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Dog Day Afternoon (Special Edition) back to product details

"I'm a fuck up and an outcast!"
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written by Lastcrackerjack April 14, 2006 - 6:31 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is routinely cited as one of the key films of the '70s. Its breathlessness and documentary neo-realism have made it standard viewing for any filmmaker or scenarist recreating a bank robbery or hostage crisis.

Pacino delivers what is the greatest performance of his film career. Michael Corleone in "The Godfather Part II" and Tony Montana in "Scarface" are up there, but bringing the high strung, running, jumping, screaming, sweating, bleary eyed Sonny Wojtowicz to screen caused Pacino to collapse from exhaustion halfway through filming. The experience was so draining that he appeared in only two more movies before the end of the decade.

Sidney Lumet is uncanny in his ability to bring this frenzy to screen. The oddballs caught up in the hostage crisis pale when compared with how the NYPD, the news media and the public overreact to it. Dede Allen deserves a large part of the credit for her masterful work editing all these streams together, but I also appreciated the way Frank Pierson's script wove in social unrest to the cops and robbers proceedings.

There is Pacino's iconic fist waving "Attica! Attica!" exaltation to the mob and a great scene where Sonny badgers a TV newsman on the phone who asks why Sonny doesn't surrender. "You ever been to prison? Then talk about something you fuckin know about!"

The film comprises twelve sequences and while faithfully documenting that day in Brooklyn, would not make my list of twenty greatest films of the decade. It's a work of stoic professionalism and was a crown jewel for Lumet, Pierson and Pacino, but I don't think it quite belongs in the same conversation as "Harold and Maude", "The Godfather", "The Godfather Part II", "Network", "Taxi Driver", "Manhattan", etc.

12345678910

(Average 8.24)
67 Votes
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