Dog Day Afternoon


    On a hot Brooklyn afternoon, two New York men set out to rob a bank. Sonny (Al Pacino) is the mastermind, Sal (John Cazale) is the follower, and disaster is the result. Because the cops, crowds, TV cameras and even the pizza man have arrived. The "well-planned" heist is now a circus.
    Sonny wants money to pay for his male wife's sex change operation. His other (female) wife is driving him crazy, along with his mother and his partner who thinks Wyoming is a country.
    But the craziest part is that it's all based on a true story.
    (from the presskit)



Directed by
Sidney Lumet

Writing credits
Frank Pierson (screenplay)
P.F. Kluge (article)
Thomas Moore (article)

Al Pacino .... Sonny Wortzik
John Cazale .... Sal
Charles Durning .... Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti
James Broderick .... FBI Agent Sheldon
Beulah Garrick .... Margaret
Chris Sarandon .... Leon Shermer
Sully Boyar .... Mulvaney, Bank Manager
Sandra Kazan .... Deborah
Penelope Allen .... Sylvia (as Penny Allen)
Marcia Jean Kurtz .... Miriam
Carol Kane .... Jenny
Amy Levitt .... Maria
Lance Henriksen .... FBI Agent Murphy
John Marriott .... Howard, Security Guard
Estelle Omens .... Edna


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Exhibit at the GUGGENHEIM   

Thanks Kevin P. for this info
This is a couple of video screens where the real John Wojtowicz reinacts the robbery. It explores how memory and fiction interact.


An Interview with Pierre Huyghe On the Occasion of "Even More Real Than You" Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
Jan. 9 - Feb. 17, 2001

   French artist Pierre Huyghe is one of France's most celebrated young artists. He is well known for his works that address collective memory and the construction of narratives, both of which have a resonance with his interest in interpretation and authorship, the territory between reality and fiction, and the structures of organization and production.


Even More Real Than You, Film about the memory of the event itself

About Even more Real Than You
   On the occasion of Huyghe's first NY one-man show, Even More Real Than You, jounalist Adrian Dannatt interviewed the artist for The Art Newspaper.
    The following are some exerpts from that interview:
    "Pierre Huyghe is from of a generation of younger French artists who seem to have finally broken the proverbial curse of Gallic provincialism and blossomed onto the international scene..."
    "Although Huyghe became best known for the work he has made in the last five years playing with film and video imagery in a genre that has by now become sui generis, Huyghe has wider ambitions. Indeed he is keen not to be thought of as a video-installation artist, rather, as an artist who uses a wide variety of different tools and media and so happens at the moment to be using film to express himself."
    Q. How does it feel to be that involved in a film you have not made yourself?
It is not about the film. That is the point. It is about the memory of this person, the re-enaction of a memory. When I do this kind of work, which I have done two or three times, it is never about referencing or deconstructing a film or the nature of Hollywood. I am speaking about the story of a man and about representation. It is about how you create an image and have that image represent you.
   Q. Could you explain your work "The third memory" currently at Marian Goodman Gallery? Essentially it is a recreation, a talk-through of the actual bank robbery which later inspired the film "Dog day afternoon."
   A. Exactly, so it's not a reconstitution of the film; people make that confusion. It's a re-enactment of a fact. In 1972 John Wojtowicz made this bank robbery. There were many interpretations of this in newspapers, and from these reports they made a scenario, then a script, and then they made a film.
    During all this Wojtowicz was in jail and there was a confusion between what he actually did, what he did according to the press, and the events as described by the film. Naturally, it was confusing for him too. It would be confusing for anyone to see their life acted by Al Pacino.
    So the interesting part is how you represent this story, how he came to find himself represented in the press, television, then in a fiction film. I decided to ask him to explain how it happened, but what is interesting today is that, of course, his memory is affected by the fiction itself.
   Q. How does it feel to be that involved in a film you have not made yourself?
. It is not about the film. That is the point. It is about the memory of this person, the re-enaction of a memory. When I do this kind of work, which I have done two or three times, it is never about referencing or deconstructing a film or the nature of Hollywood. I am speaking about the story of a man and about representation. It is about how you create an image and have that image represent you.


