4.7 4
Director: Sidney Lumet

Cast: Al Pacino, Tony Roberts, Jack Kehoe


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Adapted by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler from Peter Maas's book, Sidney Lumet's drama portrays the real-life struggle of an honest New York City cop against a corrupt system. Neophyte officer Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) is determined not to let his job get in the way of his individuality. Despite his colleagues' leery reactions, he keeps one foot firmly planted in the…  See more details below


Adapted by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler from Peter Maas's book, Sidney Lumet's drama portrays the real-life struggle of an honest New York City cop against a corrupt system. Neophyte officer Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) is determined not to let his job get in the way of his individuality. Despite his colleagues' leery reactions, he keeps one foot firmly planted in the counterculture, sporting a beard and love beads and living in bohemian Greenwich Village, while he performs his police duties with dispatch. Serpico's peers genuinely ostracize him, however, when he refuses to take bribes like everybody else. Appalled by the extent of police corruption, Serpico goes to his superiors, but when he discovers that they have ignored his charges, he takes the potentially fatal step of breaking the blue wall of silence and going public with his exposé. Serpico's revelations trigger an independent investigation by the Knapp Commission, but they also make him a marked man, permanently changing his life. Shot on location with a gritty emphasis on documentary-style realism, 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. Released in late 1973, after months of revelations of Presidential malfeasance in the breaking Watergate scandal, Serpico's true story of bureaucratic depravity touched a cultural nerve, and the film became a hit with both critics and audiences, particularly for Pacino's complex performance as the honest, long-haired whistleblower. One year after his star-making triumph in The Godfather, Pacino was nominated for an Oscar again, and lost again; Lumet and Pacino would reunite two years later for another true New York story, Dog Day Afternoon.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Matthew Johnson
The gold standard for all whistle-blower dramas to follow, director Sidney Lumet's Serpico is based on a true story that rattled the proud New York Police Department's code of honor. Arriving in 1973, when its question-authority message was fresh and resonant, it was based on Peter Maas's book about Frank Serpico (Al Pacino), an oddball cop with long hair, a beard, and intellectual curiosity that set him apart. But what truly set Serpico apart from his PBA brethren is his crusade against the force's rampant graft and the unspoken fraternal code that protects it. When Serpico and his politically connected pal Bob Blair (Tony Roberts) try to start an internal investigation, they are stonewalled. When they look outside of the police force, Serpico is threatened. Lumet's direction digs deep into the dirty side on New York's government and the ugliest aspects of the urban sprawl, but counters with glimpses of the bohemian beauty of the city in the Greenwich Village of the 1960s. Serpico is a gritty, gripping, realistic story of one man's fight for the right to live his life as an honest man. For viewers numbed by the uniformed benevolence generally promoted in the age of Law & Order and NYPD Blue, Serpico's crooked cops will be a revelation.
All Movie Guide
The first of two Sidney Lumet movies to feature stellar performances from the kinetic Al Pacino, 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 and fit in stylistically with the gritty cop dramas of the time, including The French Connection and the Dirty Harry movies. Thematically, it was one of the first pictures since the heyday of film noir to tackle police corruption. Fresh from his breakthrough in The Godfather, Pacino is excellent as the whistle-blowing title character; he received his second Oscar nomination for the role.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[monaural, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed-Caption Serpico: From Real To Reel Inside Serpico Serpico: Favorite Moments Photo Gallery With Commentary By Director Sidney Lumet Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Al Pacino Frank Serpico
Tony Roberts Bob Blair
Jack Kehoe Tom Keough
Cornelia Sharpe Leslie
Barbara Eda-Young Laurie
Lewis J. Stadlen Berman
James Tolkan Steiger
M. Emmet Walsh Gallagher
Kenneth McMillan Short Order Man
John Randolph Chief Sidney Green
Biff McGuire Capt. McClain
F. Murray Abraham Detective Partner (uncredited)
Don Billett Detective Threatening Serpico
Edward Grover Lombardo
Allan Rich D.A. Tauber
Franklin Scott Black Prisoner
Mary Louise Weller Girl
Joe Bova Potts
Tim Pelt Actor
John Medici Pasquale Serpico
Albert Henderson Peluce
Hank Garrett Malone
Damien Leake Joey
Ed Crowley Barto
Bernard Barrow Palmer
Sal Carollo Mr. Serpico
Mildred Clinton Mrs. Serpico
Nathan George Detective Smith
Richard Foronjy Corsaro
Alan North Brown
Ted Beniades Sarno
Rene Enriquez Actor
Judd Hirsch Actor
John Stewart Waterman
Norman Ornellas Rubello
Gene Gross Capt. Tolkin
John Lehne Gilbert
George Ede Daley
Charles White Commissioner Delaney

