Shot on location on New York City's crime-filled streets, in a legendary director's masterpiece Serpico, adapted from and based on a best selling novel, is a rousing portrait of courage in the face of insidious corruption. The portrayal of the undercover cop is brutally realistic. Serpico is an independent young recruit entering the police force in the late 1960s, fulfilling a childhood dream. The good old boys of the NYPD lose no time in initiating Serpico in the ways of cutting corners, forging documents, and taking payoffs from local gambling operations and narcotic rings. His refusal to take illegal protection money and his counterculture lifestyle make Serpico a target for harassment by his unified and powerful peers. The director hones in on the evocative details of Serpico's personal struggles and inner turmoil as his obsessive fight for truth begins to have disastrous effects on his personal life and threatens his safety. Serpico presents a city in decay both literally and morally, as everybody is in on the take, and the cops and criminals are almost interchangeable. A true story of bureaucratic depravity, Serpico was released at a heated moment in American culture and touched a nerve with American audiences. Based on a series of real events, the film targeted institutional corruption in the New York City Police Department.
Starring Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe
Director Sidney Lumet