Dog Day Afternoon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dog Day Afternoon Reviews

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½ April 18, 2017
A fantastic movie all around. Fantastic performance by Pacino, great characterization all throughout, and a fascinating story all make for a tense, funny, and engaging movie.
March 16, 2017
The second Al Pacino and Sidney Lumet film I have seen in a row and unlike Serpico which I liked but felt somewhat cold towards I am struggling to find anything major to dislike about this film. Pacino is great as Sonny and the rest of the cast also put in solid performances, it is edited really well, I like the fact that the film manages to up the tension and keep the plot moving at a quick pace while being situated in one area for the majority of the films length, unusually there is no score which actually is to the benefit of the film as the script is so well written and dark in its humour that a score would take away from the scenes that go from aggressive, to funny and then all the way back to poignant. I can see why this is considered a classic from the 70s and is easily one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far.
March 6, 2017
An absolute masterpiece from start to finish. Decades ahead of its time in terms of depicting LGBT characters while also being funny, thrilling, and touching all at the same time.
It is hands down the greatest work of Sidney Lumet.
½ February 23, 2017
Quite an aggressive and yet fairly humorous portrayal of this event that happened in Brookland in 1972. It is certainly quite raunchy with the cussing for a 70s film. While a bit slow at times, it does have it's rare surprising moments.
January 30, 2017
viewed on 12/9/04 (Sun)

I have always perceived this movie as a heavy social commentary tale. The first half turns out to be rather funny. Two bank robbers run into some outrageous hiccups while robbing the bank. An accomplice backed out in the last minute. One bank robber tries to be smart and burns a register in a bin. The smoke attracts a passer-by, risking being caught. After going through all the trouble, the bank vault is actually left with a small sum of money only. Then, without a clue, they are on national TV, surrounded by police, TV media reporters, a huge crowd and ... gay supporters. Al Pacino's character is a bisexual who is married to a chubby woman with two kids and has a guy he claims to be his wife. He robs the bank for his sex change operation. It is afterall a comedy?

Not really. The second half sees the movie declines into darker depths. It ends in a tragedy. I really hope the movie will end with a lighter note. It feels unbalanced.

Based on true events so I kind of cannot complain much.

