City Hall



    In this powerful drama, a shoot-out between a hero cop and a mobster connected drug dealer leaves a six-year-old black child dead on the tenement streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The killings launch a storm of controversy and the reverberations are felt immediately at City Hall. 
Al Pacino stars as Mayor John Pappas, a populist leader who has captured the hearts of the people the way Fiorello La Guardia once did, and now harbors ambitions for the White House. John Cusack plays Kevin Calhoun, the young Louisiana-born deputy mayor possessing a unique combination of high minded ideals and hard-nosed political savvy. Calhoun worships the mayor as a father figure and devotedly assists him with his day-to-day duties while implementing the plan to fulfill his presidential aspirations. Bridget Fonda portrays Marybeth Cogan, a strong-willed lawyer for the detectives endowment association who seeks to preserve the good reputation of the slain officer and to protect the rights of his widow.
Hoping to quell the outrage caused by the killings, Calhoun attempts to get to the bottom of the matter only to discover there is more to the case than meets the eye. He and Cogan conduct a suspenseful trip through the treacherous labyrinth of the city government and by the time they reach their destination, nothing in City Hall will ever be the same. City Hall also stars Danny Aiello, David Paymer and Martin Landau. Movieweb




Directed by
Harold Becker

Writing credits (WGA)
Ken Lipper (written by) and
Paul Schrader (written by) ...
Nicholas Pileggi (written by) and
Bo Goldman (written by)
Al Pacino .... Mayor John Pappas
John Cusack .... Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
Bridget Fonda .... Marybeth Cogan
Danny Aiello .... Frank Anselmo
Martin Landau .... Judge Walter Stern
David Paymer .... Abe Goodman
Anthony Franciosa .... Paul Zapatti (as Tony Franciosa)
Richard Schiff .... Larry Schwartz
Lindsay Duncan .... Sydney Pappas
Nestor Serrano .... Det. Eddie Santos
Mel Winkler .... Det. Albert Holly
Lauren Vélez .... Elaine Santos
Chloe Morris .... Maria Santos
Ian Quinlan .... Randy Santos
Roberta Peters .... Nettie Anselmo

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Al  met with former mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins on several occasions, and early in the filming, he had the opportunity to spend two days with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who allowed him complete access to his world.

"I'm indebted to all three of them," admits Pacino. "I couldn't imagine anybody being that cooperative. And I was surprised at their willingness to open up and share with me so many things of value."

In the course of his research, Pacino also used his knowledge of former congressman Vito Marcantonio.

"I had heard of Marcantonio as a child. And then I was going to do a movie about him at one point, which gave me a chance to get a sense of who that guy was. He had a dynamic personality and an innate ability to orate, to think on his feet. And I used those qualities for John Pappas."

Pacino adds, "I can see pieces of all of them from Cuomo to Giuliani to Koch to Dinkins. There are shades of all them in the character, not to mention the extraordinary Fiorella LaGuardia."

-from the Official City Hall Website



    ''Was I intimidated at all? Absolutely. But great actors, I've found, are usually so generous. I've never really had anybody who I thought was real special or talented be a real jerk. Yeah, I'm sure they have eccentricities, and you have to have a big ego to do what we do. But Pacino's one of the nicest people I've ever met.... When that movie came out, it did like $8 million in its first weekend -- something that was really good. But that weekend, there was a huge snow storm along the East Coast. If people hadn't been snowed in, the movie would have really played to that New York crowd.'' E.T. Weekly      (Thanks Lisa W. for this info)




Filmed entirely on locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, this film marks the first time a motion picture company has been permitted to shoot in City Hall itself.



interactive menus
scene access
languages & subtitles: English and French
widescreen letterbox and standard formats
region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
color, closed-captioned, DTS surround sound



Buy the DVD
Buy the video
Buy the tie-in book
The City Hall Page: Stars
The City Hall Page
City Hall: Movieweb
A page of review links from IMD
Internet Movie Database (IMD) (page that uses it to teach English)