Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981) 3.29/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 69.2
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 125 mins
Director: Daniel Petrie Sr
Screenplay: Heywood Gould
Stars: Paul Newman, Edward Asner, Ken Wahl, Pam Grier

This minor gem about two cops working the South Bronx has seemingly been forgotten or perhaps it was never remembered as well as it deserved to be. Paul Newman plays the veteran officer Murphy whose compassionate approach to his job is in contrast to the cynicism and heavy-handedness of many of his fellow officers. Ken Wahl plays his slick young partner whose ambition lets him look past all of the corruption that beleaguers Murphy. The film plays out more as an Altman-like series of vignettes that are threaded together from the beginning by a murderous hooker played with a disturbingly quiet menace by Pam Grier. The result is an easy flowing and original police story which is really quite enjoyable. There’s also an authenticity to the film which is sadly missing from many more modern police dramas that is partly due to the many location shots and partly due to the terrific performances from all concerned. Standing out as always is the effortlessly brilliant Newman who gives the Irish cop genuine personality and humour but equally handles the more dramatic scenes with aplomb. If you like the lighter crime dramas of the 70’s and 80’s then this is definitely for you.

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