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Dog Day Afternoon
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Product Description

A gripping true crime yarn, a juicy slice of overheated New York atmosphere, and a splendid showcase for its young actors, Dog Day Afternoon is a minor classic of the 1970s. The opening montage of New York street life (set to Elton John's lazy "Amoreena") establishes the oppressive mood of a scorching afternoon in the city with such immediacy that you can almost smell the garbage baking in the sun and the water from the hydrants evaporating from the sizzling pavement. Al Pacino plays Sonny, who, along with his rather slow-witted accomplice Sal (John Cazale, familiar as Pacino's Godfather brother Fredo), holds hostages after a botched a bank robbery. Sonny finds himself transformed into a rebel celebrity when his standoff with police (including lead negotiator Charles Durning) is covered live on local television. The movie doesn't appear to be about anything in particular, but it really conveys the feel of wild and unpredictable events unfolding before your eyes, and the whole picture is so convincing and involving that you're glued to the screen. An Oscar winner for original screenplay, Dog Day Afternoon was also nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor (Chris Sarandon, as a surprise figure from Sonny's past), editing, and director (Sidney Lumet of Serpico, Prince of the City, The Verdict, and Running on Empty). --Jim Emerson

A gripping true crime yarn, a juicy slice of overheated New York atmosphere, and a splendid showcase for its young actors, Dog Day Afternoon is a minor classic of the 1970s. The opening montage of New York street life (set to Elton John's lazy "Amoreena") establishes the oppressive mood of a scorching afternoon in the city with such immediacy that you can almost smell the garbage baking in the sun and the water from the hydrants evaporating from the sizzling pavement. Al Pacino plays Sonny, who, along with his rather slow-witted accomplice Sal (John Cazale, familiar as Pacino's Godfather brother Fredo), holds hostages after a botched a bank robbery. Sonny finds himself transformed into a rebel celebrity when his standoff with police (including lead negotiator Charles Durning) is covered live on local television. The movie doesn't appear to be about anything in particular, but it really conveys the feel of wild and unpredictable events unfolding before your eyes, and the whole picture is so convincing and involving that you're glued to the screen. An Oscar winner for original screenplay, Dog Day Afternoon was also nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor (Chris Sarandon, as a surprise figure from Sonny's past), editing, and director (Sidney Lumet of Serpico, Prince of the City, The Verdict, and Running on Empty). --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • A Modern Classic of 1970s Filmmaking that Deserves a Better DVD!
    After a very successful collaboration on SERPICO, Sidney Lumet and Al Pacino did everyone a favor and teamed up again to make DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Together, both films comprise some of the best work of the early 1970s. The only shame is that, despite the films' critical acclaim, the DVD releases of both films leave much to be desired.

    But, regardless of the quality of the DVD transfer and the lack of features, this film finds both Pacino and Lumet at the height of their powers. DOG DAY AFTERNOON begins with the stark realism that I have come to expect from Lumet. There is nothing hyped about his style: there is not an ounce of Hollywood. Many directors, upon getting a hold of a "bank robbery" script, would have gone hog wild: special effects, quirky plot devices, etc.. Instead, we suddenly find ourselves on the streets of New York in the 1970s. You really feel like you're there. It is not a special day; in fact, it could be any day of the week. And yet, two men are about to change their lives forever. For it's closing time at the bank and they have one last stop to make.

    Their plan was perfect. They were going to rob the bank around closing time and they knew all of the tricks of the trade. But slowly, and surely, their plan begins to unwind. Everything goes to hell in a matter of minutes. After taking way too much time, Pacino discovers that the armored car has already emptied the bank's vaults, leaving our two robbers with nothing but a little petty cash for their troubles. By then, the cops have arrived. The rest of the story is about watching Pacino's character unfold, a character that has little to gain and nothing to lose. Sonny (Pacino) is one of the most interesting characters in all of cinema and there is a reason that, of all Pacino's performances, this is one of his most memorable.

