Cops and Robbers (1973)

Tom (Cliff Gorman) is a New York beat officer who tries an experiment. One night he walks into a liquor store and robs it while dressed in full uniform. And he gets away with it. About a week later he tells his colleague Joe (Joseph Bologna), a detective in the same precinct, what he did. Together, the two hatch a plan to do one big heist while dressed as police officers and stash the money away for their retirement.

Weeks go by with the job just being a pipe dream until opportunity arises. Joe has big-time gangster Patsy O'Neill (John P. Ryan) brought in on a minor charge to check him out, and later goes to meet with him at his mansion. O'Neill, thinking the two are bumblers who will never pull off the job, says that he wants them to steal $10 million in bearer bonds, for which he will pay them a million dollars.

However, Tom and Joe are dreaming big. The opportunity to commit the robbery comes with a parade honoring Apollo 11 astronauts. A larger than usual police presence is expected and a couple extra officers committing a robbery won't be noticed until long after. After weeks of preparation, the two, both dressed as regular beat cops, disguised with moustaches and using a cop car that is currently listed as being in for repairs, manage to pull it off. However, in the process, they have to shred the bonds due to the bank having real cops show up due to an unrelated shooting in the building's elevator.

However, the robbery gets on the news, which was the pre-arranged signal to O'Neill that they had succeeded. The cops decide that, even without the bonds, they are going to go ahead with the exchange and get the money. At the same time O'Neill is now in a tight spot. Believing that he will have to pay out, he borrows money from fellow gangster Mr. Joe (Nino Ruggeri) to make the payment - with no intention of ever letting the cops live long enough to pay for it, especially since failure to return the payment also would be a death sentence for O'Neill.

I have no idea why this movie is not more well known. It may be because of the bland title or the fact that it is not a blood-on-the-walls police thriller, but in some ways rather light-hearted. It may also have been a bit of sore spot for New Yorkers at the time as investigations were revealing just how corrupt their police department was at the time. Whatever the reason this seems to have fallen through the cracks over the years.

It's a shame, because this has everything you could wish for in a movie of this type: morally ambiguous characters, semi-documentary filming and a thrilling last-act car chase. In fact, someone remembered this, because the chase through Central Park was copied in some ways in the video game Grand Theft Auto 3.

So, after you've seen all the biggies like The French Connection and the The Taking of Pelham 123, don't forget to check this one out as well.

Cops and Robbers (1973)
Duration: 89 minutes
Starring: Cliff Gorman, Joseph Bologna, John P. Ryan
Director: Aram Avakian

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Burglars (1971)

Predator (1987)

The Nude Bomb (1980)