Prince of the City: Remembering Sidney Lumet

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RETROSPECTIVE OF “THE QUINTESSENTIAL NEW YORK FILMMAKER” WILL FEATURE GUEST APPEARANCES BY TREAT WILLIAMS, ARMAND ASSANTE, PAUL CALDERON, SCREENWRITER WALTER BERNSTEIN, FORMER NYPD NARCOTICS DETECTIVE ROBERT LEUCI, AND JUDGE EDWIN TORRES.

Literally born into the business as the son of actors from the Yiddish theater, Sidney Lumet began acting at the age of four, and made his Broadway debut at age 11 and first film appearance at 15. But it was as a director—first in the new medium of television and later in movies—that he found his true calling, drawing on his experience in front of the camera to become the very definition of an “actor’s director.” From 12 Angry Men in 1957 to Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead in 2007, Lumet averaged a film per year, leading 17 performers to Oscar nominations (six of whom won), and running the gamut from scabrous satires and fever-pitch melodramas to iconic police stories and even a musical—more often than not with the city of New York as his canvas. He was, in the words of Woody Allen, “the quintessential New York filmmaker,” whether telling gritty stories of urban corruption or adapting classics of the Broadway stage. On the occasion of his passing earlier this year at age 86, we remember this extraordinary career with a look back at 16 Lumet classics.

Past Films

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Sidney Lumet | 2007 | 35mm | 116 mins

Bonds of blood run sour in Lumet’s powerful last feature, when brothers (Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman) plot rob their own parents’ shop.

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Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon

Sidney Lumet | 1975 | 35mm | 130 mins

There’s still nothing quite like Lumet’s spectacular story of a bank robbery turned media spectacle, starring Al Pacino as a man stealing to fund his lover’s sex-change operation.

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12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men

Sidney Lumet | 1957 | 35mm | 95 mins

With the teenage defendant’s life in the balance, it’s up to Henry Fonda to convince his fellow jurors of “reasonable doubt” in this nail-biting classic.

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Serpico

Serpico

Sidney Lumet | 1973 | 35mm | 130 mins

One of the great New York crime stories, and a portrait of one man’s resolve, stars Al Pacino as a plainclothes cop who testifies against corruption.

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Fail-Safe

Fail-Safe

Sidney Lumet | 1964 | 35mm | 111 mins

Q&A with screenwriter Walter Bernstein after the 6:15pm screening on July 20!

When a computer glitch threatens total nuclear annihilation, the President (Henry Fonda) scrambles for damage control in this taut, suspenseful Cold War thriller. Co-starring Walter Matthau.

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Find Me Guilty

Find Me Guilty

Sidney Lumet | 2006 | Digital | 124 mins

Lumet returns to the courtroom with this underrated drama, starring Vin Diesel as the goofy but charismatic mobster who surprisingly represents himself in court.

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Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Sidney Lumet | 1962 | 35mm | 174 mins

The definitive Eugene O’Neill on film stars Ralph Richardson  as embittered stage actor, husband to recovering morphine addict (Oscar nominee Katharine Hepburn). With Jason Robards Jr., Dean Stockwell.

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Network

Network

Sidney Lumet | 1976 | 35mm | 121 mins

Peter Finch is the “mad as hell” prophet of the airwaves in Lumet’s classic, uncannily prescient TV satire. Starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall.

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The Offence

The Offence

Sidney Lumet | 1972 | 35mm | 112 mins

In Lumet’s extraordinary, little-known film, Sean Connery gives a revelatory performance as a burned-out British detective on a task force searching for an accused child molester.

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The Pawnbroker

The Pawnbroker

Sidney Lumet | 1964 | 35mm | 116 mins

The first American film to address the Holocaust from the perspective of a survivor, The Pawnbroker—and Rod Steiger’s performance—has lost none of its power to shock and disturb.

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Prince of the City

Prince of the City

Sidney Lumet | 1981 | 35mm | 167 mins

In person: actor Treat Williams and former NYPD narcotics detective Robert Leuci!

An idealistic cop (Treat Williams) tells the Feds about his department’s corruption. Based on the experiences of NYPD narcotics detective Robert Leuci.

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Q&A

Q&A

Sidney Lumet | 1990 | 35mm | 132 mins

Armand Assante, Paul Calderon and Judge Edwin Torres will attend and participate in a Q&A following the screening.

Lumet’s blistering adaptation stars Nick Nolte in a towering performance as an openly racist NYPD copy and Timothy Hutton as an investigating DA.

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Running on Empty

Running on Empty

Sidney Lumet | 1988 | 35mm | 116 mins

Lumet’s provocative, emotionally powerful family drama stars Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti as aging Sixties radicals on the lam, with a piano-prodigy son (Oscar-nominated River Phoenix).

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The Sea Gull

The Sea Gull

Sidney Lumet | 1968 | 35mm | 141 mins

Lumet adapted Chekhov’s masterpiece of messy romantic triangles with an all-star international cast including Simone Signoret, James Mason, David Warner, Vanessa Redgrave. NOT ON DVD.

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The Verdict

The Verdict

Sidney Lumet | 1982 | 35mm | 129 mins

Lumet’s masterful, Oscar-nominated courtroom drama features Paul Newman in one of his greatest performances as an ambulance-chaser who undergoes a crisis of conscience. With James Mason, Charlotte Rampling.

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The Wiz

The Wiz

Sidney Lumet | 1978 | 35mm | 133 mins

The cult classic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz stars Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Richard Pryor, and showcases Manhattan as you’ve never seen it.

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