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New York City detective Steve Burns Al Pacino receives orders from Captain Edelson Paul Sorvino to solve a series of brutal murders in the gay community. Steve scours the gay bars that caters to same-sex sadomasochism in a desperate attempt to solve the crime. As he infiltrates the scene, he slowly comes loose from the moorings of his own reality, and an innocent victim is tortured by the cops in an effort to exact a confession. The story is based on actual murders that took place between 1962 and 1979. The film gained considerable publicity because of the controversial subject matter while… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Its gamy images inside the leather and S&M gay bars along the Greenwich Village waterfront are both busy and dark."
‑ Jack Mathews, New York Daily News
"What an odd relic of the 1980s Cruising is. Controversial enough at the time to derail director William Friedkin's career, thirty years later it's considered totally benign when a Disney star films a reconstruction of its X-rated scenes."
‑ Simon Miraudo, Quickflix
"still unsettling even after far more explicit fare has been produced in recent years"
‑ Christopher Null,
"Was it insensitive to make this film when it stood to represent the gay subculture to mainstream America? Yes. Is it a great film? No. But it is a fascinating relic."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"'Cruising' views better today than in 1980, but that is relative. There remain bothersome errors in consistency and judgment."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"No one would get away with it now, or even try."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir,
"Is it possible that Cruising is everything its detractors and defenders say it is?"
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"A lot of upcoming filmmakers saw "Cruising" and took notes, because the movie became the prototype for every serial killer movie to follow (see "Se7en," "Basic Instinct" etc.)."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Is it offensive? Yes and no. It's insensitive, certainly. And I wouldn't want my mother watching it, lest she think I've been in a sling in the meatpacking district for most of my adult life."
‑ Brian Juergens,
"Why Cruising? Why now? And why does it feel like how you answer those questions will determine which side pocket you keep your handkerchief in?"
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"Cruising is a mediocre thriller but an amazing time capsule -- a heady, horny flashback to the last gasp of full-blown sexual abandon, and easily the most graphic depiction of gay sex ever seen in a mainstream movie."
‑ Nathan Lee, Village Voice
"Friedkin makes the kind of films that a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers might make given the chance."
‑ Brian Holcomb, Kinetofilm
"The film comes off as little more than a sensationalized exploitation flick."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Cruising can now be ranked among Friedkin's very best films."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Both on a conceptual level and in practice, Cruising buys into and advances some of the most dangerous myths about homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle."
‑ Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
More reviews for Cruising on Rotten Tomatoes