Interview with Frank Piereson, screenwriter, June 1990, American Film, by Judson Klinger, "Save Our Script"

    We had three weeks of rehearsal on Dog Day Afternoon, and everything was going very well until about 10 days before we were to start shooting, when Al Pacino wanted to quit the picture. They summoned me to New York, and I arrived to find Sidney Lumet and Al in the depth of gloom about the whole thing.
    Al said it had become apparent in the course of the rehearsals that the homosexuality of the relationship was the dominant thing, and he'd decided he didn't want to do that, for a lot of reasons, personal and professional - that he didn't want to do a scene in which he appeared with [Chris Sarandon's] character.
    I had written the key, climactic scene between the two of them, these two people who were lovers-in fact, they were married in church by a homosexual priest-and in the movie, they come to a point where they have to say goodbye to each other forever. And this scene, which cries out to be played in some sort of privacy, I had them play out in the street in front of hundreds of armed cops and 2,000 people who were all screaming 'faggot' at them. So they have to say goodbye to each other in this absolute madness, and it ended with a kiss on the lips. Well Al said he would not do that scene, and I don't blame him at all. The full dimensions were not apparent, as to how this would appear on screen, until they got into rehearsing it.
    So what it got down to was, Al said, 'I want to take out all the references, to sex - all that has to go. Furthermore, I won't appear in a scene where I have to be face-to-face with him.' So I said, 'The only way you'll play a scene together is on the telephone?' And he said, 'That's right.'
    So I said, 'I don't see anything else to do now but send the screenplay to Dustin Hoffman.' And Al said, 'Before you do that, I wish you'd just think of one thing: You've had marriages, and you've had love affairs in which there have been climactic scenes, the end of love, the saying goodbye. And in how many of those real, life situations has sex ever come into it, in terms of what you said to each other? Why can't you write a relationship about two people who love each other and can't find a way to live with each other?' And I saw instantly that he was absolutely, totally right! And I said, 'You sonovabitch-why didn't you think of this four months ago, when there was some time to write this?'
    But you know, it actually turned out to be rather easy. It took about 48 hours to do the rewrite. The first thing I did was cut out all the scenes I had written for them and reduced it, essentially, to the scene that plays on the telephone. For each one of them, I wrote a monologue that ran about four pages ... about how they met, why they loved each other, why they can't live together, what's wrong with the other person, and all the lousy things they'd done to each other.
    I gave the copies to Pacino and Sarandon, and then I turned on a tape recorder. And they started by reading from their monologues, and then improvising a bit off it, and I just ran the tape recorder for about a half-hour. Then I took that material back and rewrote it into a scene. I gave it a dramatic structure, which was the hidden motive that the Sarandon character has in making the telephone call - to induce the Pacino character to say that he had nothing to do with the planning of the crime, so he's not an accessory and won't have to go to jail. If you look at it, in about eight minutes, they act out the exact arc of their real-life relationship. It goes from bad to worse, with a great deal of tenderness and no sexuality at all.
    And I realized something else that resulted from making that alteration, and that is, it changed the whole nature of the movie. While it was funnier the other way, to many people, in the end, it would have come out as being homophobic. It was an enormous improvement. It was one of those insights that an actor brings for which you're just ever-grateful.


Life Magazine Story about the real robbery that the movie was based on. "A fouled-up holdup moves step by step from threats to farce to violence" by P. F. Kluge and Thomas Moore'