    DOG DAY AFTERNOON also provides a nice critique of the media, as the media becomes entranced with the bank robbery. The scenes in which Pacino "works" the crowd, despite holding several hostages, is magnificent, inspiring the film's most famous line: "Attica! Attica!" For many in the city of New York, Sonny is their hero. He is tired, fed-up, and marginalized by society because of his bisexuality. Of course, the fame can only last so long, for when the media and crowd learn of his bisexual relations, they turn on him in an instant. It is fascinating to watch the hostages at the bank become excited and wrapped up in the idea of being on television--so much so that they choose to stay in the bank rather than be set free!

    DOG DAY AFTERNOON ends the way it begins: not with a bang, but with a whisper, and the same stark realism that opens the film sees it through to its conclusion. If you haven't seen DOG DAY AFTERNOON, I suggest that you remedy it. Check this film out. You won't be disappointed. ...more info
  • Pacino's best performance!
    Though brilliant in The Godfather (I and II), Pacino's best performance of his career was in this film. In the Godfather films, there was a lot of talent all around him. In Dog Day Afternoon, Pacino carried the movie. Admittedly, he did have some help from John Cazale, who was terrific though understated.

    It's a great movie; a true classic. There have been lots of other movies about bank heists and hostage situations, but this is the king of them all. ...more info
  • Funny, sad, poignant . . . an emotional rollercoaster
    Based on a true story, Al Porcino, in need of $2,700 so his homosexual lover Leon (Chris Sarandon) can have a sex-change operation, holds up a bank in Brooklyn with a dimwit friend (played by John Cazale); a half-hour knockover turns into a day-and-a-half fiasco. Porcino is great as the half-crazed Sonny who suddenly has a hundred responsibilities thrust in his lap: bank hostages, the media, the police, his wife (played by Susan Peretz), Leon, his mother - everything. It's a disaster.

    Charles Durning gives a stellar performance as the police detective in charge, as does Cazale, who is perfect as Sonny's accomplice who is in way over his head (he thinks Wyoming is another country). The movie has a perfect NYC feel to it, with the large crowds forming outside the bank and immediately siding with Porcino ("Attica! Attica!").

    The only fault is that it goes on a tad too long; the last half-hour or so begins to drag - it's as if the results are already realized and the jig is up and they are just going through the motions to the conclusion. We're allowed to get inside Porcino's character, though, and see he's a good guy - but also a very troubled man. As we realize he's more a victim himself than a victimizer, he becomes a truly tragic figure, one we can honestly sympathize with. An excellent movie; definitely worth a watch....more info
  • It's all True "Attica, Attica"
    The New York Bank Robbery of Sonny Wortizk on August 22, 1972 caught the attention of Sthe legendary Sidney Lumet to direct the 1975 classic crime drama "Dog Day Afternoon" Starring the great Al Pacino as Sonny and Godfather co star John Calaze as his acoplise Sal. It's a robbery for a sex change operation for Sonny's lover Leon, a robbery that should of taken 10 minutes but it turns out to be the hottest thing on live TV. A Brilliant true story crime drama, gripping and very funny entertainment, a classic that no other film is like, Pacino is a knockout in this felony film that features the unforgettable scene with the unforgettable line when Sonny yells out to the crowd surrounded by cops "ATTICA, ATTICA"...more info
  • As Good As Pacino Gets
    Thirty years after "Dog Day Afternoon" was made, both Al Pacino's performance and the rest of the movie hold up extremely well. I had forgotten just how good everyone and everything connected with this movie are, from the direction of Sidney Lumet to the performances of the most minor of the actors.

    This film is based on a true story of a most inexperienced criminal wanna-be who attempted to rob a bank on a sultry August day in 1972 in Brooklyn, New York where nothing goes right from the very beginning. One of the three robbers bails out immediately, and Sonny (Al Pacino) tips off a man across the street from the bank as to what is going on by setting on fire some bank documents. He's really such a good boy at heart though, in spite of his posturing, making sure that all the bank hostages get to go to the bathroom, by tipping the pizza delivery person and warning everybody in the bank that "I'm a Catholic and I don't want to hurt anybody." His motives for robbery are noble as well. He needed the money to pay for the surgery to make his boy friend into a woman. Never mind that his real-life wife and children wound up in welfare.

