Dog Day Afternoon

1975 film directed by Sidney Lumet

Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American crime drama movie directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson and based on an article from Life magazine. The movie stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, Chris Sarandon and Charles Durning. The story is about bank robbery in New York City.

Dog Day Afternoon
Directed bySidney Lumet
Screenplay byFrank Pierson
Based on"The Boys in the Bank"
by P. F. Kluge
Thomas Moore
Produced byMartin Bregman
Martin Elfand
StarringAl Pacino
John Cazale
Charles Durning
James Broderick
Chris Sarandon
CinematographyVictor J. Kemper
Edited byDede Allen
Music byElton John (Song)
Uriah Heep (Song)
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 21, 1975 (1975-09-21)
Running time
125 minutes
131 minutes (Director's cut)
CountryUnited States
Box office$50,000,000[1]

The Life article described Wojtowicz as "a dark, thin fellow with the broken-faced good looks of an Al Pacino or Dustin Hoffman".[2] Hoffman was offered the role when Pacino briefly quit. An 18-year-old actor was originally to be cast in the role of Sal to match the age of the actual Salvatore.[3] The table below shows the main cast of Dog Day Afternoon.[2]

Character Actor Role Similar person from Life article
Sonny Wortzik Al Pacino Bank robber John Wojtowicz
Salvatore "Sal" Naturale John Cazale Sonny's partner in the robbery Salvatore "Sal" Naturile
Sergeant Eugene Moretti Charles Durning Police Sergeant who originally negotiates with Sonny NYPD Police Chief of Detectives Louis C. Cottell
Agent Sheldon James Broderick FBI agent who replaces Moretti in negotiations Agent Richard Baker
Agent Murphy Lance Henriksen FBI agent/driver Agent Murphy
Leon Shermer Chris Sarandon Sonny's pre-operative transsexual wife Ernest Aron
Sylvia "Mouth" Penelope Allen Head teller Shirley "Mouth" Ball
Mulvaney Sully Boyar Bank manager Robert Barrett
Angela "Angie" Wortzik Susan Peretz Sonny's wife Carmen "Mouth" Bifulco
Jenny "The Squirrel" Carol Kane Bank teller
Margaret Beulah Garrick Bank teller
Deborah Sandra Kazan Bank teller
Edna Estelle Omens Bank teller Josephine Tuttino
Miriam Marcia Jean Kurtz Bank teller
Maria Amy Levitt Kathleen Amore
Stevie Gary Springer Bank robber Robert Westenberg
Howard Calvin John Marriott Unarmed bank guard Calvin Jones
Doctor Philip Charles MacKenzie Doctor who treats Mulvaney Doctor
Carmine Carmine Foresta
Phone cop Floyd Levine
Limo driver Dick Anthony Williams
Sonny's father Dominic Chianese
Neighbor Marcia Haufrecht
Sonny's mother Judith Malina Theresa Basso-Wojtowicz
TV anchorman William Bogert
TV reporter Ron Cummins
Sam Jay Gerber Insurance salesman from across the street Joe Anterio
Maria's boyfriend Edwin "Chu Chu" Malave
Pizza boy Lionel Pina

Historical accuracy

The location of the actual event, 450 Avenue P, Brooklyn, New York (1975 photo)

The movie was based on the story of John Wojtowicz. It keeps the basic facts of what happened, according to the Life article "The Boys in the Bank". According to the article, Wojtowicz, along with Sal Naturile, held up a Chase Manhattan Bank branch in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972.[2]

After being arrested, Wojtowicz was convicted in court and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He served six years.[4]

Wojtowicz wrote a letter to The New York Times in 1975. He said the movie was not completely true. He said the way his ex-wife was shown was not accurate. He also said there was not a talk with his mother. He did say Al Pacino and Chris Sarandon's portrayals of him and his boyfriend Ernest Aron were good.[5] Also, Sal was 18 years old, but is played by a 39-year-old.

Wojtowicz died of cancer in January 2006.



Dog Day Afternoon won the Academy Award for Writing – Original Screenplay (Frank Pierson) and was nominated for other Oscars:[6]

The movie was also nominated for the following seven Golden Globes, winning none:[6]

The movie won other awards, including an NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor (Charles Durning) and a Writers Guild Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen (Frank Pierson) as well as the British Academy Award for Best Actor (Al Pacino). It was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.[7]


  1. "Dog Day Afternoon, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The Boys in the Bank" by P.F. Kluge and Thomas Moore for Life, September 22, 1972, Vol. 73(12).
  3. Lumet, Sidney. Dog Day Afternoon, feature commentary
  4. Bank robber wins parole
  5. Real Dog Day hero tells his story by John Wojtowicz from Jump Cut, no. 15, 1977, pp. 31–32. Retrieved March 13, 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 Awards for Dog Day Afternoon for IMDb. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
  7. "25 new titles added to National Film Registry". Yahoo News. Yahoo. December 30, 2009. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2009.

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