Dog Day Afternoon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dog Day Afternoon Reviews

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March 24, 2019
I felt like one of the hostages in the bank, holding out hope that I would survive through the end. I get that Dog Day Afternoon is important because it makes an interesting statement on human nature and it brings up human rights issues about sexual and gender identities in a time when that wasn't necessarily acceptable. But it is largely a dull, desperate and exhausting affair. We are trapped in the same room with the same people yelling and waving and threatening for 2 hours and nothing really transpires except for the slow, strange development of the main character.

Part of the intent of the film was to display how people change when they are in the spotlight. Sonny turns into a raving "hero" demanding outlandish requests in exchange for the hostages and performing for the people in the streets. The pizza man dances for the crowd and the head teller refuses to leave her girls because her and the others are getting so much attention. It's interesting to see them transform. I also thought it was fascinating how it pushed such liberal themes in a time period that largely rejected them, with some of the major characters being gay and transgender people.

Al Pacino's character is dynamic and we slowly learn about him as the robbery progresses. First that he has a wife, then that he has a gay lover, then that he's married to both and his mistress needs a sex change and that he has a troubled relationship with his mother. His motives for the robbery give insight into who he was and what his priorities are. Aesthetically, the film is poor. It's set in a boring, blank bank with sweaty, stressed out characters.

The film's central issue is that is largely a tiring bore. It is tense at the beginning, but 30 minutes in the tension has broken and it's exhausting to watch Pacino and the cops constantly go back and forth. As a bank robbery, it is really dry. It consistently brings new characters into the story, such as his lover, his wife, his mother to further develop him. The conclusion was also pretty satisfying. I get why Dog Day Afternoon is relevant because of its themes and unique central character, but I can only take so much of Al Pacino pacing around sweating, yelling constantly.
February 13, 2019
A great build up that petered out at the end with side stories. 1001 movies to see before you die.
February 9, 2019
A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

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. As much as it is about a deeply troubled individual, "Dog Day Afternoon" is about a shift toward exploitation in the American media via live television.
Strong performances and forward-thinking situations make this political thriller an exceptionally vibrant film experience.
January 2, 2019
Despite being based on real life events, the story might seem a bit silly but Al Pacino really makes this movie a classic
½ November 19, 2018
This is a classic of 70s cinema. Dog Day Afternoon, directed by the late great Sidney Lumet features a fine turn by the then fresh Al Pacino who plays a callow youth robbing a bank. The pacing is fantastic, there are many political underlying themes(the lower class's revolt, transgenderism) and it came out at a time when there was much disconcert on the streets of America. It is truly a great film and its reputation has only increased with time. Watch this one. 8/10 (Watch it for Lumet's crisp direction and Pacino's acting). Solaris (1971): Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is a highly regarded book and Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaption is pretty much spot on, though Tarkovsky being an auteur brings his own touch to the proceedings. The story is about a cosmonaut who is sent to a space station revolving around a mysterious planet in the future. The cinematography and production design are haunting- the spaceship is so different than what we usually see in Hollywood. The acting is restraint and works here. Some people have said there is a sense of pretentiousness and rightfully so as some scenes go on way too long. But hey, this is Tarkovsky we speak of. This is one of the finest hard science fiction films and you should see it at any cost. (A meditative take on a famous novel).
November 15, 2018
LIFF32 (2018) #3

"Kiss me. When I'm being f**ked, I like to get kissed a lot."

Dog Day Afternoon is a fantastic 'bank robbery gone wrong' movie, but becomes so much more than that.

I've been planning on watching this movie for awhile, but failed each time. Now it makes me appreciate my patience after finally checking it out at LIFF (Leeds International Film Festival). Seeing this on a big screen rather than a small one made the experience even more special.

The run time of two hours and 30 minutes, which is crazy because none of it dragged. I loved every minute of it. I was surprised how comedic it is, as I originally expected it to be a crime drama. It's hilarious seeing the hostages who were scared at first, but eventually got so comfortable around the robbers, they toy with their semi-auto rimfire rifles. Even ordering pizza and sodas, and Sonny (Pacino) pays for it with bank money.