    It is closing time Tuesday, August 22, at a Chase Manhattan Bank branch in Brooklyn, a modest, modern structure sitting on a quiet corner at Avenue P and East Third Street. Calvin Jones, a uniformed (and unarmed) bank guard, begins locking the doors behind departing customers. Shirley Ball, a teller, starts her final tally of the day's receipts. And bank manager Robert Barrett looks up from a couple of loan applications to see a sandy-haired, baby-faced young man nervously approaching his desk.
    "Are you Mr. Barrett?"
    "I'm Mr. . ."
    Barrett doesn't quite catch the name. The young man sits down at his desk, however, and manages to pronounce his next couple sentences a little more clearly.
    "Freeze," says the visitor, whose name is Sal Naturile. "This is a holdup. I'm not alone."
    Behind the tellers' counter, Shirley Ball taps away at her adding machine, engrossed in the figures on the tape. It takes a commotion from across the room, the clear shout of an obscenity, to snap her attention. Who would use language like that in a bank? Shirley Ball looks up and sees her boss at his desk, a gun at his head, his hands in the air and a what-can-I-do? expression on his face. Now she spots the second robber, John Wojtowicz, a dark, thin fellow with the broken-faced good looks of an Al Pacino or a Dustin Hoffman, heading into the tellers' area with an attaché case.
    Wojtowicz begins filling the case with $37,951 in cash, $175,150 in traveler's checks--not as much as he and his partner hoped for but enough of a modest winning to reverse two lifetimes of steady losing.
    Already halfway through the robbery, they can afford to be decent. They promise to lock the seven lady tellers, the guard and the bank manager in a vault and to call the cops after their getaway. Nobody is getting hurt.
    The phone rings on Barrett's desk and the bank manager-still under the gun-takes the call. Joe Anterio, a personnel officer in Chase Manhattan's downtown headquarters, is requesting the transfer of a teller to another branch. Barrett surprises Anterio by opposing the transfer. Instead, he suggests the name of a teller who'd been fired four months earlier on suspicion of theft.
    "You're talking funny, Bob," Anterio says. ','Is something wrong down there?"
    "Yep!" says Barrett, slamming down the phone. Unaware of the message hidden in Barrett's seemingly routine phone conversation, the robbers go about their business. Meanwhile, in downtown Manhattan, the astonished personnel man makes the calls which bring to the bank the first of 200 police and FBI men, dozens of newsmen and their hostages trapped together behind t@ose doors for dozen crazy hours.
    The man in charge of FBI operations in New York this August afternoon is Richard Baker, a poised, articulate gentleman who looks more like a banker than an FBI agent-you wouldn't dream of looking for a telltale pistol bulge underneath his pinstriped suit. Soon to be transferred to Washington, Baker is enjoying his last week in New York. He plans to meet his wife for dinner in a Manhattan restaurant, and at the first report of a bank robbery in Brooklyn, he sees no reason to change his plans. "We usually have one or more bank robberies a day in the New York area," Baker observes. "You can't respond to every one of them." But this is one robbery that Baker will respond to. So will several other FBI agents, including one who is destined to play a decisive role. This agent's full name, his background and his rank have not been revealed, but before dawn of the next day the hostages and the robbers will meet a man named "Murphy."
    "We were shaking, we were nervous, we didn't know which way they would turn," says teller Shirley Ball, who becomes a hostage as the police close in on the building. "They were stuck with us, and we were stuck with them. I guess I was the one who broke the tension. I had to go to the ladies' room, I real,ly had to go and I asked permission. So John went in with me and checked the place out, and after that we had unlimited bathroom privileges. And everybody relaxed a little."

