Fort Apache, the Bronx - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fort Apache, the Bronx Reviews

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½ April 12, 2015
As a big fan of Newman, I was looking forward to this, the story is simply about the life and times of a policeman in the Bronx and all of the crimes and so on.

The story itself is dull and meaningless, quite a bit of murder and drugs but with little purpose in the story. Most of the characters are cocky tough guys, it sends a very dark message about the Bronx.

In the end I was glad it was over, the film had no message, the story was nothing special at all, daft ending. It was almost like it was written purely to put Newman in a police uniform except they hadn't thought of a decent story. Or maybe it was simply trying to showcase what a shit-hole the Bronx was.
April 10, 2015
The message gets in the way of this action/drama.
December 15, 2013
A utterly engaging hard-boiled cop story..a gritty look and very realistic rendition of the Bronx in the 70s..A tough story topped by an excellent cast.

Truly worth watching
½ November 5, 2013
At the 41st Police Precinct in the South Bronx 18-year veteran Murphy (Paul Newman) is pretty much on auto pilot, looking to be a good cop, but also determined to do it with as little aggravation as possible by combining good police work with a social conscience. When new Police Chief Connolly (Ed Asner) come in and intends to get the cop killer who shot two rookie cops, the neighborhood begins to rebel with rioting against the police force and Fort Apache, the nickname for the 41st Precinct because to those who work there, it feels like an army outpost in foreign territory (an allusion to Fort Apache out of the Old West). Connely mandates arrests to be made regardless of infractions in order to find the killer responsible for the police murders, but when Murphy sees fellow officer Morgan (Danny Aiello) murder an innocent man, he must address his conscience to decide to confront his fellow cop. Given that his girl/pal Dominican nurse Isabella (Rachel Ticotin) is shooting drugs only adds to the internal conflict Murphy goes through having to balance his sense of right with community solidarity...

"Fort Apache, The Bronx" is an uneven dark, depressing and partly hopeless tale of the long arm of the law in the largely devastated wasteland of the South Bronx. NYC in the early 80s was gritty and filled with all sorts of characters, thus the glitzy clean city scape of NYC today is something else. The former was of course a great setting to make a movie about cops in a part which was infamous at the time of being quite dangerous. We get a close up of poverty, despair, racism, drugs, prostitution, police corruption, violence and the mentality of a place under siege. Paul Newman´s Murphy tries to do his job, but his conscience is in a constant conflict, and Newman does a great job to portray Murphy. Ken Wahl is good as his partner, Ed Asner is good as the Captain, Danny Aiello works well as the corrupt and violent Morgan, Rachel Ticotin (such a beautiful actress) is good as Isabella and it´s interesting to see Pam Grier tackle the drugged out prostitute Charlotte. I do agree to some of the critique I have red, that it´s not fully balanced and there´s no real plot. It feels more like a set of events stitched together. I do like the analogy of the precinct being like "Fort Apache" and I also do like to re-see the good old NYC cop uniforms from the early 80s. "Fort Apache, The Bronx" has great acting in it, but miss out on a more worked out plot line to really satisfy.
May 13, 2013
Typically hard-edged NYC cop film of the era. Shot on location and makes the Bronx looks like a war-zone. Faced its share of litigation and protests but good cast delivers overall, although lasting impact is somewhat depressing.
November 16, 2012
Niin aikansa elänyt ettei ole tosikaan.
October 27, 2012
Gritty cop film set in a tough New York neighbourhood that was sort of like watching a special two hour season finale of Hill Street Blues with better acting from Paul Newman.
½ October 10, 2011
I don't know, I expected alot more from a Newman film.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2011
It may have been released in 1981, but this film sure has the look, feel, and sounds of the 1970s all over, and that's just fine by me. This is a gritty, cynical, yet still entertaining film about a nistly decent but burnt out veteran beat cop dealing with the continually worsening decay that has overtaken The Bronx.

The film is somewhat of a character study, and it has a very loose, episodic flow, instead of a rigidly structured plot. I think this helps the film. However, there are a few scenes that feel like they've been suddenly cut short, and the transitions between them feel really abrupt and choppy. Aside from that though, I don't have too many other issues. I mean the film is guilty of numerous genre cliches, but what film isn't?

