The New Centurions - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The New Centurions Reviews

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½ June 10, 2013
Before The New Centurions most cop films and TV shows presented an idealized, propagandistic vision of law enforcement. Officers like Joe Friday had an unwavering moral compass, but their morality was simplistic, very black and white. The New Centurions added the grey area to the police drama. These officers are human. They make mistakes which affect the lives of others as well as their own. The job takes them on incredible highs and new lows.

Stacey Keach plays Roy Fehler, the rookie cop who is partnered with the veteran Officer Kilvinski, played masterfully by George C. Scott. Fehler is working as a cop while he puts himself through college though not after long he's dropped his classes and has taken quite a liking to police work. Eventually the job takes its toll on Fehler, both physically and emotionally.

On the surface The New Centurions looks like many other cop stories - the idealistic rookie teamed with the grizzled veteran - but the relationship on screen isn't typical; never at any point do I recall George C. Scott saying, "I'm too old for this shit." There are many instances that feel like clichéd trappings that are soon destroyed with unexpected developments. Whether the characters on the screen or the audience, the film explicitly reminds you that complacency can have deadly consequences.

In one key scene, Kilvinski takes a stand against a slumlord. He takes the side of a group of illegal immigrants over the word of the slumlord because the immigrants are honest, hard-working people unlike the slumlord. If this scene were to play out on an episode of Dragnet or Adam-12, the immigrants would likely be detained and the slumlord given a stern talking-to. Kilvinski has his defined vision of right and wrong. He doesn't allow "it's the law" to dictate his morality like a Joe Friday. It is moments like this that elevate The New Centurions above many other police dramas.

Based upon the novel by former LAPD officer Joseph Wambaugh, the script by Stirling Silliphant* (In the Heat of the Night) allows the characters to grow on screen and never holds up the progression of the story. The story wisely avoids any kind of centralized villain. There's no big drug ring to break up, no kingpin to take down. Instead the writers and director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green) allow the individual situations add up to wear on the characters as a whole. That setup allows the story to explore various societal issues like immigration, prostitution, race relations, drug use, and more without feeling contrived. The New Centurions is a classic cop drama that has yet to get its just praise outside of its greatest admirers within the LAPD.

*Not to be confused with the Dr. Seuss character.
November 4, 2012
Gritty LA Police movie that does not feel too dated. Surprisingly good performances and some touching scenes and nice on screen romance between Stacey Keach and Rosiland Cash.
½ October 27, 2012
Gritty early 70's police film about veteran cops on the beat teaching new recruits the ropes in East LA. Erik Estrada would use this as good prep work for his upcoming hit series CHiPs.
October 8, 2012
In the danger of repeating myself in these reviews i will say it again that for my money when he was given good material Richard Fleischer made some cracking movies in the 60s and 70s.

This police thriller is a prime example of how good Fleischer could really be.
George C Scott plays Sgt Andy Kilvinski a been there see it LA cop who takes his rooky partner played by Stacy keach under his wing as we follow the rookies progress from wet behind the ears to almost burnt out hack.

The film really works when dealing with the sometimes mundane parts of poilce work interspersed with violence and soemtimes humour.
Keach is excellent as the eager to please rookie who begins to slowly turn into his mentor with a wrecked marriage and a serious booze problem .

The film is pretty hard hitting too with a very downbeat ending and lots of gloom as well in the latter stages as Kilvinski struggles to come to terms with the fact he is a has been ex cop with no life to speak of and only one way out of his mundane life.

