Across 110th Street (1972)
Two New York City cops go after amateur crooks who are trying to rip off the Mafia and start a gang war.
In Harlem, two Italian mobsters meet three black gangsters that work to the kingpin Doc Johnson to collect dirty money from their associates in an apartment building. Out of the blue, the smalltime thieves Jim Harris and Joe Logart knock on the door disguised as police officers to steal US$ 300,000.00 from the Mafia. However, they startle when the suitcase with the money falls on the floor and Jim kills the five men with a machine gun. They flee to the runaway car driven by Henry J. Jackson and they kill two policemen. The idealist NYPD Lt. Pope and the violent Capt. Mattelli investigate the case while the Italian Mafia and the black gangsters hunt the killers down. Will Jim Harris and his accomplices be found?
In a daring robbery, some $300,000 is taken from the Italian mob. Several mafiosi are killed, as are two policemen. Lt. Pope and Mattelli are two New York City cops trying to break the case. Three small-time criminals are on the run with the money. Will the mafia catch them first, or will the police?
This is a violent urban thriller about a corrupt old white cop and an honest young black cop chasing three black robbers-cum-murderers who ran away with $300,000 that belonged to the Italian mob. The police must find them before the sadistic Mafia henchman Nick D'Salvio reaches them first.
- A trade of drug money is occurring between two Italians (from the South of 110th street in New York) and three blacks (from Harlem to the North of 110th Street). Suddenly, two men (Paul Benjamin & Ed Bernard) uniformed as police officers knock on the door. When they enter one of the two men dressed as cops holds the drug dealers hostage with a machine gun. When one of the black hostages reaches for his pistol, the man shoots everyone in the room to death, except his partner. When the two killers rush out with the drug money, they hop in a car with their driver (Antonio Vargas). When the driver nervously hits a few of the cars around them, it attracts the attention of an African-American cop, who is shot to death by the man with the machine gun before he realizes what's going on. Another cop (this one white) comes upon the situation and pulls his gun, but is fatally hit by the getaway car.
Seemingly before the cops are aware of the situation, the two crime syndicates are aware that they've been ripped off. Mafioso Nick D'Salvio(Anthony Franciosa) is coached by his Don (who is also his father-in-law) that this is an opportunity to keep the blacks in check and that he must severely punish the men responsible for the robbery and the murder of the two Italians. D'Salvio pays a visit to the black crime boss in Harlem, Doc Johnson (Richard Ward). Johnson promises to put his main henchman, Shevvy (Gilbert Lewis), on the the trail of the thiefs. But D'Salvio threateningly intones that, while Shevvy may find them, the punishment must be left to the Italians. Johnson, unintimidated, taunts D'Salvio as a "punk errand boy", causing D'Salvio to try to attack him. However, D'Salvio's henchman hold him back and calm him before they leave.
The police have finally arrived and are all over the building where the drug theft and massacre occurred. Aging Cpt. Mattelli (Anthony Quinn) arrives prepared to oversee the investigation. However Mattelli's chief lets him know to his chagrin that the much younger (and African-American) Lt. Pope (Yaphet Kotto) will be leading the investigation. Pope mistrusts Mattelli because he rightly believes Mattelli to be a drunk, a racist, and a crooked cop who doesn't hestitate to beat up suspects or even crime witnesses.
The mostly black residents in the surrounding neighborhood of the crime (although we know many of them witnessed the crime) refuse to disclose information to the police. However, they gladly let Doc Johnson know the vehicle that was used in the getaway. Shevvy and D'Salvio use this track down it's new owner, Henry J. Jackson, who we recognize as the getaway driver of earlier. Meanwhile, tipped off to the vehicle's location, Mattelli and Pope have the car pulled out of the Hudson River. However, before they can figure out who was driving, Shevvy and D'Salvio have tracked down Jackson to a whorehouse. D'Salvio smashes Jackson in the face with a glass and then beats him to the floor until Jackson is a bloody pulp. Before they leave, Shevvy is given Jackson's clothes and finds a note from a dry cleaners. The police find Jackson tied up in crucifixion and that he's been castrated. Pope and Mattelli try to get Jackson to tell them the identity of his killer in an ambulance, but Jackson is only able to scream in agony before he dies.
