Dog Day Afternoon (1975)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Based on a true 1972 story, Sidney Lumet's 1975 drama chronicles a unique bank robbery on a hot summer afternoon in New York City. Shortly before closing time, scheming loser Sonny (Al Pacino) and his slow-witted buddy, Sal (John Cazale), burst into a Brooklyn bank for what should be a run-of-the-mill robbery, but everything goes wrong, beginning with the fact that there is almost no money in the bank. The situation swiftly escalates, as Sonny and Sal take hostages; enough cops to police the tristate area surround the bank; a large Sonny-sympathetic crowd gathers to watch; the media arrive to complete the circus; and police captain Moretti (Charles Durning) tries to negotiate with Sonny while keeping the volatile spectacle under control. When Sonny's lover, Leon (Chris Sarandon), tries to talk Sonny out of the bank, we learn the robbery's motive: to finance Leon's sex-change operation. Sonny demands a plane to escape, but the end is near once menacingly cool FBI agent Sheldon (James Broderick) arrives to take over the negotiations. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
Classics , Drama
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Al Pacino
as Sonny
Charles Durning
as N.Y. Detective Moretti
Sully Boyar
as Bank Manager Mulvaney
James Broderick
as FBI Agent Sheldon
Penny Allen
as Sylvia
Carol Kane
as Jenny
Beulah Garrick
as Margaret
Sandra Kazan
as Deborah
Amy Levitt
as Maria
John Marriott
as Howard
Todd Everett
as Cop (uncredited)
Gary Springer
as Stevie
Judith Malina
as Mother
Floyd Levine
as Phone Cop
William Bogert
as TV Studio Anchorman
Chu Chu Malave
as Maria's Boy Friend
Ron Cummins
as TV Reporter
Lionel Pina
as Pizza Boy
Thomas Murphy
as Policeman with Angie
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Critic Reviews for Dog Day Afternoon

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (7)

Enjoyable and even exciting at the start, Dog Day Afternoon degenerates into frustration and tedium toward nightfall -- an experience no less painful for the audience than for the actors.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of Sidney Lumet's best jobs of directing and one of Al Pacino's best performances (as a bisexual bank robber) come together in a populist thriller with lots of New York juice

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[Pacino] gives an electric performance, charged with a lunatic energy that expertly captures the weird blend of confidence and self-deprecation (if not hatred) that marks the paranoid syndrome.

Full Review… | August 23, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Dog Day Afternoon is, in the whole as well as the parts, filmmaking at its best.

Full Review… | August 23, 2008
Top Critic

The film's strength lies in its depiction of surfaces, lacking the visual or intellectual imagination to go beyond its shrewd social and psychological observations and its moments of absurdist humour.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's beautifully acted by performers who appear to have grown up on the city's sidewalks in the heat and hopelessness of an endless midsummer.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dog Day Afternoon

An honest, gritty and unexpectedly sensitive performance by Pacino with strong support from Durning make this film well worth watching. Although the film is dated in many ways, its social messages are as relevant today as they were back then.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Al Pacino gives arguably one of his greatest performances in this gritty & hostile film. Dog Day Afternoon supplies dramatic & classical moments with the amount of exploitation and nerve-racking elements of the actual true events coming into play, making this one of the best pictures of the 1970s. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer


Zowie! Sidney Lumet's vision of the Big Apple circa 1972 sparkles with historical and cultural authenticity (which I hated when it was released for being "too gritty", not Hollywood enough, but now understand as a perfect document of the times and worthy of any museum). In the meantime the story simply motors along, led by a electric Al Pacino and aided by a wonderful supporting cast too numerous to name. A beautiful film.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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