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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2011
This film is based on a true story, and stars Al Pacino as Frank Serpico, the title of the film. Newly recruited as a New York cop, Serpico sees the corruption that is going on, and wants no part of it. All he wants to be is an honest cop. But others around him think otherwise and try to tempt him into their corrupt world. He gets transferred several times to different police precincts that are 'clean'. But once there, he finds that there is no such thing, and becomes a lone crusader trying to clean up the New York city police force. The trouble is no one wants to know, and his reputation follows him, and he soon becomes the most disliked cop in New York.
Every once in a while along comes a film that has something special, and this film is one of them. It concentrates on story rather than action, and tells a good one. Anybody who likes 70's cop films, or is a fan of Al Pacino MUST SEE THIS FILM. The New York locations are gritty and real (104 different locations). And portrays the seedier side, back in the 70's. This ranks high on the list of Al Pacino's greatest films, and proves that a good film done right does not need to rely on action sequences to make it a box office hit, and this film was done right. This borders on the edge of brilliance.
The film is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1. The original ratio was 1.85:1. But most of Paramount's dvd releases are in this ratio if the original was shot in 1.85:1. Picture Quality is razor sharp, with no grain at all, and according to the box the audio is in 5.1. (The film was originally shot in mono).
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on 15 September 2001
Taken from the true story of the life of Frank Serpico, this important film stirred up controversy and showed us a side of police departments that they certainly don't want shown. Serpico plays the only honest cop who doesn't take bribes and kickbacks. What is scary is the casual manner the other cops in the film just view taking the graft is just part of the job just like loading their guns. We also see a scary lesson of what happens when one honest man takes on an entire bureaucracy that does not welcome him and what can ultimately happen to him. How many other Serpico's are out there past and present who never got to tell their story for one reason or another. A powerful film that is just as relevant today as when it was made.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 April 2014
This is the reason for the blu-ray era. Not just the immaculate film reproduction but also the enlightening 43 page booklet included within the case. We learn that the movie was shot in just 51 days. The one outstanding experience I had whilst watching was the perfectly formed sense of time and place. The pealing paint on office walls, the colour in the clothes but most of all those wonderful old, old cars. I watched on projection as I sat on a stoop of a New York street.

The movie is about the laws within us and not just the laws written. The character of Serpico is one of self reliance. And love. You see that in the way he chooses a pet dog. In the way he responds to the chatter of a neighbour. He falls for her and her for him. Some call it intelligence. Compatible humour.

At some point you know you are going to learn the reason for him becoming police. I understood that reason. Ignorance is no way forward. I really enjoyed reading about what it takes to win an Oscar. Acting for an Oscar requires only an exaggerated visual performance. We should replace 'best' with 'most' says Karina Longworth, former chief film critic for LA Weekly. Accents do it, make-up (especially scars), deformities or drastic weight loss. She describes Pacino's acting as 'devoid of vanity.' He is Serpico.

The only other thing worthy of note is that it is proper widescreen, no black bars. So take a trip back to the early seventies. When you had room to be. But society was the same.
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on 17 March 2016
Pacino's performance in this realistic portrayal of an honest police officer attempting to expose corruption within the ranks of his colleagues is outstanding, to say the least. Everything has been said by other positive reviews here, therefore, all I will say is that his performance in this gripping true story, along with his performance in 'Scarface' are, arguably, the apotheosis of Pacino's career. Watch them both, back to back, and be prepared to be completely blown away by an actor at the top of his game.
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on 16 January 2003
Great movie by Sidney Lumet (sreenplay by Waldo Salt, who wrote Midnigt Cowboy). Based on the real-life story of NYPD Detective Frank Serpico, who refused the, at that time, standard practice of being paied of by the mob. This was Al Pacino's first movie after finishing Godfather part I. It is hard to say anything negative about this film. The story is great, Al has not yet become over the top in his style of acting and script and direction is inspired. If you love the films from the period this is a must see.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 January 2014
Serpico is directed by Sidney Lumet and adapted to screenplay by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler from Peter Maas’ biography of NYPD officer Frank Serpico who stood up to expose rife corruption in the force. It stars Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire, Bernard Barrow, Nathan George and Tony Roberts. Music is by Mikis Theodorakis and Giacomo Puccini and cinematography by Arthur J. Ornitz.

Great story telling meets a first class acting performance in Lumet’s searing movie. Frank Serpico (Pacino), a legend to us mere mortals out on the street, but the most hated man on the NYPD, so much so he almost paid for his sense of what’s right and wrong with his life.

