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Serpico

Screening on Film
Directed by Sidney Lumet.
With Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe.
US, 1973, 35mm, color, 130 min.
Print source: Paramount Pictures

Lumet’s classic thriller is a mesmerizing character study of the eponymous Frank Serpico, modeled on a real-life New York City patrolman who made headlines in the late 1960s for risking his life to uncover systematic and festering corruption at the heart of the NYPD. The film that crowned Al Pacino as the leading actor of his generation, Serpico contains the key elements of 1970s American cinema – a vehement distrust of authority, a dystopian urban setting, complexly ambiguous anti-heros. Serpico also rehabilitated the reputation of Sidney Lumet, whose skill at taut realism and nerve-wracking tension found in this material its fullest expression since Twelve Angry Men fifteen years earlier.

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