    In spite of the seriousness of what is going on-- it really isn't a good idea to rob banks so we suspect that Sonny and his pal Sal will not escape to Algeria as is their plan-- there are many comic moments to this bungled affair. One of my favorites is when asked by Sonny what foreign country he wants to escape to, the taciturn Sal (John Cazale) selects Wyoming.

    I do not remember what movie this one competed with but it was nominated for six Academy Awards including best actor. I suspect that Pacino should have won....more info
  • "Attica! Attica! Remember Attica?"
    AL Pacino is one of the greates actors of our time, and cetrainly ahs been the highlight of every film he's been in, even in this year's 88 Minutes. And so he outdoes himself once again in his best performance, which is the chronicle of a what-should-have-taken-ten-minutes bank robbery.

    The movie is inspired by August 22nd 1972, the day two bank robbers had attempted to rob a bank. Sonny and Sal, two robbers, attempt to rob a bank in Manhattan, to get money for Sonny's lover's sex change operation. However, although all the employees agree not interfere with the robbery, it turns out there isn't much to steal, as most of the money has been picked up for the day. Things go from bad to worse when Sonny gets called by the police and is let know that every officer in New York is surrounding the bank.

    Dog Day Afternoon is one of my all time favorite films- it is very simple, has very little violence in it and yet the performances are VERY real. Al Pacino gives his best performance here, and everyone definitely makes this film feel real for sure.

    Overall, this is one of my favorite films and is truly a great classic- see it!...more info
  • An incredible movie
    Al Pacino is just outstanding in Dog Day Afternoon. He expresses so many different emotions in this movie, which allows us to see how talented he really is. It is almost scary how heated he gets in some of the scenes with the police. There are great actors cast, along with an excellent screenplay. I enjoyed this movie very much and would recommend it to anyone. If you are an Al Pacino fan like myself, you must see this movie....more info
  • Still "Dogging' Us Almost 35 Years Later
    Here's a modern-day "classic" that endures, is still extremely interesting thanks once again to Al Pacino's intense performance and some humor mixed in with a tense crime story. I think first-time viewers still enjoy this movie as much as theater-goers did when they first saw it almot 35 years ago.

    This was supposedly a true-life event which makes it all the more interesting. The only warning I would give parents is the profanity gets a little rough at times, especially with Charles Durning, the negotiating cop who uses the Lord's name in vain about every other sentence.

    All the other characters were definitely interesting, especially Pacino's partner "Sal" (John Cazale). "Sal" doesn't have to say much; just the looks on his face say a lot. The story certainly is a memorable one and a big hit when it came out.

    Notes: The character " Sheldon" is played by James Broderick, the father of Matthew Broderick. Casale died a few years after this film was made.
    ...more info
  • Entertaining - An Improvement From Lumet's 'Serpico'
    Well-done, tense drama of a botched bank robbery in Brooklyn in which two misfits commit one absurd blunder after another and turn a criminal act into a three-ring circus, what with the police, crowds and the media swarming upon the bank to observe the comedy of errors.

    Al Pacino is superb as Sonny who wants the money to finance a sex-change operation for his transsexual lover (well done by Chris Sarandon). Aiding and abetting Sonny is half-wit Sal (John Cazale in a solid characterization) who chooses Wyoming as a foreign country destination for a safe haven. Charles Durning scores as Detective Moretti who spars with Sonny throughout the afternoon and arranges "safe" passage for him and Sal to JFK and their would-be flight to freedom. There are snippets of dialogue from the 1956 feature film, "The Lone Ranger", that is heard in the background during the hostage standoff inside the bank. Ironic because the Ranger's law-and-order message falls on deaf criminal ears during the commission of the felony.

    Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominated direction is sharp throughout. Based on actual events, "Dog Day Afternoon" is another great winner from the 1970s, Hollywood's second Golden Age. 5 stars out of 5....more info

  • Exhausted
    Al Pacino plays a bisexual bank robber in love with a man who needs a sex change. Al is in his twenties for this film, at the beginning of his career, around his first Godfather film. He is not the stoic mobster in this flick. He is sensitive, screwed up, and angry. I've never seen Pacino this vulnerable. Brooklyn is exploding with post-Vietnam trauma. The cops are stupid and clumsy. The neighborhood kids are high and bored. The new TV culture is on the street making the botched robbery a classic hostage study, a Stockholm Syndrome of American stupidity. The acting is so good; you swear you're watching a documentary. The fat wife is screaming. The idiot mother is crying. The gay lover is sprung from a mental hospital. America is at war with itself in 1972, panic in the streets. Sidney Lument has created a flawed masterpiece of suspense with the Oscar winning script by Frank Pierson. My two complaints: not sure why the wonderful character actor John Cazale (he died so young in real life) was considered so dangerous. The film was forty minutes too long with screaming phone conversations....more info
  • You can never have too much classic Pacino!
    This Sidney Lumet classic is the third in the trio of classic Al Pacino movies I love dearly and never get tired of watching. The other two are "Serpico", (which was also directed by Lumet), and "Scarface".

    One hot sunny August afternoon in 1972, three bumbling and inept robbers attempt to take the First Brooklyn Savings Bank. Things start to go wrong within the first ten minutes of them entering the bank and in no time at all, the cops are out front, the media is out front and a noisy crowd gathers out front for good measure. A robbery that should have taken no longer than 10 minutes turns into an all-night sideshow and the hottest thing on live TV.

    Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, the leader of the two-man gang (there was a third man but he couldn't handle the pressure and scampered off less than five minutes into the raid) that needs the money for, among other things that are never made clear, Sonny's boyfriend (played by Chris Sarandon) who needs a sex change operation. Sonny and Sal (played by John Cazale) seem totally lost as their whole plan just seems to disintegrate around them. The action switches between the growing claustrophobia within the bank, where Sonny and Sal are holding bank employees hostage and the mayhem outside led by the corpulent and co-operative chief police negotiator, played by Charles Durning.

    At times the movie is tense action thriller, at times comedy and at times pure farce. "Attica! Attica!" Sonny screams outside the bank at one point, alluding to an incident earlier that year at the infamous maximum-security prison where some prisoners had apparently been killed. The crowd goes wild, roaring their support for someone who has somehow become something of a local celebrity. At another point, Sonny asks to see his wife and kids. It's the boyfriend who's eventually brought by police escort. At another point we see gay activists waving banners of support. Brave people, considering this was New York City in 1972, just 3 years after Stonewall.

    The movie earned six Oscar nominations in 1975 including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and one apiece for Al Pacino (his fourth) and Chris Sarandon. The movie is based on a magazine article by P. F. Kluge & Thomas Moore.

    That day, August 22nd, 1972 will go down in history as one the 250 cops, the F.B.I., the 8 hostages and the 2,000 Brooklyn onlookers will never forget. You won't forget it either, once you've seen this unmissable Pacino classic.
    ...more info
  • This movie is so good!
    This movie rocks! You should definitely buy it!...more info
  • Dog Day Afternoon
    Great movie, one of Pacino's best, bye it now...more info
  • Great Great Movie
    Al Pacino is one of my favorite actors and he gives an inspired performance in an extremely strange true story of a bank robbery. He plays Sonny who decides to rob a bank with the help of his somewhat half-witted friend Sal, played by John Cazale, another great actor from The Godfather (in fact they are the same pair that had the famous interaction in that movie: "I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart... Fredo, you're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, you're not a friend..."). The reason for the heist is to get money for a sex change for Sonny's homosexual "wife" (he also has a female wife and two kids). At first, it seems to have been quite a misguided idea, as they are soon found by police, but then Sonny gets an idea: he will use the hostages to get whatever he wants, to try to get himself out of the country on a jet. The scene of the crime turns into something of a circus. Huge crowds gather outside and cheer every time Sonny comes out to talk with the cops and the media is having a heyday with the story.