Picture follows Frank through his integration on the force and onto the build up of corruption he comes across. All the time we are also getting an insight into the man himself, his life and loves outside of work, with Lumet and Pacino making sure Frank is not painted as a saintly perfectionist, there is no halo above his head, he has flaws like everybody else. New York is expertly painted as a raw and grubby place, the hustle and bustle a nuisance, and the seamy underside where crims and dirty coppers dwell makes you feel like taking a shower. It proves to be a riveting character study and a thought provoking expose at the same time, while ultimately it proves to be a touching experience come the culmination of the drama.

Excellent. 9/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 March 2015
An interesting film for sure, as it’s a true story. Al does a very good job as the lead. The cinematography is very good and thus pleasing on the eye. It’s not an overly exciting film I have to say, but then it’s not meant to be an all - out action thriller. Al won his first Golden Globe for the role. The flick was a huge success, costing 3 million $ to make and grossing 29million$.
I much prefer Pacino in his earlier roles, like the Godfather and this one. I find his later acting roles, rather loud, wooden and predictable.
This film seems very true to the story, certainly the shooting incident is spot on. Over all it's well put together and is of interest throughout to the viewer.
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on 27 December 2003
I'll start by saying that another reviewer of this film wrote the following .......
" great film and a must for any Al Pacino fan."
Very true, yet this film MADE me an Al Pacino fan, for I had seen The Godfather trilogy in the annals of my past yet they do not focus entirely on him and could only vaguely remember them.
The reason I picked up this film is the fact that I am a big Robert De Niro fan for such films as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, and know that the two are hotly contested for being peoples favourite actors. So having not seen many Pacino films decided to see one.
I was not dissapointed.
On first viewing i felt the film moved along at a steady to slow pace yet never got boring in fact was enthrallilng especially as it is based on fact.
Overall i enjoyed the film and found Pacino to be both funny and cool, yet showed at great lengths what his character was going through, and I really felt for him. That is the sign of a great actor, it's not the actor on the screen or a portrayal it is Frank Serpico himself.
It did not rank it as my favourite film at first viewing but on the second and beyond it's now damn close, iv'e recommended it to my friend and brother and have and will be buying more Al Pacino films for my collection.
Pacino exudes class on the screen, and his character of an honest cop fighting against corruption and fighting for his values and morals is one example of an honest person that is very moving, and for any film fan is essential viewing. The acting alone could have made this a classic especially the scene under the bridge where Pacino ( not on script ) gets so wrapped up in the moment sceams. It's just a classic and great film.
Yes friends that is the title I have given it for it is up there with my film greats.
(On a final note if anyone knows where i can get my hands on a hat like he wears in the film please drop me a line i would be very grateful!)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 July 2014
This ranks for me as one of Pacino's best on screen efforts, though I like numerous other films he's done too.

Here we have a true story which follows Police Officer Frank Serpico whom is played by Pacino convincingly, he starts off a a normal "green" cop, but soon finds a taste for the undercover plain clothes operation. Serpico is a man of morals and refuses to accept bribes from local mobsters and the Mafia. Soon he finds himself on the outside of the police community as they see him a risk and loose canon, Serpico's oddball looks and refusal to accept pay off's soon puts his life in danger as his colleagues turn the other way at critical times. He faces a choice to either go with the police corruption or testify against his colleagues and expose the department to the Knapp Commission.

It's a simple plot one honest cop's stubborn refusal to bow to pressure; his personal life suffers and his career is sidetracked as he stands alone in his department. Pacino does a fine job of portraying the stress and edge of Frank Serpico. Script is excellent as is direction from Sidney Lumet, even the soundtrack is worthy of a mention. Everything fits together very well in a polished production, the film was a commercial success despite a fairly modest budget from the studio. This is more a thinkers film with some smaller action parts, more an exploration in a slower burn way..not really a fast pace, but the story unfolds in a way which never leaves your attention wandering.

Not an easy job to play this part with such conviction, but Pacino has real edge and is completely immersive in his performance. One of the most appealing aspects of the film is the true nature of events, it's a hard film to fault in many ways. A real must watch despite the somewhat dated feel, some great acting here (not just Pacino). This should feature high up the list of true story film fans.
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on 11 November 2013
Good entertainment - bit hard to watch his struggles in the first half of the film (knowing it was a real -life story) but glad we persevered as ultimately satisfying to some extent! Al Pacino excellent as always - additionally, good extra feature on making of the film.
So....... value for money!
IJA
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