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They were only rookies… Two green cops blown away on the killer walkways of New York. Fort Apache, The Bronx… the 41st Precinct where nobody ever gets a second chance and most don’t even have a first. Now the Force is on the prowl under a tough new captain who is determined to shape up this last command. A command for losers where life is mean and death is often murder and where the law of the jungle is the only law.
The film, which opens today at the Criterion and other theaters, is a tough-talking street melodrama, both shocking and sorrowful, acted by Paul Newman and a huge cast with the kind of conviction that can’t be ignored…it’s also entertaining and very moving, which is not something you can say of most movies about the decline and fall of civilizations.
“…based on the experiences of a couple of real cops in the worst area of New York’s Bronx. The area looks like a bomb site, with burned-out buildings and people. The filmmakers wanted to go into this area and use a police story as a framework for showing how people live and suffer there, and how public agencies such as the police grow frustrated trying to deal with an impossible situation.”
“There were authentic perceptions and ideas available to this film and you can see them on the screen. You can see them in the look of some of the shots, tracking across the urban wasteland, and in the sound and feel of a scene where a pimp beats and berates one of his girls, and the grim humor of a scene where a thief outruns a cop who pauses, gasping for breath, and lights a cigarette.”
One of the reasons the film is so effective is that, right from the start, the audience shares a sense of physical desolation that eventually becomes psychological as well as spiritual.
—New York Times
The movie stars Paul Newman. He’s good in his role, as a cop named Murphy who simultaneously falls in love with a nurse, witnesses his fellow officers committing a murder, and has a battle of will with his commanding officer…
“…The Bronx still suffers from the terrifying image left by “Fort Apache, the Bronx.”