Joe Logart (Bernard), who we recognize as one of the thieves dressed as a cop at the beginning, nervously sees the TV report of Jackson's murder. He is an employee at the same dry cleaner that Jackson had a note from. He goes to see the other, more trigger happy thief, Jim Harris (Benjamin), to let him know that he's going to try and leave the area. Logart suggests that Harris should escape as well, but Harris refuses and wishes Logart well. We find that Harris lives with his girlfriend and has told her about the robbery. Harris is a 42-year-old ex-con and tells her that there's no way he could make money other than by crime.
Mattelli takes Pope to Doc Johnson's office. Mattelli warns Johnson "no more crucifixions!" However, Johnson is again unfazed and denies involvement in Jackson's murder. For Pope's benefit, Johnson announces that Mattelli has long since been paid off by Johnson for looking the other way in numerous crimes. Mattelli nearly attacks Johnson but sadly backs away. Johnson makes it clear that he no longer wants to deal with Mattelli and offers Pope to take his place. However, the honest Pope tells Johnson to take his money and "stick it up your ass". When Shevvy tries to manhandle Mattelli out of Johnson's office, Mattelli assaults him and beats him badly. However, Pope manages to pull Mattelli away.
Logart, bags all packed, hails a cab. The cab driver acts suspicuously and calls into say that this be his "last fare of the night". Suddenly, two cars, containing D'Salvio, Shevvy and their henchmen, pull in front of the taxi. The cab driver runs off, but Logart manages to jump to the driver's seat and drive off. He runs down one of Shevvy's men and shoots another. Logart speeds off, but hits traffic with the two cars coming after him. Logart abandons the taxi and runs into an empty high rise being built. He manages to kill a couple more henchman, but Logart is soon surrounded and overpowered on one of the highest floors. D'Salvio and his men hang Logart by his ankles and swing him off the edge of the building. They threaten to let him fall to his death if he doesn't disclose the identity of his crime partner. He eventually does tell them about Harris, but D'Salvio still lets Logart die.
Mattelli and Pope go to visit Jackson's estranged wife. They let her know that Jackson has been killed, but Pope claims it was in a car accident. When they question her about Jackson's associates, she recalls Jim Harris's name. Going through police records, Mattelli and Pope narrow the various suspects down to the most likely "Jim Harris". Mattelli soon offers to confess to his various illegal activities so Pope can take his position, but the angry Pope refuses, saying he wants to become Captain on his own terms.
Harris leaves his girlfriend's apartment to go to an abandoned hideout nearby. However, he seems to have forgotten his medicine and goes into a seisure. When his girlfriend rushes to his hideout to give him his medicine, she is followed (without her knowledge) by Shevvy, who concludes that she must be going to see Harris. Shevvy and Johnson tip off D'Salvio to Harris's location, after which Johnson claims to know how this situation is going to turn out.
The next morning, D'Salvio and a few henchmen go to the building where Harris and his girlfriend are hiding. D'Salvio knocks on his door and claims to be police. Harris immediately opens fire through the door, killing one of D'Salvio's henchmen. D'Salvio returns fire into the apartment, shooting and killing Harris's girlfriend. D'Salvio and Harris shoot it out through the hideout door. Harris eventually shoots D'Salvio and then knocks him over with the door, sending D'Salvio down the stairs to smash his face through a window . D'Salvio dies screaming. Harris goes out the street and mows down all of D'Salvio's henchmen with his machinegun. When a cop car pulls up, Harris also guns down both cops inside.
Soon, the building is surrounded by cops, including Mattelli and Pope, and Harris takes refuge inside. The police trade fire with him until he is cornered on the roof. We see an unnoticed Shevvy crouched on the roof a nearby building, armed but seemingly enjoying the violent spectacle. Although Harris kills a few more cops, some snipers shoot him in the side and the arm. Harris throws his bag of hard-fought drug money over the side of the building into a crowd of onlookers, who fight over it. Mattelli climbs up to confront Harris, but lose his footing and is soon at Harris's gun point. However, before Harris can kill Mattelli, Pope arrives, shooting and finally killing Harris. Shevvy sets up his sniper gun on a mount and then shoots Mattelli. Mattelli falls into Pope's hands and dies.