Dog Day Afternoon

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Dog Day Afternoon
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Martin Bregman
Martin Elfand
Screenplay by Frank Pierson
Starring Al Pacino
John Cazale
Charles Durning
James Broderick
Chris Sarandon
Music by Elton John (Song)
Uriah Heep (Song)
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Editing by Dede Allen
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) September 21, 1975 (1975-09-21)
Running time 125 minutes
131 minutes (Director's cut)
Country United States
Language English
Money made $50,000,000[1]

Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American crime drama movie set in New York City. It was directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Frank Pierson and based on an article from Life magazine. The stars of the movie are Al Pacino, John Cazale, Chris Sarandon, and Charles Durning. The story is about the robbery of a Brooklyn bank.

Cast[change | edit source]

The Life article described Wojtowicz as "a dark, thin fellow with the broken-faced good looks of an Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman".[2] Hoffman was offered the role when Pacino briefly quit. An 18-year-old actor was originally to be cast in the role of Sal to match the age of the actual Salvatore.[3] The table below shows the main cast of Dog Day Afternoon.[2]

Character Actor Role Similar person from Life article
Sonny Wortzik Al Pacino Bank robber John Wojtowicz
Salvatore "Sal" Naturile John Cazale Sonny's partner in the robbery Salvatore Naturile
Detective Sgt. Eugene Moretti Charles Durning Police detective who first negotiates with Sonny Detective Lieutenant Joe Anterio
Agent Sheldon James Broderick FBI agent who replaces Moretti in negotiations Agent Richard Baker
Agent Murphy Lance Henriksen FBI agent/driver Agent Murphy
Leon Shermer Chris Sarandon Sonny's pre-operative transsexual wife Ernest Aron
Sylvia "The Mouth" Penelope Allen Head teller Shirley Bell (Wojtowicz also called her "The Mouth")
Mulvaney Sully Boyar Bank manager Robert Barrett
Angie Susan Peretz Sonny's estranged divorced wife Carmen Bifulco
Jenny "The Squirrel" Carol Kane Bank teller
Stevie Gary Springer Bank Robber Robert left soon after John and Salvatore held up the bank
Howard Calvin John Marriott Unarmed bank guard Calvin Jones
Doctor Philip Charles MacKenzie MacKenzie's debut

Historical accuracy[change | edit source]

A bank building on the corner of a city street. A car can be seen parked out front and a traffic light is located on the sidewalk in front of the building. Other buildings can be seen in the background.
The location of the actual event, 450 Avenue P, Brooklyn, New York (1975 photo)

The movie was based on the story of John Wojtowicz. It keeps the basic facts of what happened, according to the Life article "The Boys in the Bank". According to the article, Wojtowicz, along with Sal Naturile, held up a Chase Manhattan Bank branch in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972.[2]

After being arrested, Wojtowicz was convicted in court and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He served six years.[4]

Wojtowicz wrote a letter to The New York Times in 1975. He said the movie was not completely true. He said the way his ex-wife was shown was not accurate. He also said there was not a talk with his mother. He did say Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon's portrayals of him and his boyfriend Ernest Aron were good.[5] Also, Sal was 18 years old, but is played by a 39-year-old.

Wojtowicz died of cancer in January 2006.

Awards[change | edit source]

Dog Day Afternoon won the Academy Award for Writing – Original Screenplay (Frank Pierson) and was nominated for other Oscars:[6]

The movie was also nominated for the following seven Golden Globes, winning none:[6]

The movie won other awards, including an NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor (Charles Durning) and a Writers Guild Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen (Frank Pierson) as well as the British Academy Award for Best Actor (Al Pacino). It was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.[7]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "Dog Day Afternoon, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=dogdayafternoon.htm. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The Boys in the Bank" by P.F. Kluge and Thomas Moore for Life, September 22, 1972, Vol. 73(12).
  3. Lumet, Sidney. Dog Day Afternoon, feature commentary
  4. Bank robber wins parole
  5. Real Dog Day hero tells his story by John Wojtowicz from Jump Cut, no. 15, 1977, pp. 31–32. Retrieved March 13, 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 Awards for Dog Day Afternoon for IMDb. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
  7. "25 new titles added to National Film Registry". Yahoo News (Yahoo). December 30, 2009. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091230/ap_en_mo/us_classic_films_glance. Retrieved December 30, 2009.[dead link]

Other websites[change | edit source]