Serpico (1973) - Biography, Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.

IMDB: 7.7
Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph
Length: 130 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 24 out of 189 found boring (12.69%)

One-line Reviews (108)

He acts with such charm and smoothness in some scenes, while explosive and intense in others.

a waste of time.

Al Pacino character is quite intense in the movie and plays it to perfection.

For Pacino watchers and those who enjoy a good, absorbing cop drama, especially an adult gritty one, then Serpico is a must.

In the notes, Lumet says the actual down-trodden real location police station depicted here had later become a cliche.

Rent the DVD to see some fascinating extras about the making of the film and the filmmakers' experiences with Frank Serpico himself, including interviews with Lumet and producer Martin Bregman (no Pacino, alas).

Overall though, Pacino's acting, the great directing and screenplay all coalesce to provide a thrilling experience.

And the lead Al Pacino in my opinion gives one of his most raw and powerful intense performances ranking him right with his performance of Roy Cohn in "Angels in America".

Moreover, the rhythm is very slow and the 2h10 don't help to dynamize the already thin plot, although a 15 or 30 minute cut probably wouldn't have made any difference as for the interest.

My advice is to see "Serpico" for the place it holds in Pacino's career, but then see "The Insider" for a suspenseful, terrific movie.

As a film, 'Seprico' is fascinating, but boring as well.

Serpico is an easy film to appreciate given its attention to detail and gripping narrative.

A total waste of time.

The cinematography and direction is nothing memorable, and is, to be honest, both dull and bland.

He was nominated for an Oscar for his performances during four straight years and surprisingly came out empty handed.

What I find fascinating about Frank Serpico as Sidney Lumet's film sees him is his striking metamorphosis through the story.

The story of police officer Frank Serpico who, practically single-handedly, took a stand against the enormous corruption within the NYPD, and paid for it dearly, is still fascinating and still relevant; and thanks to a killer performance by Al Pacino, this biopic by Sidney Lumet stands the test of time.

The story is boring and you don't even get many good dialogs.

Those shots of south Brooklyn crumbling row homes with the trade center in the background are now high rent reserved for the privileged uptight bores.

The movie is pretty slow and Sydney Lumet gives the movie no style what so ever.

So what happens when an individual threatens to break down the boundaries of a cliché?

The film's story is generally quite engaging, especially in the second half, though less so at points.

"Serpico," its many flaws notwithstanding, is far from being a terribly exciting motion picture.

Any other actor would have made this film virtually unwatchable.

So, while slow and less than impactful at points, "Serpico" is as honest and complete a character study as you're ever likely to come across--tailor-made for an actor's actor like Pacino, whose range, presence, and penchant for nuance has never been better utilized.

What I did like is the fact that he was human and not a super cop type, but there was lots of unneeded and just bland stuff that made this overly dreary to watch a second time.

Was way too bored, so therefore didnt finish.

A gripping portrayal of a struggle for not conforming .

There were scenes completely unnecessary and pointless where out of a sudden it became interesting and exciting again.

The score by Theodorakis is inappropriate,the dialog ,especially in the domestic scenes, is trite,and the ending disappointments.

And from being the honest cop and gentleman, you also get to see an intense Paco, with righteous fury after being countlessly taken by disappointment of the whole system being corrupt.

Al Pacino was outstanding portraying someone whose personality became unbearable to friends and allies as his efforts to report illegal activities were constantly stymied.

At the 40 minute mark I was already irreversibly bored.

Pacino is compelling and makes Serpico's integrity feel like a true passion rather than grandstanding heroics.

The movie is very slowly paced.

It is an extremely boring and tedious film.

"Serpico" is a fascinating character study and a masterful police/courtroom thriller in one movie.

It's a sense of honor that goes beyond the prestige of the uniform, and the pretentious and dangerous idea that just because you're on the right side of the Law, you become untouchable and you have the right to make your little arrangements.

So by all means this is a must see film that's intense and truth seeking clearly one of Al Pacino's best.

Pacino's riveting performance carries the film, with fine support by John Randolph, Tony Roberts, M.

Other than that this is a highly entertaining film that has plenty of drama as well as some nice laughs.

And it makes Al Pacino's role even more memorable, a nice entertaining touch to make us forget this hippie was Michael Corleone one year before, and another tribute to Pacino's precocious versatility.

It's a stark, gripping, somewhat melodramatic real-life story both memorable and flawed for the way it embodies character-driven 1970s cinema.

Serpico may not be "fast paced" and it certainly isn't a "pop corn" entertainer but a thriller it still is, and intense in ways that makes this film worthy of an intelligent audience.

The first 40 minutes were excellent and exiting to watch, but after that it started getting boring.

The plot is pointless because I've already delved into it--a downtown police precinct is corrupt and they can't stand Serpico's morality.

I highly recommend it, I think everyone should watch this movie at least once.

Lumet uses different angles and close ups to make things more intense and exciting, as well as methodically going deeper into the story.

Sidney Lumet is a wonderful director, greatly under-appreciated since the late 50's and certainly an actor's director and his book is fascinating on making films.

A good actors film with intense play by Al Pacino and a provocative and daring story about the police.

Boredom abounds.

But what makes Serpico such a riveting and eye catching picture today are the little things about it, little details in specific scenes and locations that help ring Serpico's emotions far more than true- it's just there.