Technical Credits
Sidney Lumet Director
Dede Allen Editor
Charles Bailey Production Designer
Bob James Musical Direction/Supervision
Martin Bregman Producer
Burtt Harris Asst. Director
Douglas Higgins Art Director
Anna Hill Johnstone Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Marks Editor
Arthur Ornitz Cinematographer
James J. Sabat Sound/Sound Designer
Waldo Salt Screenwriter
Reginald Tackley Makeup
Mikis Theodorakis Score Composer
Richard Vorisek Sound/Sound Designer
Norman Wexler Screenwriter
Thomas H. Wright Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Serpico
1. Chapter 1 [:08]
2. Chapter 2 [7:26]
3. Chapter 3 [1:59]
4. Chapter 4 [5:44]
5. Chapter 5 [5:26]
6. Chapter 6 [:45]
7. Chapter 7 [6:26]
8. Chapter 8 [3:31]
9. Chapter 9 [3:15]
10. Chapter 10 [:41]
11. Chapter 11 [3:44]
12. Chapter 12 [3:01]
13. Chapter 13 [:55]
14. Chapter 14 [6:07]
15. Chapter 15 [:06]
16. Chapter 16 [6:05]
17. Chapter 17 [1:12]
18. Chapter 18 [1:52]
19. Chapter 19 [5:41]
20. Chapter 20 [3:54]
21. Chapter 21 [3:11]
22. Chapter 22 [3:28]
23. Chapter 23 [7:45]
24. Chapter 24 [3:07]
25. Chapter 25 [4:03]
26. Chapter 26 [2:39]
27. Chapter 27 [4:43]
28. Chapter 28 [4:45]
29. Chapter 29 [2:13]
30. Chapter 30 [4:22]
31. Chapter 31 [3:15]
32. Chapter 32 [:30]
33. Chapter 33 [2:02]
34. Chapter 34 [5:43]
35. Chapter 35 [1:09]
36. Chapter 36 [6:42]
37. Chapter 37 [2:08]


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Serpico 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this movie alot , didnt think i would like but im a BIG FAN of al pacino so i had to get this movie to see what it was about. when i poped it in my dvd player and watched it it was just fantastic great actin...but sad to here that its a true story ...2 thumbs up for sure
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to meet ex-officer Frank Serpico in Europe in the late 1970's. He was living in Holland at the time, and he still had the bullet in his head from the failed attempt by his colleagues to have him murdered. Serpico loved his job, and was dedicated to giving it 100% on a daily basis. While it is indeed true that New York City and the NYPD have come a long, long way, the gritty reality of this movie and the gutsy, brilliant acting by Pacino will remain testimony to historical fact that can never be brushed away. Or forgotten. Terrific movie. Superb acting. Well worth the time to see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first true Pacino tour de force, even more so than THE GODFATHER. Almost 30 years after its debut, this classic plays fresh and untiring. Sidney Lumet's masterwork is also one of the best cop films ever made. Powerful lead and supporting performances and an articulate screenplay by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexlerare all inclusive in the roll call of greatness.