    With the bank surrounded, a confused and erratic rapport springs up between the hostages and their captors. They are in it together now, sharing the bank which is their prison. Acting the role of a harried but kindly warden, John Wojtowicz decides to allow his prisoners unlimited phone calls to relatives on the outside.
    In Manhattan, Harry Ball, a cosmetics executive, hears about the bank robbery from his wife, Shirley, who calls his office to explain thatsheis a prisoner. -Harry Ball leaves his office without telling anyone what's happening. He takes the subway to Brooklyn.
    Inside the bank is bedlam. Bank robbers and hostages listening to live radio coverage of the caper. Phone calls going out, phone calls coming in. "I hope they kill you all," a voice, at the end of the line tells bank manager Barrett. "Make your move now," whispers another voice, calling every 15 minutes. Barrett fields yet another phone call and turns to John Wojtowiez. "You're wanted on the phone, John. It's the police. They want to talk to you."
    By now, John Wojtowicz wants to talk to the police. He wants to talk about negotiations, about hostages, about producing a plane which will carry him to distant places. But more than this, he wants to talk to the person who matters most of all. As worried married men will do, he asks to be allowed to talk to his "wife." The police send a squad car to the mental ward of a nearby hospital and pick up a 26-year-old male named Ernest Aron.
    There was nothing in John Wojtowicz's early years to suggest that he would ever find himself holding off police at the doors of a bank and haggling with them for a meeting with a homosexual spouse. For most of his 27 years his life seemed pointed to nothing more than a routine job, a faithful female wife, and someday a move to the suburbs.
    His mother, Theresa, remembers a good boy who didn't smoke, rarely drank. He played softball, collected stamps, and carefully clipped out newspaper stories about politics. He finished Erasmus High School with a 97% average, shining in math and mechanical drawing. His favorite extracurricular activity was Monopoly.
    Only an occasional flare-up of temperamental rage marred an otherwise studious and pedestrian mind. It seemed right to his moth- er that her son should take a job in a bank directly after high school and that he should find a girl friend-and an eventual wife -who was also a bank employee. The first Mrs. John Wojtowiez was loud, jolly Carmen Bifulco, a typist at the Chase Manhattan Bank. She playfully called her husband a dingbat. He dubbed her in return a "mouth." The couple met on a bank-sponsored ski trip to Massachusetts, were engaged as Wojtowicz was drafted and shipped to Vietnam, and were finally married just as soon as he got back to Brooklyn, safe and sound, one year later. And then the trouble began.
    On his wedding night Wojtowicz fought with Carmen's family over the gift money. He threw the bills, over $1,000, at his father-in-law's feet and stomped out. "With us Italians," his mother says, "if a marriage begins like that, it's sure to end the same way." Eventually it did. Carmen and their two children nestled in with her folks, and her husband moved back into his cramped quarters at home.
    In the bad times following the collapse of his marriage, Wojtowicz drifted into the netherworld of New York's homosexual bars. There he combined a new nickname with his mother's maiden name and be- came Littlejohn Basso. His previously suppressed temper, his native aggressiveness and flamboyance commanded instant attention, and he quickly gained a reputation as a promiscuous, swaggering exhi- bitionist. One member of the Gay Activists Alliance recalled John and said, "He was the one guy in every organization that when his name comes up, everybody laughs."

    Eventually John Wojtowicz formed a relationship with tall, wispy Ernest Aron. Ernest was demanding. He kept asking Wojtowicz to do things for him, buy a bracelet, give him a little spending money. He never did what he was told. "Who do you think I am, your slave?" he'd say. This baffled Wojtowicz, but nevertheless the relationship flourished, and at last culminated in a bizarre drag wedding. In its attention to detail, its finery, its ceremony, the wedding couldn't have been more straight. The wedding couple sent formal invitations to over 300 guests, set out a lavish buffet, arranged for a photographer, and even allowed the proceedings to be videotaped. Wojtowiez's mother came. So did Aron's father.
    But Wojtowicz quickly found his new marriage beset by problems among them Ernest Aron's longing for a sex-change operation. In April, four months later, Aron penciled out a letter and tacked it on the door. "Dearest John," it began, "I'm sorry I won't be able to see you tonight as by the time you read this note I'll be in Florida. I'm really sorry it ended this way, but I just can't take it any longer."
    These must have been the worst weeks in John Wojtowicz's life. The quiet normality of his first marriage was far behind him. The precarious second life he'd built around his liaison with Ernest Aron was a shambles. Deserted, low on cash, convinced that certain "lumps" in his intestines were growing into a terminal cancer, Wo- jtowicz groped for one master stroke which would provide for his wife and kids, regain the esteem of Ernest Aron, and enable him to spend whatever time he had left living, as he had always wanted to live, "high on the hog."
    That's when the desperate talk about a bank robbery began. Wojtowicz enlisted the help of Sal Naturile, a quiet, brooding kid who always had a frown on an otherwise gentle face. He had been in and out of state institutions in New Jersey since age II, mostly for truancy, theft and parole violations. His most serious-and ingenious-escapade involved hiding himself overnight in a department store, ringing up cash receipts in the dark, and walking out the next day with TV sets in each hand.
    John Wojtowicz divided the last weekend before the robbery as he had divided his whole adult life: between his two wives. On Friday night he took Carmen and the kids to see a double feature, The Car- ey Treatment and Shaft's Big Score. Saturday night he saw Ernest. They had another fight and the next day Wojtowicz left Aron at his Brooklyn apartment. Depressed and anxious, Aron popped a few bar- biturates, enough to scare friends into calling an ambulance. He was rushed to King's County Hospital.

