as Leslie Lane
James Tolkan as Steiger
M. Emmet Walsh as Gallagher
Tony Roberts as Bob Blair
Allan Rich as D. A. Tauber
F. Murray Abraham as Detective Partner
Damien Leake as Joey
Alan North as Brown
Ted Beniades as Sarno
Kenneth McMillan as Charlie
Tony Lo Bianco as Cop
Sam Coppola as Cop
Val Bisoglio as Weapons Storage Officer
Hank Garrett as Malone
John Medici as Pasquale
Barbara Eda-Young as Laurie
Joseph Bova as Potts
Gene Gross as Captain Tolkin
John Stewart as Waterman
Woodie King Jr. as Larry
Edward Grover as Lombardo
Norman Ornellas as Rubello
Albert Henderson as Peluce
Ed Crowley as Barto
Bernard Barrow as Palmer
Sal Carollo as Mr. Serpico
Mildred Clinton as Mrs. Serpico
Nathan George as Smith
Gus Fleming as Dr. Metz
Richard Foronjy as Corsaro
Lewis J. Stadlen as Berman
John McQuade as Kellogg
John Lehne as Gilbert
George Ede as Daley
P.J. Benjamin as Man
Don Billett as Detective Threatening Serpico
John Brandon as Police Lieutenant
James Bulleit as Det. Styles
Roy Cheverie as Cop
Marjorie Eliot as Rape Victim
René Enríquez as Cervantes Teacher
Conard Fowkes as Cop – Narcotics Raid
Frank Gio as Police Lieutenant
Trent Gough as Cop
Paul E. Guskin as Police Academy Classmate
Nick Hardin as Television Cameraman
Richard Kuss as Detective
George Loros as Det. Glover
Stephen Pearlman as Desk Sergeant
Tim Pelt as Black Hood
William Pelt as Black Hood
Franklin Scott as Black Prisoner
Tom Signorelli as Bookmaker
Ben Slack as Detective Sitting At Desk
Jaime Sánchez as Cop
Tracey Walter as Street Urchin
Mary Louise Weller as Sally – Girl at Party
Judd Hirsch as Cop
Biff McGuire as Capt. Insp. McClain
Jay Rasumny as Television Cameraman