Based on the true story of would-be Brooklyn bank robbers John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale. Sonny and Sal attempt a bank heist which quickly turns sour and escalates into a hostage situation and stand-off with the police. As Sonny's motives for the robbery are slowly revealed and things become more complicated, the heist turns into a media circus.
Recently I have gotten on kicks for both watching and appreciating the works of director Sidney Lumet and the classic (i.e., 70's) performances of Al Pacino. Thus I came across this film, which I had on DVD forever. It'll interesting to watch the recent documentary on the character Pacino portrays, 'The Dog'--just found out about it earlier today. I loved Lumet's films he made before this that I've seen--'12 Angry Men', 'The Fugitive Kind', 'The Hill', 'The Anderson Tapes' and 'Murder on the Orient Express'--and he's superb at getting the gradual self-destruction of his characters that just seethes through the screen. At this point, Pacino could do no wrong in his work--he had that firm grasp on his immense talent and just what he needed from it to do remarkable work, some of the finest characterizations in contemporary cinema. Do both he and yourself a favour and don't bother with anything he's made since 'Heat'.