    They are all part of an American street scene now-the FBI agents, the curious mob, friends and relatives of hostages and bank robbers-all crowding together on the Flatbush sidewalk in the early summer evening, booing, cheering, giving the neighbor- ing pizza joint one of the best nights it's ever had. Into this scene comes Ernest Aron, dressed in a wrinkled hospital robe, thin and hag- gard. In exchange for his delivery, Wojtowicz release's the first hos- tage. Calvin Jones, the guard, saunters out of the bank, flashing a peace sign and wearing a weak smile. From police headquarters in a nearby barbershop, Ernest Aron calls Wojtowicz. In the bank, Shir- ley Ball overhears part of their anguished conversation.
    "But Ernie," pleads Wojtowicz, "I did this for you, so you could have your operation. Why are you afraid of me?"
    But there will be no reunion. Ernest Aron refuses, and John Wojtowicz has to settle for a meeting with another homosexual friend, Pat Coppola. Hustled across the street, an FBI man's hand firmly clasped around his belt to prevent his joining his friend in the bank, Coppola greets John Wojtowicz at the door of the Chase Manhattan -and kisses him. The Brooklyn crowd explodes into boos and hoots.

   "How about that Ernie?" a disappointed John Wojtowiez muses to bank manager Barrett. "He wouldn't even come in here."
    But if Ernie won't meet with him, the gathering press corps is more than anxious to hear from him. Over the phone Wojtowiez gives numerous interviews, repling reporters wit 'h his opinions on capital punishment, which he favors, on his father, whom he hates, and on religion, in which he devoutly believes. He also believes in the power of the press to extricate him from the jam he is in.
    "I want people out there, I want reporters out there, they're what's keeping me alive," he tells Barrett.

    "Hey," he suddenly exclaims.  "I want to talk to Jackie Jensen.  Lemme talk to Jackie Jensen!"
    "You want Jackie Jensen?!" Barrett answerswearily. "Jackie Jensen used to play for the Yankees, John. You want Jim Jensen of CBS."
    "Yah! That's him!"

    Mrs. Richard Baker eats supper alone this night. At 5:45, when Baker sees that the standoff at the bank is continuing, he decides to take a drive to Brooklyn, and soon begins the first of prolonged negotiations with the robbers. Baker's strategy-as unpopular with the hostages as with the bank robbers-is to stall for time. "We wanted to keep things moving and play for time," he explains. "The whole strategy was to gain time. With the passage of time, you wear down your adversary, and as time goes by, your options develop. We were playing for an opening."

    By midevening, the atmosphere in the bank has changed markedly. To put a damper on Wojtowiez's budding publicity campaign, police order the phones to be cut, isolating both robbers and hostages, who now divert themselves by listening to the New York Mets eke out a 4- to-2 victory over the Houston Astros. Gone, too, are the police flood- lights which had bathed the bank in the aura of a theater on opening night. Worst of all, the air-conditioning is also shut off, and a trip by Barrett and Wojtowicz to the controls in the cellar of the bank fails to restore it. When they come back upstairs, Wojtowicz decides to shove a desk in front of the cellar door, knocks his gun against the desk, and discharges a shot dangerously close to his own foot. The sound of the shot sends hostages diving onto the floor and under ta-Z bles. Still, for every moment of fear, the hostages have moments of weird laughter and something that might also be friendship. After all, the robbers and hostages are in this together, but the determined men with guns outside the bank are strangers.

