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The 50 Best New York City Movies

16. Serpico (1973)

Director: Sidney Lumet
Leading Actors: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: Greenwich Village; Astoria, Queens; Greenpoint, Brooklyn

What separates Serpico from other "whistle blower" films is that the audience understands NYPD officer Frank Serpico as a fully formed, flawed man. He's not some golden boy serving his austere sense of ethics with unwavering zeal. You're made to wonder about how his ego plays into his actions, as he exposes the twisted guts of the police department. Sidney Lumet and Al Pacino have crafted a film that is just as much a character study as it is an exploration of a bloated, corrupt New York Police Department. Watching it in 2012, Serpico continues to strike a chord. —BG

"Gritty Realism"boroughOuter Borough

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