What are the social commentaries in Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon"?
What are the filmmaker's views on American society in the 70's?
- Anonymous10 years agoFavorite Answer
Although Dog Day Afternoon was released nationally in 1975, it is based on events that took place in Brooklyn three years earlier, in 1972. During this era of thick and extremely heavy opposition to the Vietnam war, "anti-establishment" Sonny repeatedly reminds people he is a Vietnam veteran and repeats the counter-cultural war cry of "Attica!" in reference to the Attica Prison riots. Another point made clear in the film is that Sonny never quite adjusted to civilian life after Vietnam.
Upon its release, Dog Day Afternoon received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The film currently holds a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Vincent Canby called it "Sidney Lumet's most accurate, most flamboyant New York movie" and praised the "brilliant characterizations" by the entire cast. Roger Ebert called Sonny "one of the most interesting modern movie characters" and gave the movie three-and-a-half stars out of four. As time has passed, the film continues to generate a positive critical reception. For example, Christopher Null has said that the film "captures perfectly the zeitgeist of the early 1970s, a time when optimism was scraping rock bottom" and that "John Wojtowicz was as good a hero as we could come up with". P.F. Kluge, author of the article that inspired the film, believed that the filmmakers "stayed with the surface of a lively journalistic story" and that the film had a "strong, fast-paced story" without "reflection" or "a contemplative view of life". Dog Day Afternoon also ranks 443rd on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. Vrij Nederland named the bank robbery scene the third best bank robbery in film history, behind bank robbery scenes from Raising Arizona (1987) and Heat (1995).