    "If they had been my houseguests on a Saturday night, it would have been hilarious," Shirley Ball recalls. "Especially with John's antics, the way he hopped around all over the place, the way he talked. John called me 'mouth' because I was the talkative one. It was, 'Hey, mouth, do this' and 'Hey, mouth, do that.' I really liked them both.  They tried to be nice-except when they were cornered.  Such aboveboard guys, they even told us they would kill us if they had to."
    "I'm supposed to hate you guys, but I've had more laughs tonight than I've had in weeks," bank manager Barret tells John Wojtowicz.  
    Recalls Barrett: "We had a kind of camaraderie. Every time he'd stress a point he'd walk around the floor three times gesturing, speaking in a real Brooklyn accent. He'd spot a police sniper outside and say, 'What d'ya think of that sonofabitch! He really wants me, he wants me in the worst way.' And I'd laugh and say, 'Yeah, John, I guess he does.' "
    Sometimes in the lengthening night, John Wojtowiez shares some of his puzzled thoughts with Barrett. He wonders aloud: "Now, I can shoot you and they won't give me the gas chamber. But if I shoot a cop, I get it. Now I wonder: if I put a gun at your head and another gun in your hand and made you shoot the cop, would you get it?"
    One round of negotiations comes to a successful conclusion. The re- sult: three pizzas are delivered to the door of the bank. Another re- sult: Wojtowicz orders Shirley Ball to pay for the pizza and she obeys: more than $1,000 in singles comes fluttering onto the pavement. The FBI agents who retrieve the money off the bank steps draw a lusty cheer from the crowd.
    "Enough is enough," Shirley Ball is telling the FBI at the front of the bank. While John Wojtowiez looks on, Mrs. Ball demands some ac- tion, for by 2 a.m. the moment has come when the hostages and the robbers realize they have one thing in common: they both desperately want to get out of the bank.
    "Do you want to trade eight lives for two?" Mrs. Ball asks the FBI. "Don't stretch our luck, give them their demands."
    After Mrs. Ball finishes talking to the FBI, the police bring up her husband, Harry, who arrived by subway eight hours ago and has been waiting in the crowd. Mrs. Ball greets her husband, but keeps one ear glued on John Wojtowicz, who is wrapped up in a lengthy bar- gaining session with U.S. Attorney Robert Morse. Wojtowicz practically ignores Mrs. Ball, but when he returns to the bank, Ball follows him without hesitation. "I could have just walke she says, "but I couldn't have lived with myself afterwards."

    "Hey, you? You got something? You need a doctor?" Wojtowicz shouts to bank manager Barrett. Barrett is a diabetic and now, he realizes, his captor is consenting to his examination by a doctor.
    "I didn't need an examination and I had scme orange juice to drink. But the doctor examines me in a car outside and says, 'Okay, now we'll drive you to the hospital for a cardiogram.' "
    It's a chance to leave the bank-probably for good-but Barrett isn't taking it. He waves off the doctor and returns to the bank, where he resumes a joking, reassuring banter with his tellers. "Bet you never thought you'd spend the night with your boss," he tells them.

    "Do you want to go to Moscow?" Wojtowicz asks Shirley Ball.
    "No, I don't want to go to Moscow."
    "Do you want to go to Tel Aviv?"
    "No, I don't want to go to Tel Aviv. What if an Arab catches me on my way there?"
    "Well, wherever you want to go, girls . . .
    Around 3 a.m., itappears that the FBI hasfinally caved in to the rob- bers'demands. After 12 hours the hostages and their captors are going to travel to Kennedy Airport. Then they will emplane for foreign airports, freeing one hostage at each stage along the way, until only the two robbers are left to enjoy their winnings in a foreign land. As part of the deal, one hostage would be freed at the bank, two more at the airport. In a lottery among female hostages, Josephine Tuttino draws the lucky blank.
    At 3:50 a.m. John Wojtowicz boldly steps out of the bank to check the long airport limousine parked in front. He frisks the FBI driver and barges up to a cluster of plainclothesmen at a nearby corner.
    "I want all of you cops across the street," he shouts, but the cops are slow to respond.
    "Don't you know what 'across the street' means?"
    "That son of a bitch," a cop whispers under his breath. "Can you believe it?"
    "All you people with guns," Wojtowicz continues. "I want them on the ground."
    The police obey, and Wojtowicz heads back to the bank. Out of the bank they come-Wojtowicz, alone; Barrett, holding the rnoney, half-jokingly insisting on keeping CLase Manhattan's property till the last possible moment; and Sal Naturile, shielded by the circle of hostages. The evacuation of the bank is a well-executed operation which doesn't afford the police the "option" itcy are fcrirg for. At 4:45 a.m., a convoy of airport limousines, police ard FBI vehicles, and two dozen carloads of fanatical onlookers heads down Rock away Boulevard toward Kennedy Airport.