Newman does a pretty good and believable job in the lead. As his love interest, a nurse who also happens to be a junkie, Rachel Ticotin is okay, but not really excellent or anything. Pam Grier (who sadly doesn't have as much screen time as I had hoped) has a small but memorable supporting role as a junkie prostitute/murderer. She does a really good job, and exhibits some fine method acting. Her memoir gives some intersting details about how she prepared for this movie, as well as some good information about it in general. Asner, Wahl, and Aiello are also all likewise decent.

What works best here though, is the location shooting, and the cinematography. It was shot on location throughout The Bronx, and things look quite realistic, run down and grimy. There's some really good long deep focus shots and some nice lighting and framing here as well. As much as I liked this movie, I can't say I'd want to visit that place during that time. I liked the music, but I could have used more of it.

Give this one a shot. The critics seem to miss the point with this one. Yeah, it's not really innovative, but it's pretty decently made, has great atmosphere, look, mood, and tone, the performances are good, and it's pretty watchable and entertaining. What more, really, could you ask for?
½ July 15, 2011
An exciting crime drama flick
October 26, 2010
Paul Newman does a great job of acting a role; the problem with this film is the story which is forgettable.
½ September 9, 2010
'15 minutes from Manhattan there's a place where even the cops fear to tread.'

'No Cowboys, No Indians, No Cavalry To The Rescue, Only A Cop.'

Corelli: That's a nice coat. How'd you like me to cut it open, let all the rats out.
Pimp: This coat cost more than you make in a year, motherfucker.
Murphy: He knows your name.
Corelli: Told you I was famous.

Connolly: What's all this Indian junk?
Heffernan: Well, you know the precinct is nicknamed 'Fort Apache'...
Applebaum: The men put that up, Captain. Guy goes on vacation, he brings back some kind of souvenir, you know?
Connolly: It makes the place look like a fraternity house... take it down, lieutenant.
Applebaum: It's not a good idea, Captain.
Connolly: And let's see about getting this place painted.
Heffernan: Well that's kind of a problem, painters won't come up here.
Connolly: We'll have to get all those civilians out from in front of the precinct.
Applebaum: We can't do that.
Connolly: [stops, turns and looks Applebaum in the eye] Excuse me?
Applebaum: This is the only place the old folks can go without getting mugged. See, it's not a police station, it's a fort in hostile territory, you understand?
Heffernan: [agreeing] 'Fort Apache'.

Morgan: [after Murphy failed to shoot down a purse snatcher who outran him] You'll catch a heart attack before you catch a nigger, Tarzan.
Corelli: What's his problem?
Murphy: He thinks I'm a liberal.

Murphy: You want to go out tonight, have a drink?
Isabella: Two hundred cops ask me out every day. Why should I say yes to you?
Murphy: Cause you say yes to all the others.
Isabella: Well I guess that makes you the only cop in the Bronx I say no to.
June 5, 2010
This movie could have been great. Newman, as always, lights up the screen. I worked in this South Bronx neighborhood from '05-'09 and felt there were lush cinematic moments that truly captured the complex textures of the neighborhood. The main plot-line is never truly resolved, a la Citizen Kane, and I think that is brilliant given the world the film tries to capture. I enjoyed the film but thought it was bogged down by a lack of focus and its regressions to the world of TV cop procedural.
March 25, 2010
This would be a good double feature with Brooklyn's Finest one day . . . great cast and a nice rare mix of humor & drama & tragedy that they don't seem to attempt anymore . . .
February 12, 2010
Paul Newman gives yet another outstanding performance in this police drama. The movie also has a well done script and some good supporting performances. Definitely check this film out.
February 7, 2010
solid story of police corruption.starring paul newman
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2010
A controversial and powerful drama starring Paul Newman in a performance that is nothing short of brilliant, he plays a tough, tired veteran Police Officer on the beat in the squalid, largely devastated wasteland of the South Bronx of New York City in the early 1980s, where murder, drugs, prostitution, riots, corruption and indifference are part of every day life. Superb supporting performances by Ed Asner, Ken Wahl, Rachel Ticotin, Danny Aiello, and Pam Grier. A unforgettable look at the demoralization of the lower classes in a hellish urban territory. Highly Recommended.
½ November 28, 2009
quite a memorable film but a little too long and slow.
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2009
Cynical but entertaining police drama where the real villain is 70's New York.
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