Dog Day Afternoon

1975

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Framed by great work from director Sidney Lumet and fueled by a gripping performance from Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon offers a finely detailed snapshot of people in crisis with tension-soaked drama shaded in black humor.

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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

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Critic Reviews for Dog Day Afternoon

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (8)

On the other and substantial hand, most of those segments are very good. If the whole is less than the sum of the parts, if there really is no sum of the parts, those parts those parts are extraordinarily well made.

Jan 8, 2018 | Full Review…

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.

Apr 27, 2009 | Full Review…

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

Apr 27, 2009 | Full Review…

[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.

Aug 24, 2008 | Full Review…

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

Aug 24, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
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.

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
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

½

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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Directors Cat

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