Rating: B
January 27, 2017
Who sings the song during the scenery Montage in the first 3 minutes?
December 30, 2016
On Al Pacino's cocksure performance alone, Dog Day Afternoon is worth your time. As for how the real story of his character -- a mediocre bank robber turned local TV star of the day -- is told, picture a freshly sharpened knife being used over the course of several years, still sharp enough to cut but noticeably duller. Director Sidney Lumet and screenwriter Frank Pierson search to agree on a single point of view, as they examine different dimensions to the day-long tale. And in many isolated scenes, they really are on point when it comes to media scrutiny, crowd mentality, contemporary relations with authority figures, etc. Speaking of contemporary times, you gotta give some credit to the two for detailing a truthful relationship between Sonny (Pacino) and his to-be-transsexual wife Leon (Chris Sarandon). Sonny knows how to play a show, and so does Pacino. There is a catch to empathizing for Sonny, under Lumet's vision. By the ending, we lose some of the important context that Sonny and his partner Sal (John Cazale) have been holding several people as hostages for the entirety of the day, outright saying to each other that, if necessary, they are ready to kill. This is intentional for the final twist to come out of nowhere, and in its execution, a job well done. Who do I care about then? Hostages, certainly, I want them to be safe. The police, fuck them. The FBI, goddamn, fuck them! The bank robbers, um... They deserve punishment, but be easy on them...? A good true story to snag, with great dark humour bolstered by Pacino, but, if Lumet wanted to complete his analysis on small felony justice, he may have fared better by taking inspiration from the story instead.
November 22, 2016
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 homosexual 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. And Pacino does a good job of not playing to homosexual stereotypes and delivering a character who is gay and different, but not flamboyant. But I didn't like how gross and unappealing all the characters become. Aesthetically, the film is poor. It's a boring, blank bank with unattractive, 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 where the police trick his friend, shoot him in the head and clear the bus. 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.
½ November 21, 2016
The remarkable thing going on in Dog Day Afternoon is the fact that it transforms into so many different types of stories that I did not see coming from the beginning. In the early parts of the film, I thought it was going to be a simple story about a bank robbery gone wrong. In reality, that is exactly what we get for the first act. Then things start to transition and it becomes almost a satire of how the media spins a story like this, and how people can idolize a sympathetic criminal. What I never saw coming was the explanation of why Sonny is committing the crime. That twist was hidden from us for at least half of the film, and when it is revealed it amazed me. Dog Day Afternoon was so ahead of its time, and it doesn't approach the topic in an offensive or mean-spirited way. Of course this is just a subplot to the main story, and whenever it got back to the simple hostage crisis I wasn't nearly as impressed with the movie. The conclusion had the stakes set high, and built up a lot of tension. Unfortunately, I think they telegraphed the ending a little too much, so it didn't pay off with a finale that lived up to all that came before. However, I have to hand it to Dog Day Afternoon for being progressive, and Al Pacino for delivering a superb performance.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2016
Everything about this movie (the direction, performances, the editing, etc.) seem to have been done in a protracted state of heightened brilliance. The result is damn near flawless. Easily Pacino's best performance as it bridges his early great subtle work with his more uneven, but still engaging, over-the-top roles he's known for now.
October 21, 2016
Al Pacino, John Cazale and the supporting cast all flow in tense, oddball and light comedic moments during each scene of it's 2+ hour run time. 'Dog Day Afternoon' is a fantastic film and is a classic showcase of Pacino's range and Cazale's small yet successful film directory.
½ September 12, 2016
Based on a true story, Al Pacino is riveting as the main character who is Both an egomaniac and lunatic. This was a poorly planned robbery turned circus that due to poor hostages went on for hours. The story gets weirder as it goes on with the revelation of a transsexual love triangle. Also, some of the hostages and media seem to start to like The robbers as they treat the hostages with respect. The tension was well held through out as you never knew what was coming, but I couldn't help feel it was missing something especially towards the later half. I knew as soon as the fbi got in on it playing mr nice guy with this madman was over.
½ September 7, 2016
Mr. Pacino is riveting in this film, possessed with a madcap dynamism to play a strange, suspicious character who is both of self-assured and self-loathing.
August 25, 2016
If you have been a fan of any Al Pacino role and you have not seen Dog Day Afternoon, you have not yet experienced all that Al Pacino can offer. Dog Day Afternoon is by far Al Pacino's best work, and yes, I've seen The Godfather films. Sidney Lumet's 1975 feature Dog Day Afternoon showcases a depth of Al Pacino that I was unaware existed. Also starring John Cazale, Dog Day Afternoon explores the debilitating feeling of being torn in two directions by the world around you. The crisis one may confront by not being able to live their identity pushes Al Pacino's Sonny to rob a bank in order to get the money for his lover's sex-change operation. Gritty, true, and soul-crushing, Lumet proves his directorial force while bringing out the best in Al Pacino to illustrate the depths one will go through to save himself by saving those around him.

On a hot summer day in Brooklyn, New York, Sonny (Al Pacino) and Sal (John Cazale) set out to execute their plan to rob the Chase Manhattan Bank. After weeks of mulling over their plans, coordinating delivery times, casing the outside and learning the best times to attract the least amount of attention, they finally enter the bank. Sonny is at a time of extreme desperation in his life. He is in a listless marriage to his wife and two kids, and he desperately wants to rob enough money from the bank to afford his partner Leon's (Chris Sarandon) sex change operation so the two may live together full-time. Sal, the understated partner in crime, a listless man seems to have no direction in his life and is easily brought into the scheme by the promise of riches from the heist. The bank manager and teller staff agree to not interfere with the robbery, even helping the downtrodden robbers as best as they can. Thinking it will be a quick in and out affair, Sonny and Sal are rushing through the job until they realize that there is little money in the bank, as a majority of the money was taken out of the bank that same afternoon. Before they can escape, a call comes in from the police department that they have the bank surrounded. What began as a robbery quickly develops into a hostage situation as Sonny sees his plans foil all around him. Eventually, feeling sorry for the men who continuously vow not to hurt anyone, if they even could, a kinship develops between Sonny, Sal, and the bank employees. Now seeing the only way out as a jet out of the country in exchange for the safe release of hostages, Sonny unwillingly turns into a captor continuously negotiating the release of hostages and listing demands. At the depths of his own despair, Sonny prepares for the worst while hoping that he can still manage to make a life out of the mess he had before he ever stepped into the bank.