It proves to be a riveting character study and a thought provoking expose at the same time, while ultimately it proves to be a touching experience come the culmination of the drama.

Saddened by this loss, I think this is an opportunity to pay tribute to a legendary director whose gripping dramas that always respected the viewers' intelligence provided a gallery of inspiring characters, from Juror #8, Sonny Wortzik to Howard Beale, and the two Franks, Galvin and Serpico.

The way of Al Pacino`s acting and the highly entertaining story make this film unique.

It is a slow moving film because Serpico's battle against corruption was evidently a slow one.

Sidney Lumet's taut direction of the script by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler does Maas' source material proud, as well as taking advantage of evocative NYC locations (just try getting this kind of atmosphere in Canada, I dare you!

As such, the running time is quite excessive and the scenes become repetitive.

It keeps the focus on the movie's its intriguing story better.

Supporting characters come and go, a lot, and some of them are engaging at first.

Perhaps a ninety-minute movie would have done it justice, but its running time is far too long for such a film.

About halfway through the film, Pacino's constant, unvaried shouting becomes tedious.

By placing himself in harm's way for what he believes in he becomes an easy figure to route for and his plight is all the more gripping for that.

It's a compelling telling of a story in a fascinating time.

Many scenes seem pointless and badly executed.

He is very intense in portraying the character.

Serpico and the intense Al Pacino .

Yes I really enjoyed it along time ago.

Serpico is told with a slower, more deliberate pace, more concerned with character development and nuance than with moving quickly on to the NEXT THING.

Old, drab brownstones; back streets piled high with garbage; depressing interiors with green, grimy walls; cold industrial lighting; non-artistic graffiti splattered on outside walls; noisy trains elevated on ugly steel scaffolding … For all the rot, it does at least feel real, and pleasantly unadorned.

One might appreciate the slice-of-life style, while another might get bored.

"An idealistic example of courage and integrity, who stood alone for justice, for principles, Serpico is one of the most inspiring cinematic heroes, driven by Al Pacino's intense performance.

The best of his later films are arguably "The Verdict", an excellent courtroom drama with Paul Newman, and "Running on Empty", a sensitive, underrated film starring River Phoenix and Judd Hirsch.

Plenty of great, compelling set pieces, and even sweet ones (like when he first buys the sheepdog as a puppy).

Sidney Lumet directs very calmly, moving the action along at a steady pace and ensuring that Serpico's increasing isolation within the department is detailed while also ensuring that Serpico's character is fleshed out enough that he is a compelling character.

I wouldn't say that it's quite as good as four or five of his best but it's certainly well worth watching.

Pacino, who met and studied the real-life officer, portrays Serpico as an intense, driven figure who was equally open-minded and thickheaded.

Watching movies, you often become immersed in the life of the main character.

The only reason I could not give this film a 10/10 is because it appeared at time too slow losing its breath.

Sometimes it gets stale and repetitive.

An intense cop-thriller of gripping realism ...

But wait, you do have to let Pacino take a bow for another absorbing, intense performance.

To this end, the writer of the screenplay should also get some credit for creating a compelling image of a dramatic moment in New York history.

But Lumet presents Serpico as a caricature, playing by all the rules and fitting snugly into a giant cliché.

Dull and pointless .

of more than 2 hours only on a single character needs content and enough material to feed the audience which they easily provide with gripping screenplay to not let them wander off the screen even for a frame.

His emotional and riveting intensity is very rare.

This is well worth the watch/read and make no mistake that it "can't be like that now"; watch the news.

This film succeeds largely on the breathtaking performance of Al Pacino.

Fascinating to observe my different reaction to this racket story, now that I am a lot older.

"Serpico" will always be one of the more compelling biographies ever made because its main character, even in the face of an unfair and corrupt world, clings to the virtue of honesty and comes out all right.

Despite this the film is exciting and dramatic as the story deserves.

Watching Serpico now feels like a throwback to the 1970s, in particular the film-making of the time when American cinema was willing to employ a well respected and somewhat famous director and have him make a film that is complex, intriguing and demands attention.

I think part of the problem is that it is considerably dated and is full of what are now considered Movie clichés so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had watched it years ago.

Yes, I really enjoyed it!

The performance by Pacino, as noted, is breathtaking.

Frank Serpico is a fascinating character in a difficult environment and this provides significant grist for Pacino to work with.

This film is quite good, but mainly because of the subject; the direction seems uninspired and fairly bland.

These are easily as formulaic as chick flicks.

It's a good story that can become boring as it progresses.

Although in some places, "Serpico" is slighty hard to follow, i believe it is a very true to life and gritty film.

The movie provides a realistic view in the corrupt and tough world of the New York police and tells the story of Serpico in an intriguing and realistic, perhaps maybe even documentary like way.

(1973)Sidney Lumet's Serpico is based on such a compelling story, and is told so well, you really can't not like it.

For me, this movie was something of a one trick pony, very tiresome after the first few minutes.

The story is good, very good, but the direction is just too bland for us to care all that much.

The story, based off real-life events, is very engaging and its brutally honest.

Realistic movie with a gripping and gritty story.

Much of the film follows Serpico in his regular daily life, meeting women, engaging in small talk about ballet and Borgias, playing with kids at a fire hydrant, talking Italian with his mother.