    The FBI driver is the man called Murphy, and his moment has finally come. He is a tall, good-looking Ivy League type whom the hostages had seen earlier around the bank. Now they hear him talking with the robbers on the way to the airport, casualty chattering while Sal Naturile keeps a gun pointed at the driver's seat.
    "You want the windows up, I'll open the windows; you want them down, I'll close them," Murphy banters. "Whatever you want, just ask for it. Hey, careful with that gun, Sal, hold it a little higher, huh? We hit a bump and you'll blow me to pieces. I don't want to die."
    At a remote runway at Kennedy Airport, the limousine stops and they wait in darkness for the plane, Murphy alone in the front seat, three hostages in the seat behind him, then Naturile, fianked by two hostages, and finally Wojtowicz in the last seat, also fianked by two hostages. Another set of lotteries determines that one more hostage, Kathleen Amore, will be released right away, another, Santa Strazella, when the others board the plane.
    Wojtowiez and Naturile are relaxed a little now, relaxed by Murphy's amiable chatter, relaxed by the imminence of their escape, relaxed enough to suggest that the whole entourage leave the runway and move over to the main terminal for hamburgers. The idea of an armed march through the heart of the airport appalls the FBI-but it leads to the opening they have been waiting for so long.
    Murphy gets out of the car, ostensibly to talk about hamburgers with the other lawmen. Then he returns and they follow him back. Richard Baker moves to one side of the car. Another agent, Fred Fehl, moves to the other side, and Chief of New York Detectives Louis Cottell positions himself at the rear of the limousine. Nervous at the sight of so many enemies so near, Sal Naturile asks Shirley Ball, to sit nearer him. And now, just now, they see their plane, a Hansa jet, taxiing toward them.
    What happened then was either more or less than the robbers deserved. They were authentic "crazy mixed-up kids," this odd couple, and they should have been playing with toy guns and paper money, with neighborhood playmates as hostages and Keystone Kops to oppose them, and all of it climaxing in a funny ending, not a sudden death. But they have used real guns to rob a real bank and to threaten people's lives. Now the playing is over. Amiable, chattering Murphy proceeds to execute Baker's fatal plan.
    "Is there going to be food on the plane?" he asks Baker, who is standing just outside the car window. They have already agreed on the code. Murphy means: Sal's gun is up high, I can take him now.
    "Yes," replies Baker, meaning: and I can take John.
    They move together, Murphy turning in the driver's seat, smoothly lifting the .38, which has been concealed under the floor mat, aim- ing over the first row of hostages and firing one true shot into Na- turile's chest; Baker, reaching into the limousine and seizing the barrel of Wojtowicz's gun; Wojtowicz tamely surrendering; the hostages running out of the limousine and onto the runway, free.

    The police station later that morning, Shirley Ball remembers running into agent Murphy. She didn't ask about Wojtowicz - he was in jail, facing charges for armed bank robbery and kidnapping. But she wondered about his young, quiet partner.

  "Is Sal dead?" she asks.
    "Dead on arrival."
   "Well," she says, "better him than me."
    "You're right."
    "Did you shoot him?"
    She kissed Murphy on the cheek. She remembers he seemed embarrassed by the kiss.



"Al Pacino is brilliant" - Kathleen Carroll NY Daily News

"A Stunning performance by Al Pacino" - Gene Shalit WNBC-TV

"The genius of Al Pacino. He's a joy to watch." - Pat Collins WCBS-TV

"Al Pacino's work cries out for an academy award nomination." Norma McClain Stoop- After Dark

"Al Pacino achieves a sort of comic saintliness as he struts, rants, cajoles, commands. A Pacino gem." -Joseph Gelmis Newsday

"Al Pacino rides triumphantly through 'Dog Day Afternoon' with his dazzling talents." Bernard Drew -Gannett Newspapers

"Pacino shows another measure of his remarkable range... from start to end it is engrossing and unpredictable." Charles Champlin, LA Times

"Al Pacino flatly is the best and most versatile actor in movies today." Walter Spencer - WOR Radio

"Al Pacino is beautiful, intense and gentle." Mort Sheinman- Woman's Wear Daily.

