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Fort Apache, The Bronx (Widescreen)

Paul Newman , Edward Asner , Daniel Petrie    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Paul Newman stars in this harsh portrait of a police station in a crumbling neighborhood. Newman plays John Murphy, a veteran policeman who's been on the force long enough to be tired, but not so long that he's lost his idealism. The plot is loosely tied to the arrival of Connolly, the new precinct captain (Edward Asner). Is he a crusader who's going to finally whip a corrupt, apathetic force into shape, or an interloping by-the-book bureaucrat who can't possibly understand the neighborhood and will do more harm than good? The movie is gratifyingly ambiguous on this point and many others. While Newman's character is almost by default the hero, he is far from perfect--most all the major characters get complex personalities, just like real people. The Bronx itself is given complex, thoughtful treatment as well, full of both overwhelming problems and hope for the future. Fort Apache, the Bronx also has action sequences, but doesn't make the mistake of reveling in violence. Here, black and white are far less defined and, consequently, far more satisfying. --Ali Davis

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Fort Apache, the Bronx

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obscure Classic June 3 2004
This is a classic film that hardly anyone that I know have ever heard of. This is a shame since this is a movie that has hardly any of the cliches that clog up so many police dramas. Paul Newman stars as a cop who tries to enforce the law without engaging in violence against suspects. This sets him at odds with other officers including the new precinct captain played by Ed Asner. This is the heart of the movie and it leads to a surprising conclusion.
A script, acting and directing job that adds up to on excellent movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Rotten Part of the Big Apple Feb. 7 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
The story is a well paced, gritty cop drama that side steps the usual Hollywood treatment of the good cop in the bad city, in this case the South Bronx (the film drew heat for it's realistic locations and hellhole depiction of the area). This is straight forwarded NY story telling. Paul Newman (Hud, Cool Hand Luke) is Patrolman Murphy, a veteran cop almost ready for retirement. His partner is Corelli (Ken Wahl) a younger man who tries to dress for success. Together they patrol their 40 block area with a population of 70,000. The beat looks like one of the German cities that was bombed flat in WWII. Ed Asner is the new precinct captain, wanting to get everything shipshape.

In response to a pair of cop killings by a deranged hooker, Asner orders the cops to roust the ghetto, resulting in a riot. Because of some rock throwing and heckling, a couple of cops throw an innocent boy off the roof of a building. Newman witnesses this and wrestles with his conscience about it. I think if the filmmakers would have stuck with just those plot points they would have had an excellent movie, however, they added many additional situations to give Newman more things to do. These included stopping a jumper, delivering a baby, saving hostages, and there are lengthy courting scenes for both Newman and Wahl. These stock plot devices derail what could have been a compelling story.

Paul Newman does a genuine job, as usual, playing Murphy with an admirable restraint. He puts the dramatic emphasis where it's needed and stays low-key otherwise. Ken Wahl also does a good job as Officer Corelli, a flamboyant guy, giving the older cop unsolicited advice, often. The byplay between the two cops is very good and believable.
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Good cop films are really important, and this is an excellent portrayal of the human side of law enforcement. What a find. It's a very convincing, gritty New York drama, something that is always appreciated. One of the film's strengths is its ability to shift from comedic moments into harsh tragedies, and in this sense feels like an accurate reflection on real life. Newman is absolutely convincing in his top rate performance, as is the rest of the cast. Which brings us to the plot - it's solid, but not dazzling. You have a sense it is trying to be a tour-de-force about police mentality and corruption but falls a bit short. But, for the rest of the film's strengths, this can be overlooked. Highly recommended.
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