The Dog (2014)



Critic Consensus: Fascinating, evocative, and as unconventional as its subject, The Dog offers a colorful window into the real-life story behind a classic film.

Movie Info

An intimate portrait of the vivacious John Wojtowicz, the inspiration behind Al Pacino's character in Sidney Lumet's Oscar (R)-Nominated Dog Day Afternoon. Coming of age in the 1960s, John Wojtowicz took pride in being a pervert. His libido was excessive even by the libertine standards of the era, with multiple wives and lovers, both women and men. In August, 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover's sex reassignment surgery. The attempted heist resulted in a fourteen-hour … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Directed By: ,
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 4, 2014
Box Office: $44.6k
Drafthouse Films - Official Site

News & Interviews for The Dog

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Critic Reviews for The Dog

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (17)

Questions of identity reverberate through The Dog, a documentary by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren that chronicles Wojtowicz's storied and terribly sad life.

Full Review… | October 2, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

There's a brashness to this documentary that sneaks up on you.

Full Review… | August 21, 2014
Top Critic

Sidney Lumet's Oscar-winning Dog Day Afternoon was based on a true story - and John Wojtowicz doesn't even try to hide his glee in sharing every juicy, crazed detail in revealing documentary, The Dog.

Full Review… | August 14, 2014
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The result does justice to their subject's foul-mouthed charm and braggadocio.

Full Review… | August 14, 2014
Boston Globe
Top Critic

In numerous interviews that careen from profane braggadocio to tender reminiscence, the lustily bisexual Wojtowicz comes across as almost bizarrely self-satisfied.

Full Review… | August 14, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

John Wojtowicz, filmed over a 10-year period before his death, is the star of his own show. A very flamboyant character, he talks about the loves of his life, and there were many, heterosexual, homosexual and transgendered.

Full Review… | January 19, 2015
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for The Dog

Meet John Wojtowicz.

If the name does not sound familiar(and no reason why it should), then it is definitely worth mentioning that he was the inspiration for the movie "Dog Day Afternoon." And he comes off as very much a character himself in this highly engaging documentary. But it was not always that way, as he started off as a Goldwater Republican and got married. Four years later, he campaigned for Eugene McCarthy.(Vietnam would do that to a guy.) At the same time, he was also becoming attracted to other men, involving himself in the nascent gay rights movement of the early 70's, partially just to get laid.(He describes himself as 'perverse.' I would amend that to 'polymorphously perverse.') By the way, some of those protests involve same sex marriage.

And that's where Liz Eden, nee Ernest Aron, comes into the picture, Joe's lover who he married in something of a mock ceremony. In fact, he robbed the bank to pay someone to break her out of a psych ward where she was being held on suicide watch. The demand to pay for her sex change operation would come out of the siege at the bank which is no longer there, nor is there any kind of plaque.

So, was Joe a revolutionary or just yet another garden variety common criminal? Depends on who you ask. In any case, he was definitely reckless and it was lucky more people were not killed, as the intense media coverage knocked the even more criminal Richard Nixon off the nightly news. In the end, Joe served his time and Liz got her operation. But since this is not a fairy tale, nobody lived happily ever after.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

If you loved Dog Day Afternoon, you will love this crisp well developed doc on the story that inspired it all. John Wojtowicz proves as dynamic a personality as Pacino.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

John Wojtowicz is a fascinating character with a story that seems almost too crazy to be true but I don't think this documentary got under the surface of it enough. It seems like some of the most obvious questions about the topics presented here (gay life in the 60s/70, describing the robbery, reacting to the movie) go both unasked and unanswered in favor of a somewhat meandering telling of his life story that glosses over significant pieces without fanfare.
I give it three stars simply because hearing some of the things that come out of not only his mouth but his mother's is more than worth watching. In the end though this could have been so much richer.

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