Dog Day Afternoon


40th Anniversary | Repertory Screening

Inspired by the true story of Brooklyn bank robbers John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale, Sidney Lumet’s masterful DOG DAY AFTERNOON is as potent and relevant today as it was upon release exactly 40 years ago.

First-time criminal Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) and his accomplice Sal Naturale (John Cazale) sweat their way through a botched robbery of the First Brooklyn Savings Bank. As militarized police descend on the bank Sonny and Sal quickly become celebrities as the hostage scene turns into an all out media circus. As the temperature rises, so does the tension and Sonny’s fame as he opposes not just the police but the entire establishment they represent.

DOG DAY AFTERNOON sits in a rare pantheon of filmmaking in which every facet of it is pure fire. Lumet, a quiet master of American film, is at the very top of his (A) game orchestrating Frank Pierson’s Oscar-winning script. Dancing between sympathetic and scary, John Cazale is unbelievable in his “supporting” role as Sal while Charles Durning delivers the role of his career as the cop desperately trying to keep the powder keg from exploding.

And then there’s Pacino.

Forget everything you know about the relevance of actors today, Al Pacino made DOG DAY AFTERNOON on the (chronological) back of THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, THE GODFATHER, SCARECROW, SERPICO and THE GODFATHER PART II. Simply put, there has never been a better run of performances and there never will be again. He didn’t write the rule book, he disintegrated whatever rule book there was and left a hole so big that it can never be filled again. In a career of unassailable peaks DOG DAY AFTERNOON stands above them all.

Christian Parkes

With Special Thanks to Ratpac Entertainment and Warner Bros.

Guests: Al Pacino in Conversation with Director Brett Ratner

Director: Sidney Lumet
Country: USA
Runtime: 125 minutes
Year: 1975


“Dog Day Afternoon is, in the whole as well as the parts, filmmaking at its best.” Variety

“One of Al Pacino’s best performances.” Chicago Reader