Dog Day Afternoon is an outstanding film. Based on a real life incident in NY it stars Al Pacino as the most unlikely bank robber ever to hit the screen.
The holdup was allegedly done for the purpose of financing a sex change operation for the male lover of one of the robbers. That incident is retained in the script, but it is just one of many key elements in a hilarious and moving story.
Pacino and laconic sidekick John Cazale take over the neighborhood bank branch managed by Sully Boyar. The malaprop heist gets the early laughs going, and then the film broadens and deepens as if re-enacting the Battle Of The Bulge.
The introduction of Pacino’s lover (Chris Sarandon) is cleverly plotted, and comes as a surprise since Pacino’s straight wife (Susan Peretz) has already appeared. The interactions between Pacino and other key characters are magnificently written, acted and directed.
The entire cast is excellent, top to bottom. Dog Day Afternoon is, in the whole as well as the parts, film-making at its best.
1975: Best Original Screenplay.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Al Pacino), Supp. Actor (Chris Sarandon), Editing