‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

Dog Day Afternoon, the larger than life true story about an everyman and his psychotic partner who rob a bank in Brooklyn, an operation which winds up botched and turns into a literal three-ring circus for a few hours afterwards, gripping the city of New York with an anti-heroic proceeding that almost borderlined on sheer, bizarre entertainment, celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.

Full of potent performances from Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, and others, a surefooted, ham-fisted naturalistic directorial style by Sidney Lumet, and an Oscar-winning script by Frank Pierson, Dog Day Afternoon remains a benchmark film of the 1970s, and in many ways expertly captures the entire zeitgeist of not only the mid decade feel and energy of New York City but also of America at the time, full of a post-Watergate paranoia and unease, with huge slices of humor and even pathos in the middle.

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