The first film in Lumet’s unofficial trilogy about New York City police corruption (followed by Prince of the City and Q&A) recounts the true-life exploits Frank Serpico (Al Pacino, in an Oscar-nominated performance), a plainclothes cop whose landmark testimony helped to expose the biggest corruption scandal in NYPD history. Filmed on location in four of the five boroughs and set to composer Mikis Theodorakis’s Grammy-nominated score, Serpico endures as one of the great New York crime stories, and a remarkable portrait of one man’s unwavering resolve in the face of widespread intimidation.
—Vincent Canby, The New York Times