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Sunday, January 15, 2006 


... and 19 other reasons why Dog Day Afternoon is the best heist movie and Pacino's best performance.

2. The lead character has a fat wife, is called Sonny, and is robbing a bank to fund a gay guy's sex change operation.
3. It has one of the best down endings in cinema history.
4. The 'heist' isn't exactly successful, the leads have little to no idea what they're doing, and freak out over food.
5. Pacino is marvellously unrestrained. Coming off the back of The Godfather Part II, this solidifies his range and place as one of cinema's greats. He has something DeNiro can't touch: spontaneity.
6. "Sal, Wyoming's not a country."
7. The hostages talk back. Something which more modern (less successful) films like The Negotiator would gleefully rip off.
8. The film relies on tension, but not created through action rather its slapdash nature and dialogue-driven diatribes with real, flawed people.
9. John Cazale is in it.
10. Lance Henriksen is in it (and not as a cyborg or vampire).
11. It is just as relevant today as it ever was. A would-be armed robber holds up a bank only to be exploited on national television. And he likes it.
12. We want Sonny to get away with it.
13. It takes place in one shot, lending a greater depth to Pacino's unpredictability, and shows superb passage of time -something which most movies fail miserably with.
14. This poster:

15. The classic conversation between Sonny and Leon was largely improvised.
16. Pacino knows when to shout.
17. The police don't pull one false move, and we never really know their motivations. In fact the whole movie feels completely organic
18. That cool-as-fuck bank manager who tips them off. Also he's fat.
19. It's a brutal, unflinching look at down-own-their-ass guys, and it's directed by Sidney Lumet. It says so much about people (not just Pacino, but think of the girls that work there) and manages never to hammer its message home overtly, instead filtering this through a now familiar vehicle to elicit the right amount of humour, tension, and rivalry.
20. And it's all true.

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