Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

In Sidney Lumet's crime drama, based on a real-life situation in August of 1972:

  • hyperactive, anti-social Sonny Wortzik's (Al Pacino) armed robbery of the First Brooklyn Savings Bank (FBSB) during a heat wave, when innocent hostages were taken; Sonny was accompanied by his friend Salvatore "Sal" Naturale (John Cazale), but the third person in the trio chickened out and nervously fled - Stevie (Gary Springer)
  • the scenes of Sonny's continued dialogue and negotiations with Police Detective Sergeant Eugene Moretti (Charles Durning) handling the case from the bank's exterior, surrounded by massive numbers of police officers
  • Sonny's chanted shouts of "Attica! Attica! Remember Attica!" (a reference to the recent Attica prison riot in New York in 1971) to encourage a mob of curious onlookers outside the bank to cheer for him
  • after paying for a pizza delivery, Sonny tossed wads of bank cash into the air outside the bank, causing the crowds to become more crazed
  • the revelation of the alleged motive for the robbery - to pay for the sex re-assignment surgery for Sonny's wife, a pre-operative transgender woman named Leon Shermer (Chris Sarandon) ("I was a woman trapped in a man's body"); this was revealed by Sonny's impassioned police telephone call conversation to his transvestite lover Leon outside the bank, in which Leon claimed that Sonny had promised to purchase a sex-change operation for $2,500 dollars; during the later phone conversation, Leon admitted that Sonny had been abusive and caused him to check into the psychiatric ward of Bellevue Hospital with suicidal tendencies; the phone call ended with Leon's simple farewell: "Goodbye, huh?"
About Leon Shermer
Leon's Wedding Photo
Leon (Chris Sarandon) on Phone With Sonny
  • the concluding scene of the two robbers (with the remaining hostages) driven to JFK Airport in a limousine to escape on a plane, when driver Agent Murphy (Lance Henriksen) at the wheel took an opportune moment, reached for a hidden weapon, and shot Sal in the forehead - and Sonny was arrested (with a gun held to his head
  • the epilogue in the ending subtitles: Sonny was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Angie (Sonny's first wife) and her children were living on welfare, and Leon had her sex reassignment surgery and was living as a woman in New York City

Armed Bank Robbery

Police Detective Sergeant Eugene Moretti (Charles Durning)

Sonny with Sal

"Attica! Attica!"

Killing of Sal in Airport Limousine

Sonny Arrested


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