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December 5, 1973

Serpico is a 1973 biographical-crime film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al Pacino. The film was adapted by Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler from the book of the same name by Peter Maas, who wrote the book with the assistance of its subject, Frank Serpico. The story detailed Serpico's struggle with corruption within the New York City Police Department during his eleven years of service, and his work as a whistleblower that led to the investigation by the Knapp Commission.

Producer Dino De Laurentiis purchased the rights from Maas. Agent Martin Bregman joined the film as co-producer. Bregman suggested Pacino for the main part, and John G. Avildsen was hired to direct the film. Pacino gathered with Serpico to prepare for the role early in the summer of 1973. After Avildsen was dismissed, Lumet was hired as his replacement. On a short notice, he selected the shooting locations and organized the scenes; the production was filmed in July and August.

Upon its release, Serpico became a critical and commercial success. At the same time, the film drew criticism from police officers. It received nominations for the Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards. Pacino earned the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, while Salt and Wexler received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.


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