Fort Apache, the Bronx Reviews

Page 1 of 4
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2011
It may have been released in 1981, but this film sure has the look, feel, and sounds of the 1970s all over, and that's just fine by me. This is a gritty, cynical, yet still entertaining film about a nistly decent but burnt out veteran beat cop dealing with the continually worsening decay that has overtaken The Bronx.

The film is somewhat of a character study, and it has a very loose, episodic flow, instead of a rigidly structured plot. I think this helps the film. However, there are a few scenes that feel like they've been suddenly cut short, and the transitions between them feel really abrupt and choppy. Aside from that though, I don't have too many other issues. I mean the film is guilty of numerous genre cliches, but what film isn't?

Newman does a pretty good and believable job in the lead. As his love interest, a nurse who also happens to be a junkie, Rachel Ticotin is okay, but not really excellent or anything. Pam Grier (who sadly doesn't have as much screen time as I had hoped) has a small but memorable supporting role as a junkie prostitute/murderer. She does a really good job, and exhibits some fine method acting. Her memoir gives some intersting details about how she prepared for this movie, as well as some good information about it in general. Asner, Wahl, and Aiello are also all likewise decent.

What works best here though, is the location shooting, and the cinematography. It was shot on location throughout The Bronx, and things look quite realistic, run down and grimy. There's some really good long deep focus shots and some nice lighting and framing here as well. As much as I liked this movie, I can't say I'd want to visit that place during that time. I liked the music, but I could have used more of it.

Give this one a shot. The critics seem to miss the point with this one. Yeah, it's not really innovative, but it's pretty decently made, has great atmosphere, look, mood, and tone, the performances are good, and it's pretty watchable and entertaining. What more, really, could you ask for?
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
½ January 15, 2009
Cynical but entertaining police drama where the real villain is 70's New York.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2008
Paul Newman stars as a burned out cop in the neighborhood from hell in this police film that is an over the top look at typical patrol officers. Fort Apache, The Bronx is about the worst precinct in New York. Cops are killed with civilians on a regular basis and riots are a constant sore. This is where a cop goes when they go screw up and Newman plays the cynical, bitter beat cop with perfection. This isn't Serpico. It's the guys in the blue uniforms.

Even though it sports a good cast, the film slips on some of its plot points (Pam Grier as a psychotic hooker) and the way it was shot, which reminds the viewer of a '80's TV movie. It does go above and beyond at times, but Fort Apache is a good flick if you want to see more Paul Newman.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2010
A controversial and powerful drama starring Paul Newman in a performance that is nothing short of brilliant, he plays a tough, tired veteran Police Officer on the beat in the squalid, largely devastated wasteland of the South Bronx of New York City in the early 1980s, where murder, drugs, prostitution, riots, corruption and indifference are part of every day life. Superb supporting performances by Ed Asner, Ken Wahl, Rachel Ticotin, Danny Aiello, and Pam Grier. A unforgettable look at the demoralization of the lower classes in a hellish urban territory. Highly Recommended.
DrLappos
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2007
Superb and very powerful
½ May 6, 2007
In the late 1970's New York City had reached the lowest point in its history. But then so had most major American cities in the late 1970's. The movie is based on the experiences of two New York City policemen who worked the streets of the Bronx in the late 1970's. It's set in 1980 but many of the events in the movie would have been more likely to have happened in the late 1960's than the late 1970's. Most of the movie is shot on location in New York so it has a more authentic look than a film shot in Hollywood. Pam Grier plays a killer prostitute who starts a killing spree by shooting two cops. This is the best acting in the movie. Most of the movie is routine cop stories with back stories of the social life the the two main characters. Paul Newman and Ed Asner are the stars of the movie. They both try to talk with New York accents but they can only hold it for a couple of words before their natural accents come through. The actors from New York do a better job with the accents. The events of the movie were before the AIDS epidemic and the crack cocaine epidemic. The drug of choice in the movie was heroin. Heroin had been a big problem in New York in the 1960's but starting in 1970 the Federal Government began to crack down on the heroin smugglers. By 1980 heroin was hard to find on the streets but cocaine had replaced it. There was no cocaine users shown in the movie. The characters in the movie implied that the Pam Grier character has started using "angel dust"(PCP) that caused her to flake out. I think I first saw this movie in the old Penn Square mall in Oklahoma City. Penn Square mall has been totally remodeled since then and I'm sure the south Bronx in New York has been rebuilt since 1980 too. The crime rate in New York is dramatically lower today than it was in the 1970's. In the movie you can see the wrecking crews tearing down the old buildings. America is becoming a trailer park nation. It's cheaper to tear down old buildings and build new than to maintain old buildings. The movie shows the social effects of housing people in old run down buildings in crowded over populated cities when the economic base of the city is gone. New York was a city built as a sea port and was America's front door to the world. In the age of air travel New York has been trying to reinvent itself and find a new economic base. New York in the 21st century won't have the population level it had in the 20th century. This movie is a good record of the shrinking of New York.
½ August 17, 2007
This is a good movie

Paul Newman stars in this harsh portrait of a police station in a crumbling neighborhood. Newman plays John Murphy, a veteran policeman who's been on the force long enough to be tired, but not so lo...( read more read more... )ng that he's lost his idealism. The plot is loosely tied to the arrival of Connolly, the new precinct captain (Edward Asner). Is he a crusader who's going to finally whip a corrupt, apathetic force into shape, or an interloping by-the-book bureaucrat who can't possibly understand the neighborhood and will do more harm than good? The movie is gratifyingly ambiguous on this point and many others. While Newman's character is almost by default the hero, he is far from perfect--most all the major characters get complex personalities, just like real people. The Bronx itself is given complex, thoughtful treatment as well, full of both overwhelming problems and hope for the future. Fort Apache, the Bronx also has action sequences, but doesn't make the mistake of reveling in violence. Here, black and white are far less defined and, consequently, far more satisfying. --Ali Davis
November 6, 2008
Saw it whenit came out...don't remember much about it. Do have favorable memorie about it. I was in the Air Force at the time...must have been drunk during the film.
½ February 24, 2008
Daniel Petrie gives a cynical portrait of a police precint in the Bronx in the film. The city looks as though it was carpet-bombed. We are guided through the rough, early 80's streets of New York by Murphy (Paul Newman), an aging cop on the beat and his young partner Corelli (Ken Wahl).