Fleishcer is juggling lots of balls here and sometimes he drops a couple but in the main this is another winner from a director whos work is sorley neglected in my humble opinion.
July 9, 2012
Well cast 70s cop flick has veteran breaking in a rookie recruit to the beat in a tough East LA precinct. Not quite a recruiting endorsement for aspiring police officers. Film could have been better if it avoided being overdramatic in places, you knew it would end tragically. Based on a book written by a former cop.
November 2, 2011
LES FLICS NE DORMENT PAS LA NUIT en vf. Chronique sur les flics de nuit dans le Los Angeles de 1972, sur les risques du mà (C)tier et son importance dans leur vie personnelle. Assez juste et même touchant par moments. Pas un grand film mais une histoire assez attachante.
September 24, 2011
descent cop movie all star cast
September 26, 2010
Excellent movie very hard hitting George C Scott and cast at their very best.
½ October 18, 2009
This is a strange film to review.

It has a very realistic feel that kinda shows what it it's really like to be a cop.

The score is very good and really has a 70's feel to it.

It is also very well acted, George C. Scott is very subdued in this and there is one scene that shows actors how to say one thing and really convey something else.

If you are a fan of 70's styled cop films/tv you'll love it!
October 17, 2009
Extremely predictable but an ok movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 23, 2009
"The New Centurions" is a matter of fact and episodic take on policemen in Los Angeles that is overwhelmingly sympathetic to the officers and the daily grind of their unglamorous and thankless profession in changing times. As depicted, the job is unpredictable as the cops do not know what may be around the next corner, only to be prepared for the worst.(So, it is ironic that the movie tips its hand in a couple of key scenes.) Made in 1972, the film was made at a time when minorities were beginning to be hired into the ranks as the Supreme Court hands down decisions further defending rights for citizens. So, it stands for Roy Fehler(Stacy Keach), a new recruit and law student, to explain this to his fellow cops, especially Andy Kilvinski(George C. Scott), a veteran beat cop one year away from retirement, who has been partnered with Roy. It is Kilvinski's task to explain the rules to his young partner and how they can bend them without going too far, injecting a human factor into their hopefully courteous interactions with civilians. At first, Roy thinks of his job as a temporary way to provide for his family but as time goes on and he does not quit, tensions grow between him and his wife Dorothy(Jane Alexander). Even though balance is key between professional and personal lives, nobody can quite find it as the job becomes all, as the closest connections the cops have is with each other, the need to trust one's partner coming above everything else.
July 22, 2009
Incredibly dated and predictable.
July 13, 2009
An exceptional, much more mature than usual, seemingly very influential police drama, though it rather artificially (optimistically?) diffuses racial tensions, and the characterization of the wife leaves something to be desired (I'm all in favor of the new girlfriend--consider that he goes to her after getting dragged through a white picket fence by a car-driving white hooker).
½ July 6, 2009
Probably one of the best adaptations from a Joseph Wambaugh novel,It tells the harrowing story of L.A.P.D officers and their struggles to keep straight their personal and proffessional lifes and trying to keep their sanities while doing it! (One of Erik estradas first roles)
June 14, 2009
I don't think I've ever seen a better cop flick. This is a brutally honest portrayal of the cops that policed the seedy street's of Los Angeles during the 1970s. Stacy Keach and George C. Scott are both amazing in this. And I'm once again reminded that they are two of the finest American character actors of all time.

A believable, gritty and moving film. Richard Fleischer never made a finer movie. And I always thought that "The French Connection" was the best cop movie ever made....
June 10, 2009
This is director Richard Fleischer's masterpiece, it is also the best damn cop movie ever made. George C. Scott and Stacy Keach are both spot on. Their performances are both believable and layered. "The New Centurions" is a brutally honest and bleak look at L.A. and the men who policed it in the 70s.
½ January 20, 2009
Gritty early 70's police film about veteran cops on the beat teaching new recruits the ropes in East LA. Erik Estrada would use this as good prep work for his upcoming hit series CHiPs.
December 31, 2008
A top rate police procedural from Joe Waumbaugh's book.
December 22, 2008
A watchable (if predictable) cop drama set in 60's era Los Angeles, the performances are decent and the only thing I'd really hold against this film is the fact that it now feels somewhat familiar.

Realistically, this film most likely predates most things I've seen that make it feel familiar, so that's not exactly a reasonable detriment to hold against it.

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