"Al Pacino turns in his finest performance to date." - Susan Toepfer




DOMINIC CHIANESE (Sonny's father)

SALON.COM: Did you have a friendship with Pacino?
DC: Yes.
SALON.COM: Was he partly responsible for you appearing in "Dog Day Afternoon"?
Oh, he introduced me to Sidney Lumet [who directed the film].And I did three movies with Sidney. He is a great director. He used me as a mobster and as a judge. And, let's see, he used me as a regular, normal man, this sensible guy who was Al Pacino's father, in "Dog Day Afternoon." I just had one line, looking at a TV set. Al is robbing the bank and I look over and say, "Why rob a bank when you got a sucker for a mother?" I knew, with that line and with Sidney, it would be a great experience. Sidney worked with me alone on the scene, and it turned out well, and I knew then that acting in films was gonna be a career for me.


RICHARD SCHIFF  (Plays Toby on the TV show "The West Wing") (quote from the Rosie O'Donnell Show, April 2002)

RS: Al Pacino who is the reason I got interested [in acting] in the first place.
ROSIE: No kidding. What was the role you saw him in that made you want to be an actor? Do you remember what it was?
Oh, just pick it, but probably Dog Day Afternoon.




Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon's phone conversation was improvised. IMD, Forum: alt.movies, "DOG DAY AFTERNOON: WHICH BANK?", 1999/05/02, Author:Danny Moses

    On August 22, 1972, two gunmen held seven Chase Manhattan bank employees (Magill's Survey of Cinema reports nine) hostage for 14 hours in Flatbush, NY.  John Wojtowicz, a former bank teller, had hoped to finance a sex-change operation in Denmark for his lover.  Police appeared at first to give in to the gunmen's demands: the hostages and their captors were taken by limousine to Kennedy International Airport, where a plane stood by.  But at Kennedy, one gunman was shot to death; the other, John Wojtowicz, was captured.
    And in a bit of "Where Are They Now?" Time reported in its 10-12-87 issue: Elizabeth Debbie Eden, 41, formerly Ernest Aron, the transsexual whose wish for a sex-change operation resulted in the 1972 Brooklyn bank robbery that inspired the movie Dog Day Afternoon, died of AIDS-related pneumonia in Rochester.  John Wojtowicz, Aron's lover, who was played in the 1975 movie by Al Pacino, was jailed for seven years [originally sentenced to a term of 20 years] after the bungled robbery attempt that left an accomplice dead.

Halfway through the production, Pacino collapsed from exhaustion and had to be hospitalized for a short time. He swore off movies for a while, returning to his first love, the Broadway stage.   (source "The Hollywood Reporter Book of Box Office Hits")

Academy Awards

(won)  Best Original Screenplay (Frank Pierson)

Best Picture
Best Actor (Al Pacino)
Best Supporting Actor (Chris Sarandon)
Best Director (Sidney Lumet)
Best Film Editing

Several of the co-stars were also featured in other films.

Dominic Chianese (The Godfather Part II ("Johnny Ola"), ...And Justice For Al (at the beginning of the film - the guy who's in the stretcher who's car gets banged up), Richard III (on stage), Oedipus (on stage)
John Cazale The Godfather (his brother Fredo), The Godfather Part II
Charles Durning Dick Tracy (police officer)
Penny Allen  Scarecrow ("Annie" his ex-wife), Looking for Richard ("Queen Elizabeth"), She is also the wife of longtime friend and mentor Charles Laughton
Sulley Boyar  Serpico (the guy from the police academy presenting Serpico with a medal of honor)
Martin Bregman Serpico, Scarface, Sea of Love, Carlito's Way (producer)
Sidney Lumet
  Serpico (director)

The real robbers stole $213,000, held the hostages for 14 hours.

The real Sonny (John Wojtowicz) was paid $7,500 + one percent of the net movie profits for the movie rights for his story. He gave $2,500 to Ernie, his male lover, to have the sex change operation that was his reason for robbing the bank in the first place. Ernie became Elizabeth Debbie Eden and later died of AIDS.




Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
Color, Closed-captioned
Production notes
Full-screen and widescreen letterbox formats
Scene Access
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish


Internet Movie Database
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E! Online Factsheet
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Carol Kane - Unnofficial Fan Page
Carol Kane - What a Character