    The movie is a case of truth being stranger than fiction. It is a story that could not have been thought up. The direction of Sidney Lumet is amazing. The movie is at times quite hilarious as the story becomes more and more fantastic, but the end takes somewhat of a tragic turn. Highly recommended....more info
  • God loves a tryer
    One cannot help but feel a certain pity or sympathy for Sonny, the hapless protagonist of 'Dog Day Afternoon'. This is certainly no cut-throat villian, simply a luckless down and outer trying to make one big score to put a little daylight between himself and the small time life he leads.

    The amateurish heist that Sonny and his cohort Sal try to pull quickly becomes a media circus and ends up being a large scale parallel of Sonny's existence in general. His life is a struggle against a society that wants to bring him down, and here he is up against a police force that is determined to do the same. Although the character Sonny has a slightly comical side to him, his partner Sal is quite different. His serious nature sometimes borders on sinister and is the quality that lends the film much of it's edge. Of the two main characters he seems like the one who is much more likely to snap and put his gun to use.

    After Sonny and Sal have established some sort of a rapport with the girls who work in the bank, the movie takes on a more relaxed, benevolent feel. This allows for a certain charm in the film that would not have appeared possible at the outset.

    'Dog Day Afternoon' ends up being a strange but fantastic mix of gun-slinging tension and oddball charm, that has it's rightful place in film history and creates an interesting new twist in the crime genre....more info
  • Bob in Miami
    Excellent movie. The Blu Ray High Definition make you feel that you are in the movies....more info
  • One of the Best Films Ever Made
    "Dog Day Afternoon" is a great film that wowed me the first time I saw it and continues to be a great film that I enjoy even after my 4th time watching it. We all know what a fine actor Al Pacino is; he usually gets the most raves for his performances in "The Godfather" and "Scarface"
    but I think that this film features the best Pacino performance. Nothing against Tony Montana, but Pacino's Sonny is such a great character that could've been played so many ways and Pacino does it just right. Sonny is naive, nervous, flamboyant, tough, and, occasionally, smart. The movie also happens to feature one of the most famous one-word lines of dialogue in cinema..."Attica!" The movie is directed by Sidney Lumet, a fine director whose credits include 'Serpico,' 'Network,' '12 Angry Men,' and more recently 'Find Me Guilty.' DDA is, in my opinion, his masterpiece. An energetic thrill-ride that truly deserves to be ranked as one of the finest movies ever made. Sonny, his friend Sal (John Cazale, who was killed Pacino in "The Godfather Pt.II"), and another accomplice barge into a small New York bank and try to rob it. It's established quickly how naive and unprepared the men are, especially after the third accomplice leaves right after the guns are revealed. Pretty soon, there's a phone call at the bank for Sonny and he realizes there are already police across the street. Within minutes, the scene becomes a media circus. Hundreds of cops, the FBI, the media, and onlookers have crowded around the bank leaving Sonny and Sal to hold the female bank tellers and the manager hostage. As Sonny desperately tries to get out of the jam and the cops slowly move in on him we, as the audience, realize...We're going to be in this bank for 124 minutes of film. I'm not fond of movies like this, movies that are set up almost as a stage play because it has only one setting. Oddly enough though, "Dog Day Afternoon" is incredibly entertaining throughout. Now, I'm willing to bet, most of the detailed reviews on this site reveal why Sonny is actually robbing the bank. I, myself, knew this little tidbit before watching it the first time. Watching the film with a friend recently (a friend who had never heard of the film), when the not-so-big revelation came he was shocked and surprised. He basically has the same reaction the cops, the media, and the onlookers have. Having said that, I highly recommend that you try not to know Sonny's reason for robbing the bank before you watch this. If Al Pacino had not already made his name with other films, "Dog Day Afternoon" would have made him a star. He proves here (especially when you look at his other performances) what a complete and total actor this man is. Never for a second is Sonny not completely believable in every aspect of the word. It's not a one-man show and there is a lot of great supporting work here, especially by Cazale and a brief appearance by Chris Sarandon. I also think that I wouldn't be saying anything new or saying anything false when I say this very well could be the best, most unique, bank robbery movie ever made. Even the hostages aren't cardboard cliches. Have there ever been cooler bank robbery hostages in a movie? Do yourself a favor, as a lover of cinema, and see "Dog Day Afternoon." You will not be disappointed.

