Serpico is an engrossing, immediate depiction of 1973 New York and includes a turn by a young Pacino that's both ferocious and career changing.
Wonderful potential, and wasted. Serpico has some brutal surface flash and an acetylene performance by Al Pacino in the title role, but its energy is used to dodge all the questions it should have raised and answered.
"Serpico" is a candid and gritty police expose film that juxtaposes systematic police graft with the personal toll it takes on the man who attempts to blow the lid on the crooked activities that surround him.
... set the style of American crime dramas in the seventies with his gritty look at street-level law enforcement and realistic portrait of procedure and systemic failure and it established Lumet as a director of intelligent, gritty, modern crime dramas
A virtuoso performance by Al Pacino and some expert location work by Sidney Lumet add up to a tour de force genre piece that transcends the supercop conventions to create a moving, engrossing portrait of Frank Serpico.
A remarkable record of one man's rebellion against the sort of sleaziness and second-rateness that has affected so much American life, from the ingredients of its hamburgers to the ethics of its civil servants and politicians.