Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A to Z Challenge - D is for Don't Rob a Bank in Brooklyn

The fourth day of the A to Z challenge and letter D is the gritty true life drama from 1975, Dog Day Afternoon.  Staring Al Pacino and the great John Cazale in a movie that shows reality is stranger than fiction.  The film is based on a true story.  In 1972 an attempted bank robbery happened in Brooklyn. The reason for the robbery was for one of the robbers to get money to have his partner get a sex change operation.

The movie shows how everything goes wrong from the very start.  From little money being in the bank since they robbed it after the daily cash pickup.  Then in an attempt to destroy records and steal traveler's cheques, they start a fire which then gets the police called in.  Now they have to take the employees hostage.

This is one of the standard gritty dramas that became the standard during the decade and is done well. This is Al Pacino during the peak of his acting before he became a caricature of himself.  Sorry, but this true.  The time between The Godfather and Scarface are his most memorial great roles, with the exception of Glengary Glen Ross.  And the great John Cazale, the only actor to act in an Academy Award nominated Best Picture for all his films.  Remember he was with Al Pacino in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, and was in The Conversation and The Deer Hunter.  Three of those films won Best Picture.  And they had a flashback of him in The Godfather Part III, another nominated film, so even in death John Cazale can only appear in great films.

And this is one of those great films.  The acting is great and combined with a strong screenplay, which was the only Oscar the film won, makes this an enjoyable film from start to finish.  For me I really like the unpolished nature of the bank robbers.  Too many times you see films where the bank robbers are all slick and smooth, professionals who know the exact second the police will show up and get out the door just before they arrive.  Not this film, this movie takes the reality of what went wrong and puts it up on the screen.

The 1970's was one of the greatest decades for Hollywood, with only the 1930's being a bit better.  But after enough time for the dust to settle of the end of the code, films used their new found freedom and made good movies like this one.  Try and catch it sometime, you won't regret it.


  1. Another one to add to my list.

  2. I remember seeing Dog Day Afternoon in the theater when it first came out. Great to see another passionate movie fan doing a blog! Mine is a movie review blog as well, A Movie for Every Mood: LINK, and for the challenge I'm focusing on films that won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Looking forward to seeing what you select for the rest of your films!

    1. That is such a great idea focusing on Best Original Screenplay! Soon as I have a chance I will read them, but I have seen all the ones you've done for the A to Z challenge, so it will be interesting to see what you think of those films.

  3. Great film that I must revisit. I have not seen this in years..a couple of decades at least actually. I agree with everything you have written here and most of Pacino's later works are not all that great...they're good, but not great