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Dog Day Afternoon [HD DVD]

Al Pacino , John Cazale , Sidney Lumet    R (Restricted)   HD DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a Blu-ray player or a PS3.

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A gripping true crime yarn, a juicy slice of overheated New York atmosphere, and a splendid showcase for its young actors, Dog Day Afternoon is a minor classic of the 1970s. The opening montage of New York street life (set to Elton John's lazy "Amoreena") establishes the oppressive mood of a scorching afternoon in the city with such immediacy that you can almost smell the garbage baking in the sun and the water from the hydrants evaporating from the sizzling pavement. Al Pacino plays Sonny, who, along with his rather slow-witted accomplice Sal (John Cazale, familiar as Pacino's Godfather brother Fredo), holds hostages after a botched a bank robbery. Sonny finds himself transformed into a rebel celebrity when his standoff with police (including lead negotiator Charles Durning) is covered live on local television. The movie doesn't appear to be about anything in particular, but it really conveys the feel of wild and unpredictable events unfolding before your eyes, and the whole picture is so convincing and involving that you're glued to the screen. An Oscar winner for original screenplay, Dog Day Afternoon was also nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor (Chris Sarandon, as a surprise figure from Sonny's past), editing, and director (Sidney Lumet of Serpico, Prince of the City, The Verdict, and Running on Empty). --Jim Emerson