    GRADE: A...more info
  • Pacino is great as usual
    Al Pacino gave his strongest performance as Sonny,a crazy

    bank robber who failed in his robbery operation along with

    his dump partner Sal [played by the late great actor John

    Cazale].Although the movie is great, but the DVD has some

    problems with the sound and there is no extras....more info

  • Classic Film--Lousy Transfer
    As usual, another major studio has done a lazy job of transferring to dvd with "less-than-optimum" elements. Warner is known for bad transfers, a problem which they also had when they were in the laserdisc (another "hi-end" format) business. I am amazed they didn't even bother to include the "making of" which is included on the VHS TAPE--FOR GOSH SAKES, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!...more info
    This has got to be one of the greatest films ever. The story, the plot, the acting is just amazing. Al Pacino is an original in this film. Once you watch it once, you will want to watch it over and over again. Great movie to watch on a hot weekend, summer afternoon....more info
  • "Sal, Wyoming's not a country."
    Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon" reminds us that films once upon a time made it a point to properly develop the individuals within their stories. Younger filmgoers who grew up in later eras may not realize it, but cinematic works from decades past actually were inhabited by characters and not caricatures.

    Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino), Sal (John Cazale) and Stevie (Gary Springer) attempt to rob a Brooklyn bank just before closing time. The robbery turns into a debacle as Stevie immediately flees the scene and Sonny and Sal discover that the bank virtually has no money at its location. The police arrive to arrest the would-be robbers but Sonny soon starts to gain the support of the bystanders outside and uses the press at the scene to make the most of his time in the spotlight. Just when it appears matters cannot get any more odd, Sonny's new "wife" (Chris Sarandon) is brought to the scene and the reason for the bank robbery is revealed.

    "Dog Day Afternoon" is in a class of its own when one is talking about bank robbery films. There are so many unconventional elements to the story - from the clumsily-planned heist to the amusing rapport between the robbers and the hostages to the role Leon Shermer plays in the proceedings - that it truly stands alone when compared to other entries in the genre. One might think that it would be easy to lose sight of the fine performances in "Dog Day Afternoon" with all of these elements vying for your attention but the efforts turned in by Pacino, Cazale, Sarandon, Charles Durning, and the rest of the cast is so good that their characters will not promptly fade from memory. Lumet also does an amazing job of creating a specific time and place with his directing. He infuses "Dog Day Afternoon" with such realism that you can literally feel the heat rising from sidewalks. Take out your scorecard and mark down this jewel as one of the essential films of the Seventies. ...more info
  • Based on a true story.
    Al Pacino stars in this drama/comedy film directed by Sidney Lumet, the film is about Sonny (Pacino) who along with his partner Sal decide to rob a bank in one hot summer day in Brooklyn N.Y. but soon things go terribly wrong when its found out that all the money has been removed before his arrival so he kidnaps the bank employees and soon the whole thing turns into an absurd and huge media circus as newsreporters and what seems like the whole police station has arrived along with a crowd of people to see whats going on.
    Al Pacino's performance is absolutely flawless and terrific he should have won an oscar for this role instead of Scent of a woman, Sonny's character is full of personality and charm who also happens to be hillarious and when he loses control of the heist situation you just can't help but feel sory for him.
    His partner is a bit slow and doesn't seem to comprihend the situation that he is in, his male lover also arrives at the scene and soon things take another turn you'll just have to watch what happens. The film was also realistic as it is known that Sonny wasn't going to get away with it and nobody would have expected that. If you like this film then I also suggest you check out these other Pacino films Serpico, Scarface ,Donnie Brasco and Heat. ...more info