Al Pacino is one of the all time greats. His voice, facial tics, walk, hunch, accent, etc. There's so much to pick up on his performance. He's better than sex. John Cazale is a national treasure and left us way too soon. The chemistry between Sonny and Sal is dynamic. Sidney Lumet directing captives the entire event and makes it absolutely gripping, especially the climax which had me on edge.

Pacino is fire. Cazale is holy. Sidney is god.
November 7, 2018
This film was solid.
October 20, 2018
What a little gem. A wonderfully quirky film. I think this is Pacino's best performance.
October 4, 2018
Pacino is great, the whole movie is great very real very gritty.
July 2, 2018
This film is a great study of a fumbling, naive criminal mind, but it is also a comment on crowd mentality and mass media, and makes powerful statements about these issues without being alarmist or preachy. One thing I love about the movie is the long conversations in the second half between Pacino's character and the other characters (his crime partner, his gay lover, his mother). The action and slows down, the tension drops for a bit, and you're mesmerized to learn more about the characters pasts and personalities. In films today, such scenes would doubtless be cut out by producers.
June 28, 2018
Lumet is exploring the clichés, not just using them.

- Chicago Sun-Times
½ June 5, 2018
Delightfully absurd.
June 2, 2018
Great performances, well paced thriller.
½ April 17, 2018
i'm on your side on this one..

Dog Day Afternoon

The sense of urgency fades away for a brief period of time in its middle act and that's the only weak link in this masterpiece that contains gripping screenplay, brilliant execution and stellar performance working all the way up to the ladder. Sidney Lumet still needs to be a bit strict on editing part but other than that he has done a great job from his side. Al Pacino is as usual, brilliant on portraying this broken real persona and brings out the best of him without any support (he literally is a one man show in this one). Dog Day Afternoon hits hard and fast with amusing perspective that stays true till the last frame along with an intense showdown between the cat and mouse sequences in its last act that always will be the highlight of this feature.
April 12, 2018
A classic film and a joy to revisit!
March 31, 2018
It's without a doubt Pacino's finest work in a film that still holds up today utilizing a bank heist plot to tell a story that is extremely intense yet at times humorous and very charming overall showing that it's flawed characters are more complex than their actions.
March 29, 2018
B+. Brilliant acting with lots of emotion and realism. Some really touching/exciting scenes. It still left me yelling at the stupidity of the main character during hostage negotiations.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
February 13, 2018
I love the wonderful sense of New York in the 1970's that this film gives us. The characters, dialog, and shots on location in Brooklyn are all highly authentic. It's Al Pacino who really makes the film though, with a performance that is captivating and endearing. He's bumbling and ill-prepared as the leader of this bank heist, yet he's cagey and street-wise as a New York rat.

We first get a glimpse of how amateurish these criminals are when one of the three bails early on in the robbery, which is a comical moment. We also smile at Pacino's handling of the situation. He realizes the importance of the hostages he suddenly finds himself holding, but far from being heavy-handed, he tries to be decent with them. He whips the crowd up into an anti-establishment frenzy by shouting "Attica!", throwing wads of money into the air, and paying for pizza delivery. He gets into a shouting match with a police sergeant (Charles Durning). He talks to his wife, mother, and transgender lover (Chris Sarandon), and each conversation is touched with pathos, and fantastic. To his mother he says "I'm a fuck-up and I'm an outcast. If you get near me you're gonna get it. You're gonna get fucked over and fucked out." It's the outcast underdog that we find ourselves rooting for.

I love the simple acceptance of his sexuality, which is incidental and doesn't devolve into some type of stereotype - well ahead of its time. Director Sidney Lumet shows the seamy side of New York, but at the same time, its humanity. The characters are blunt, but understanding of one another when they simply say what they want. The relationships in this tense stand-off are fascinating.

I also liked how Lumet gets us into the story immediately. We learn the backstories and characters of the criminals, including Pacino's henchman (John Cazale) gradually, and in little moments, such as finding out he fears their escape plan because he's never been on an airplane before. The film works as both a hostage drama and as a character study. It may be a teeny bit too long at 125 minutes, but has held up well over the years, and is definitely worth watching.
½ January 14, 2018
A well-made bank robbery film. Great acting from Al Pacino and John Cazale. (First and only full viewing - 10/20/2010)
½ November 25, 2017
Dog Day suffers from the same pacey issues that many loquacious films of the 70s do, but in every other respect it is perfect and perfectly executed.
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