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Well-done, tense drama of a botched bank robbery in Brooklyn in which two misfits commit one absurd blunder after another and turn a criminal act into a three-ring circus, what with the police, crowds and the media swarming upon the bank to observe the comedy of errors.
Al Pacino is superb as Sonny who wants the money to finance a sex-change operation for his transsexual lover (well done by Chris Sarandon). Aiding and abetting Sonny is half-wit Sal (John Cazale in a solid characterization) who chooses Wyoming as a foreign country destination for a safe haven. Charles Durning scores as Detective Moretti who spars with Sonny throughout the afternoon and arranges "safe" passage for him and Sal to JFK and their would-be flight to freedom. There are snippets of dialogue from the 1956 feature film, "The Lone Ranger", that is heard in the background during the hostage standoff inside the bank. Ironic because the Ranger's law-and-order message falls on deaf criminal ears during the commission of the felony.
Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominated direction is sharp throughout. Based on actual events, "Dog Day Afternoon" is another great winner from the 1970s, Hollywood's second Golden Age. 5 stars out of 5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boiling Point June 15 2003
Format:DVD
Dog Day Afternoon is another classic film of the 70's, that thanks to a strong cast, and the sure handed direction of Sidney Lumet, still holds up quite well. Even by today's standards of having eye candy over substance, can not deminish the film's intensity.
Sonny Vorshak (Al Pacino) and his friend Sal (John Cazale)are in need of some money. After exhausting all of their options, the two men decide to rob a New York City bank,in broad daylight, on a hot Summer afternoon. When the bandit's plan goes a bit haywire, they are forced to hold hostages, and engage in a standoff with the police. Detective Eugene Moretti (Charles Durning)is put in charge of the situation and must find a way to end the seige. The task is made more difficult as Sonny soon becomes something of a hero to the city.
Lumet captures the mood and tension of a city on edge, with the some fine filmmaking skill, and a gritty realism that marked many films made during 70's. Like his classic film, 12 Angry Men, Lumet makes good use out of limited sets and locations Once again Pacino proves why he is such a great actor. He is not just an actor playing a role, he Is Sonny Vorshak, no ifs ands or buts about it. The rest of the cast is tops as well. The fact that the movie is based on a real life incident is only icing on the cake
Dog Day Afternoon is a five star film that deserves to be a better DVD. I hope that a special edition version will find its way to a release date soon. For now, the current disc features only a few production notes,in the way of extras. The film can be viewed in either the widescreen or fullscreen formats
Recommended until the special edition DVD comes along
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Lumet Masterpiece Jan. 19 2003
Format:DVD
No one who is an appreciator of fine acting should ever pass on a Sidney Lumet film. Never known for his cinematographic innovations, it is practically a truism that Lumet managed to draw out life-best performances from the many good and great actors he's had working for him. I've never done the math, but I'd almost bet that he sports more best lead and supporting Oscars than any other director in the history of film. His formula, if you can call it that, is turning up the heat on his characters to unbelievable pressure, but refusing to let them boil over.
In Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny, a very humanly desperate bank robber, experiences what has to be the most exasperating run of bad luck in the history of bank robberies. Not only is he saddled with a klutz for a partner (also played and written with heart-torquing humanity), but they have to take hostages, there's no money in the bank, a fire starts in a garbage can, sheer chance causes a shopper across the street to notice something strange in the bank so the police are called. Bad enough so far, especially on a swelteringly unbearable day. Eventually the police arrive, who are in turn surrounded by a mob of people who are more supportive of the bank robbers than the police (this is, after all, 1972). The bank robbers even begin to befriend their hostages, until finally Sonny's secret lover shows up to tell the gathered media how Sonny was robbing the bank to pay to get him a sex change. Sonny is baffled, the police are baffled ... only the mob seems sure of anything on this improbably crazy day in New York. And what makes the movie most unbearably sad and funny at the same time is that it's all based on true events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a forerunner of reality TV Dec 2 2002
By momazon
Format:VHS Tape
This film is based on a true story and stars a young Al Pacino as a bank robber who leads a heist in Brooklyn on August 22, 1972. He holds 9 people hostage as he makes his demands to the 250 policemen and FBI agents gathered outside. Also gathered outside are crowds of people and the news media, making them the hottest thing on TV. Sonny even has fans who chant his name every time he appears at the door to make negotiations for his escape.
Most notable of Sonny's lack of experience in crime is when he orders pizza for his hostages via the FBI, then thinks he has to pay for it. He gets some marked $5 bills for this. The pizza guy is cheered as he delivers to Sonny, then waves to the crowd and yells "I'm a star!" because this routine duty was broadcast live.
There is also some Stockholm syndrome going on as Sonny's hostages start to like him.
As the movie plays out, we learn why Sonny wanted to rob the bank so badly, and it is truly unexpected, especially for 1972. In addition, I appreciate that Sonny's wife is played by a compentent actress who knows how to deliver her lines, and she is overweight and harried, not a supermodel in denim overalls which is how they would cast her today. She is believable and adds to the gritty feel of the whole dog day afternoon.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sometimes Overlooked Pacino Classic
Best actor doing some of his best acting. The quality of the DVD is superb, I don't know why others complained. Audio blared ATTICA and sound mix sounded fine
Published on Aug. 17 2012 by Jesse
5.0 out of 5 stars Never attempt a robbery with someone who thinks Wyoming is a country
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Crime, Drama, 125 minutes
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale and Charles Durning

Al Pacino is one of the... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2012 by Steven Aldersley
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE!
This has got to be one of the greatest films ever. The story, the plot, the acting is just amazing. Al Pacino is an original in this film. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by J. Worth
3.0 out of 5 stars +1/2
"Dog Day Afternoon" is the true story of Sonny and Sal, two first-time bank robbers whose failed hold-up suddenly becomes a massive media event and hostage situation. Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by Gordon Ehrensing
4.0 out of 5 stars Exhausted
Al Pacino plays a bisexual bank robber in love with a man who needs a sex change. Al is in his twenties for this film, at the beginning of his career, around his first Godfather... Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by R. A Rubin
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film--Lousy Transfer
As usual, another major studio has done a lazy job of transferring to dvd with "less-than-optimum" elements. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by Kris C. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Dog Day Afternoon
Great movie, one of Pacino's best, bye it now
Published on June 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible movie
Al Pacino is just outstanding in Dog Day Afternoon. He expresses so many different emotions in this movie, which allows us to see how talented he really is. Read more
Published on March 19 2004 by Michelle C.
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is so good!
This movie rocks! You should definitely buy it!
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by Jeffrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacino is great as usual
Al Pacino gave his strongest performance as Sonny,a crazy
bank robber who failed in his robbery operation along with
his dump partner Sal [played by the late great... Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2003
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