Prince of the City
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Running time: 167 minutes
Based on the true story of Detective Second Grade Robert Leuci, Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981) is a movie about ethics and corruption in the NYPD. Leuci, renamed Ciello in the movie and played by Treat Williams, joins a investigation of corruption within the Special Investigating Unit of the Narcotics Division. So called, “the Princes of the city”, this unit comprises some of the best, and most envied employees of the NYPD. Essentially a freelance crew who have no set hours, beats or uniforms they are renowned for their sartorial flair and for playing by their own rules. The downside to their lonely, thankless task, however, is that they are highly susceptible and corruption is rife, in particular, the practice of stealing and sharing out the large amounts of money they collect on drug busts. Ciello who only reluctantly agrees to join the investigation, gets wired up for sound and goes undercover, but with the proviso that he will never have to cheat on his friends. But facing rising pressure and evidence of malpractice all around, he begins to fall apart from the seams, exposing his colleague's corruption and, eventually, confessing to his own. In real life, Leuci was never prosecuted but became a pariah, ostracised from the police force having violated the bond he swore to keep. Although the film assert's Lumet's idea that “Nobody turns out to be what you think they are” it's also a genuine tragedy since 50 SIU detectives were indicted in the real life investigation. A morality tale of sin, guilt and redemption, Prince of the City was nominated for an Academy Award and won best film at the Venice Film Festival.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.