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Cruising (1980)

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1:30 | Trailer
A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

William Friedkin, Gerald Walker (novel)
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Popularity
4,714 ( 429)
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Steve Burns
Paul Sorvino ... Capt. Edelson
Karen Allen ... Nancy
Richard Cox ... Stuart Richards
Don Scardino ... Ted Bailey
Joe Spinell ... Patrolman DiSimone
Jay Acovone ... Skip Lee
Randy Jurgensen ... Det. Lefransky
Barton Heyman ... Dr. Rifkin
Gene Davis ... DaVinci
Arnaldo Santana Arnaldo Santana ... Loren Lukas
Larry Atlas Larry Atlas ... Eric Rossman
Allan Miller ... Chief of Detectives
Sonny Grosso Sonny Grosso ... Det. Blasio
Ed O'Neill ... Det. Schreiber (as Edward O'Neil)
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Storyline

A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Al Pacino is Cruising for a killer.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

William Friedkin's Cruising See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$19,798,718

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,814,523
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 1hr 33 mins) The corpse's position is modeled on the cover of David Bowie's album Lodger. "It also was an interesting position to find a dead body in." See more »

Goofs

Just before the first murder happens you can see the blood tube for a few moments as the first stabs are going into his back. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Stuart Richards: You made me do that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film only opens with the title in large letters, across the screen. It is only at the end where the filmmakers are credited. See more »

Alternate Versions

The CBS/FOX video release (now out of print) was the most complete version available. It has about 45 seconds of footage of SM bondage and sex (during the Police Night scene) that has been deleted from the Warner Video release, and two lines of dialogue near the end of the film when detectives are searching the killer's dorm room and mention the killers father has been dead for ten years See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Loneliness
Performed by The Cripples
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Controversial Document of Its Time
13 July 1999 | by rand-4See all my reviews

Viewed today, "Cruising" still elicits intense responses from both Gay and straight viewers alike. Mainstream Gays lament, as many protestors of the film at the time of its release, that it shows a homophobic image of Gay life, depecting them as sex-obsessed. Straights are put off by the frank look at the Gay sex "cruising" culture.

Interesting, however, some of the people involved in the Leather/SM subculture at the time this film was made have praised it for its accuracy of this particular lifestyle -- a pre-AIDS lifestyle concentrated on quick sex that was (and still is) pursued by a segment of the Gay community.

The film does not pretend to depict Gays as a whole. It is just a drama about a police investigation that uses the scene as a background and catalyst for an exploration into how one cop is affected by his work.

Not the greatest film ever made, but certainly a good springboard for discussion about the Gay community's politics, when one fully examines the controversy surrounding the film and the continued debate over public sex and body image in the community.

The strengths of "Cruising" are its use of locales and documentary-style cinematography, as well as the interesting performance from Paccino. In the end, it is hampered as a drama by problems with the narrative structure of the piece that seems to fizzle out in the last act, leading to an intriguing, but inconclusive, finish.


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