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Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

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A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation, which turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Frank Pierson (screenplay), P.F. Kluge (based upon a magazine article by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,267 ( 327)
Top Rated Movies #250 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penelope Allen ... Sylvia
Sully Boyar ... Mulvaney
John Cazale ... Sal
Beulah Garrick Beulah Garrick ... Margaret
Carol Kane ... Jenny
Sandra Kazan Sandra Kazan ... Deborah
Marcia Jean Kurtz ... Miriam
Amy Levitt ... Maria
John Marriott ... Howard
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Edna
Al Pacino ... Sonny
Gary Springer ... Stevie
James Broderick ... Sheldon
Charles Durning ... Moretti
Carmine Foresta Carmine Foresta ... Carmine
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Storyline

Based upon a real-life story that happened in the early seventies in which the Chase Manhattan Bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn, was held siege by a bank robber determined to steal enough money for his wife (a trans woman) to undergo a sex change operation. On a hot summer afternoon, the First Savings Bank of Brooklyn is held up by Sonny and Sal, two down-and-out characters. Although the bank manager and female tellers agree not to interfere with the robbery, Sonny finds that there's actually nothing much to steal, as most of the cash has been picked up for the day. Sonny then gets an unexpected phone call from Police Captain Moretti, who tells him the place is surrounded by the city's entire police force. Having few options under the circumstances, Sonny nervously bargains with Moretti, demanding safe escort to the airport and a plane out of the country in return for the bank employees' safety. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This movie was not dreamed up by a screenplay writer. It couldn't have -- not with all the bizarre things that actually happened that day in a real bank, with real hostages and with Sonny Wortzik - the most unreal person who ever wanted to rob a bank. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dog Day Afternoon See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$50,000,000, 31 December 1977
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1975)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Al Pacino and John Cazale played brothers in The Godfather (1972). The third brother, played by James Caan, shares the name of Pacino's character in this film, Sonny. See more »

Goofs

When Sonny is fumbling to get his M1 carbine out of the box you hear the sound of bullets hitting the floor See more »

Quotes

Sonny: [to a cop with his gun drawn] You see that?
[points his finger like a gun]
Sonny: Put it in your holster!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: What you are about to see is true - It happened in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972. See more »

Alternate Versions

Recent DVD release replaces the old Warner Bros. logo at the beginning with the newer WB/AOL logo. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Task: Pilot (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Amoreena
(uncredited)
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An interesting true story made a good film with great performances
2 May 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Brooklyn, New York. Sonny, Sal and another man walk into the bank and hold it up. Seconds into the job, the third man changes his mind and leaves. The job starts to go wrong when Sonny discovers that the truck he was told was dropping off money, was actually picking it up, meaning the vault is nearly empty. Things get worse when the police arrive outside and trap the two inside with a handful of hostages. As Sonny and Sal try to keep control, a circus breaks out on the street with the police, the public and the media all involved.

I have seen this film several times but it has been a few years since I last had the chance to see it. I watched it again today with the memory of it being good but not really as truly great as many seem to think it is. The plot is all the more fascinated for it being true but it is not an easy subject to bring to the screen. While morally most people can accept robbers in films as characters to support, it is a bigger step to accept the sexualities and complexities of these characters and to get behind them. However the film actually manages to make this quite moving and difficult - not only do we feel for Sonny but the film is fair to him and, more impressively, Leon. It would have been easy to turn this relationship into a joke but the script allows it to be done with sensitivity. The rest of the film captures the sense of circus and media feeding frenzy well as well as being quite tense and enjoyable to watch.

The film's strength is it's performances and, in particular, Pacino in a performance that is both showy and understated at different times. He is a real person and it is to his credit that, no matter the revelations about Sonny, he never loses the audience. Cazale is good here too but in a different way - a simple, sympathetic character. His hit rate is amazing when you think that he was only ever in a handful of films and they were all pretty amazing, but it's hard to tell how good an actor he was really. Durning is good in support and the rest of the cast are pretty good but it is Pacino's film and he manages well with the shouting, the silence and the complexities of his characters.

Overall this is not one of the best films ever made but it is certainly a very good telling of this true story. The film deals very well with both the tension of the situation but also the underlying stories and characters - even more surprising for the period it was made in, it makes a very balanced presentation of the homosexual characters. The direction is very good and the performances are all good, but it is Pacino's film and he does very well with it.


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