The city is a jungle and we discover this through several, disconnected scenes that have little correlation with the plot. There's a scene where Newman delivers a baby for a young impoverished Puerto Rican woman that virtually goes nowhere. Pam Grier in a walk on role plays a murdering prostitute whom we follow for several scenes until she is killed off again leading nowhere and contributing little to the exposition. Ed Asner plays the new Captain at Fort Apache. He was affective but seldomly seen on screen.

The most intriguing aspect of the picture is Paul Newman who clearly is the star of the show here. His choice to play this character was exempliary of the roles he took during this time period. Absence of Malice and the Veridct being obvious connectives.

The idea was good but it was executed in a formulaic style which takes away from the picture which ultimately is held up by Newman's performance, the meditative view on New York and clever dialogue.
October 15, 2008
"Fort Apache, The Bronx" is a crazy good title, and that's because it's also a crazy good movie. It's easy to find movies that raise difficult questions about morality and ethics but rare I think to find one that does so without relying on tired formulas or simplistic answers. Also Paul Newman perfectly treads the line of hardcore and dapper and never goes cliche with a character that is, for all its genreficationary stereotypicality, pretty complex. It is a sad but awesome movie, which is the most realistic type.
½ January 25, 2008
Nasty on Location, NYPD 1970's yarn, The ghetto looks like Dresden after the firebombing in WW2. Pam Grear as a crazed, doped up,homicidal Hooker adds to the "fun". This is NOT a Police procedural...
½ April 12, 2015
As a big fan of Newman, I was looking forward to this, the story is simply about the life and times of a policeman in the Bronx and all of the crimes and so on.

The story itself is dull and meaningless, quite a bit of murder and drugs but with little purpose in the story. Most of the characters are cocky tough guys, it sends a very dark message about the Bronx.

In the end I was glad it was over, the film had no message, the story was nothing special at all, daft ending. It was almost like it was written purely to put Newman in a police uniform except they hadn't thought of a decent story. Or maybe it was simply trying to showcase what a shit-hole the Bronx was.
April 10, 2015
The message gets in the way of this action/drama.
½ October 10, 2011
I don't know, I expected alot more from a Newman film.
October 26, 2010
Paul Newman does a great job of acting a role; the problem with this film is the story which is forgettable.
March 25, 2010
This would be a good double feature with Brooklyn's Finest one day . . . great cast and a nice rare mix of humor & drama & tragedy that they don't seem to attempt anymore . . .
February 7, 2005
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=yellowgreen]It's somehow both disappointing and fascinating to see how one performance can hold together and elevate a movie from simply watchable to actually entertaining. Fascinating because was it not for that single performance the film might not have kept the viewers attention for it's duration. Disappointing because if the rest of the film had risen to the challenge as the key note performance had, the end product might have been an excellent film rather than simply a somewhat entertaining one.[/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32][/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32]This is something that I've noticed in going through Paul Newman's filmography. While some of his movies are truly great (The Hustler, Color of Money, Cool Hand Luke, etc.) the rest seem to be duds, with a single stand-out performance, that being his own (Where the Money Is, Absence of Malice, etc.). This is what happens with this early eighties cop drama.[/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32][/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32]The film is set in the bronx, and the worst of the worst part of the bronx at that. Burned out buildings, burned out cars and burned out lives populate the streets making the neighbourhood look like a nuclear test ground. Newman plays a hardened cop, 18 years on the force, and in a region such as this, somehow with his morals intact. Other cops we learn, have let corruption and callousness slowly eat away at theirs. Although, the standing rule with everyone seems to be, if we don't see it, it's not a crime. Basically telling criminals to keep their business inside or out of plain view and nobody will have a problem.[/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32][/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32]That rule is fine for most cops most of the time but when a crime that breachs the boudaries of simple misdemeanors is witnessed by Newman and his partner, a moral dilema arises on whether or not the crime should be reported and how that will affect their careers.[/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32][/color][/font]
[font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32]Newman's performance is, as usual, very good. He single handedly keeps this movie going for most of it's two hours. Ultimately, it's the plot, and number of different plots that keep this movie from being recommendable. Some of the sub-plots evolving through the movie suddenly come to abrupt ends, not really doing anything for the film expect further the known fact that it's not a nice neighbourhood out there. Some sub-plots are also hinted at but never explored, like how Newman's character and the new police chief don't see eye to eye. Overall, there is no solid problem being resolved in the movie and the ending falls into the very predictable and formulaic, hero saves the day but loses the girl scenario (sorry about that, that spoils it a bit). The only real saving grace for this movie is having Paul Newman at the helm and even at that it's only barely recommendable.[/color][/font]
:fresh: [font=Palatino Linotype][color=#9acd32]6/10[/color][/font]
Page 1 of 4