Serpico is based on the actual experiences of an honest NY policeman who helped expose corruption. Al Pacino’s performance is outstanding. Sidney Lumet’s direction adeptly combines gritty action and thought-provoking comment.
The real-life Frank Serpico, who climaxed an 11-year police career by blowing the lid on departmental corruption, told his story first through a book collaboration with Peter Maas.
Pacino dominates the entire film. His inner personal torment is vividly detailed, manifested first in the breakup of an affair with Cornelia Sharpe and later, much more terribly, in the wreck of his love for Barbara Eda-Young.
A very large cast exemplifies the assorted attitudes with which Pacino must deal.
1973: Nominations: Best Actor (Al Pacino), Adapted Screenplay