A definite cop film of it’s time starring firing Al Pacino as Frank Serpico. He’s an honest New York cop who took his solemn oath to wipe the crime out of the streets when he joined the department and soon discovered that honesty is not expected to be part of his job. He got scorn, mistreatment from his fellow officers while performing his job with utmost sincerity and integrity. Ultimately he has to pay the personal prize putting his own life in jeopardy.
The film is based on a true story and Lumet portrays the ugly face of reality where the whole system is rotten and corrupt from top cops to the mayor of the city everyone have their own share of cuts. And it’s damn difficult for a cop who single handedly challenged the authority. It’s also a fine character study combining elements of establishment and counter culture from closer look. The film has Al Pacino’s tour de force performance and like ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ he’s all exploding dynamite in the later part of the film. As an undercover cop who’s constantly shifting his attire and features on face with moustache and beard, Pacino looks less like a cop and more like a man belongs to seventies cult hippy culture. He got his second Oscar nomination and first for Best Actor Oscar that year but that year Jack Lemmon got it for ‘Save the Tiger’.