Serpico is a 1973 American crime film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Al PacinoWaldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas' biography of NYPD officer Frank Serpico (born 1936), who went undercover to expose corruption in the force. Both Maas's book and the film cover 12 years — 1960 to June 15, 1972 — in the life of Serpico, who wanted to do the best job he could do as an honest policeman.

Plot summaryEdit

Working as a uniformed patrolman, Frank Serpico succeeds in every assignment. He moves on to plainclothes assignments, where he slowly discovers a hidden world of illicit activities among his own colleagues. After witnessing cops use drugs, commit violence, take paybacks and other forms of police corruption, Serpico decides to expose what he has seen, but he is harassed and threatened by his peers. The struggle leads to infighting within the police force, problems in his personal relationships, and life-threatening situations. Finally, after being shot in the face during a drug bust on February 3, 1971, he testifies before the Knapp Commission, a government inquiry into NYPD police corruption between 1970 and 1972. After receiving a New York City Police Department Medal of Honor and a disability pension, Serpico resigned from the force and moved to Switzerland.


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