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Dog Day Afternoon (Widescreen/Full Screen)
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Dog Day Afternoon
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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Top Customer Reviews
Crime, Drama, 125 minutes
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Al Pacino, John Cazale and Charles Durning
Al Pacino is one of the best actors of his generation and has given us many memorable characters, from Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy to his Oscar-winning portrayal of Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. But if I had to pick my favorite character, it would be Sonny Wortzik. So, as the snow falls in Ontario, I decided to escape to the dog days of Brooklyn in the 1970s.
Pacino's performance was so full of energy. He switched from ranting like maniac to moments of quiet reflection. He appeared dangerous when required, but showed that he cared about the plight of his hostages a moment later. In fact, most of his hostages ended up rooting for him to succeed in his attempt to rob their bank. Heist movies are something I enjoy when they are executed well, and this would top my list. What's interesting is the reason Sonny attempts the robbery at all, but I won't reveal that here. It was certainly controversial back in 1975.
Sidney Lumet was responsible for the first entry on this list; 12 Angry Men. With Dog Day Afternoon, he showed us how the media was capable of turning criminals into celebrities. With his sidekick watching the hostages, Sonny ventured into the streets and performed for the gathering crowd. You'll probably find that you want Sonny to escape too because Lumet does such a good job of showing us his character and motivations. Isn't it strange how we sometimes root for the criminal?
Lance Henriksen makes an appearance toward the end of the movie and it helped launch his career. The resolution might not be what all that we were hoping for, but the movie was based on a true story.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Al is hot but the fact that the movies are based on facts may be i didn't like them because of that.Published 21 days ago by s elessawy
Great movie. Fun but dramatic ending.
Based on real facts.
Terrific classic film one of Pacino's best deffinitly belongs in any serious collectors collection.Published 9 months ago by Slade
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 finePublished on Aug. 17 2012 by Jesse
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 morePublished on July 14 2004 by J. Worth