Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) is up against it in Dog Day Afternoon, directed by Sidney Lumet. He has a mountain of debts, an unhappy wife and a male lover who wants a sex-change operation. So he enlists the help of Sal (John Cazale) to rob a Brooklyn bank on a hot August day in 1972.
The heist goes horribly wrong and the two men wind up holding the staff and clients hostage while the incident snowballs into a city-wide ordeal.
Pacino delivers a mesmeric performance as the loser who begins to relish the notoriety he wins while negotiating with the cops in the sticky heat of a New York summer.
It is based on a real-life event (nothing surprises New Yorkers) and was tautly scripted by Frank Pierson, drawing on an article by B.F. Kluge and Thomas Moore.
The real-life Wortzik was sentenced to 20 years in prison, of which he served six and a half. He was paroled in 1978.
Marcia Jean Kurtz