“Sweat and grit and fear pulse off it like waves; and there are dynamic streetscape scenes.” - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

“A virtuoso performance by Al Pacino and some expert location work by Sidney Lumet add up to a tour de force genre piece that transcends the supercop conventions to create a moving, engrossing portrait of Frank Serpico.” - Don Druker, Chicago Reader

Saturday, June 29, 3:00 p.m. & Wednesday, July 3, 6:00 p.m. | SERPICO begins with critically injured NYPD cop Frank Serpico (Al Pacino, in a tour-de-force, Academy Award- nominated performance) being whisked through a hospital on a gurney. As the audience awaits his fate, Lumet flashes back to Serpico’s start on the force as an idealistic and honest rookie cop determined to live the “serve and protect” motto. When he witnesses and begins reporting bribery within the department, he risks his livelihood and his very life. Despite hostility from his colleagues and superiors, Serpico remains steadfast in his commitment to rooting out corruption from within. Based on a true story, SERPICO finds Lumet in his element on the streets of Manhattan (on the film, Lumet marveled, “New York as a setting is capable of whatever mood or dramatic statement you want to make”) and showcases Pacino at his nerviest, embodying Serpico as one tenacious man against an entire rotten system. Upon SERPICO’s release, Vincent Canby of The New York Times praised the film as “a remarkable record of one man’s rebellion against the sort of sleaziness and second-rateness that has affected so much American life, from the ingredients of its hamburgers to the ethics of its civil servants and politicians.”

Awards & Nominations

Nominee - Best Actor in a Leading Role (Al Pacino), Best Adapted Screenplay, Academy Awards
Nominee - Best Actor (Al Pacino), Best Picture, BAFTA Awards
Winner - Best Actor (Al Pacino), Golden Globes

Sidney Lumet CentennialSidney Lumet (1924–2011) was a director driven by stories of morality. Corrupt systems vs. brave protagonists, the worst of men pitted against the best, honesty in the face of hypocrisy—Lumet’s filmography reflects his dedication to championing what is true and what is just in this harsh world. To celebrate his centennial, we present 12 films by the Oscar-winning filmmaker, June 1–August 21View full series

The Film Center is ADA accessible. This presentation will be projected without open captions. The theater is hearing-loop equipped. For accessibility requests, please email filmcenter@saic.edu