This is one of those films that you watch and you hardly realize there are any other actors in it besides Al Pacino, he steals the show that much. Within the first 10 minutes, you could see the nuance brimming over the top of Pacino's characterization of Sonny. The most incredible part of this film, which also shows the directorial prowess of Sidney Lumet was that by the 10-minute mark, the duo had already entered the bank. A film that jumps into the action so early in the film also falls victim to poor pacing, especially considering that this is a film that takes place largely in one place. The pacing was never a problem in Dog Day Afternoon; each wrenching minute that elapsed emerged the audience even deeper into the mindset of Sonny and the desperation he was experiencing. I am a huge fan of films that take place in one setting, and I never thought I would like one more than I liked 12 Angry Men, also by Sidney Lumet, (obviously it's time for me to watch even more of his films) but Dog Day Afternoon takes the crown of best one setting film, in my book anyway. One setting films are so hard to do well, oftentimes, they come off stiff or too theatre-like, but Lumet knew what he was doing behind a camera leaving audiences with the best in the genre. You feel the desperation of Pacino's portrayal in such a way that stays with you days after viewing. Dog Day Afternoon is a standout, more than earning all of its critical acclaims. What a miss for Pacino from the Academy that year!
½ August 22, 2016
One of those films that I could say "What a solid performance!!". Definitely excellent performances especially by Al Pacino. Him and Charles Durning, such fantastic chemistry to both of them. It makes the film more intensifying, and it feels realistic. Not to mention those polices and the crowd gatherings surrounding the area with guarding helicopters above. It's just surreal. The authenticity of this one is super solid and it feels like a real hostage taking is going on. Given it happened in real life. One of those Al Pacino performances that you would never forget. He's like this crazy, humorous guy that matches his expressions, he's just unbelievable in this film. The only flaw that I saw on this one, are those slow dramatic moments inside the bank which is kinda unnecessary, which still it says the side of the hostages. I kinda dig it.But the best parts were Sonny and Detective Moretti interrogation scenes. I thought those scenes are funny and badass. I super love this film definitely one of my top films.
½ August 14, 2016
A fair motion picture, DOG DAY AFTERNOON is well done emotionally, but fails to fully satisfy an audience member. I'll just put it this way, Sidney Lumet made better movies: Fail-Safe, The Anderson Tapes, and the greatest film ever made, Network.
August 2, 2016
One of my all-time favs, Dog Day Afternoon is an important mark on film history, and proves the power of what a filmmaker can truly convey through their storytelling. Well-acted, well-written, well-directed, well... It's amazing. Absolutely amazing.
July 31, 2016
An initially light-hearted heist turns dark thanks to the performances of Al Pacino and John Cazale. Cemented by the fact that this is based on a true story.
½ July 22, 2016
From the moment it begins with Amoreena from Elton John to the very end it is wonderful story-telling. The film wastes zero time betting right into the botched bank robbery. Pacino is at his peak and the direction is fantastic making the whole retelling of the story extremely believable. Appropriately nominated for many awards. It also provides a visceral snapshot of New York in mid-70s hot summer.
July 20, 2016
what can i say about dog day afternoon i could talk about it all day long but ill make it short.the film is amazing it was so compelling and i was on the edge of my seat the whole time and its over forty years old and still holds up.this is one of many reasons why Al pacino is known as one of the greatest actors of all time!.
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