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Serpico (15)


★★★★✭ "Al Pacino is at his intense best in this classic 70s corrupt-cop thriller." ~ The Guardian.

The stunning 4K restoration of a New Hollywood classic from director Sidney Lumet gets a 50th anniversary cinema run.

The true story about a cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the police force sees a young Al Pacino deliver a ferocious and career changing performance in an engrossing, immediate depiction of 1971 New York.

Its original release in 1973, marked an early example in the cycle of American films – such as The Parallax View (1974), The Conversation (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975) – that explored the corruption and paranoia that seemed to be increasingly invading all aspects of society at the time.

Based on Peter Maas’ book, Serpico explores the real-life experiences of a new recruit to the NYPD, Frank Serpico, who realises that the whole institution is built upon various levels of corruption and quickly finds out how far those involved will go to protect themselves.

The focus on corruption within institutions supposedly there to protect and serve the public offered formerly blacklisted screenwriter Waldo Salt (an Oscar winner for Midnight Cowboy, also screening in this strand) another opportunity to examine the failures he saw at the core of American society.

Both Salt and additional screenwriter Norman Wexler were nominated for an Academy Award for their work on the film. Director Sidney Lumet, brought onto the project after original director John G. Avildsen was removed, and star Al Pacino create a believable, claustrophobic world where corruption seems to be everywhere and nobody can be trusted. 

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