World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Night Falls on Manhattan

Article Id: WHEBN0002823258
Reproduction Date:

Title: Night Falls on Manhattan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Andy García, Sidney Lumet, Frank Vincent, David Watkin (cinematographer), 1997 in film
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Night Falls on Manhattan

Night Falls on Manhattan
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Produced by Thom Mount
Josh Kramer
John Starke
Written by Novel:
Robert Daley
Sidney Lumet
Starring Andy García
Ian Holm
James Gandolfini
Lena Olin
Richard Dreyfuss
Ron Leibman
Music by Mark Isham
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by Sam O'Steen
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 16, 1997 (1997-05-16)
Running time
113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9,889,670[1]

Night Falls on Manhattan is a 1997 American crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, set and filmed on location in New York City. Its screenplay is by Lumet, based on a novel by Robert Daley entitled Tainted Evidence.

The film centers on a newly elected district attorney played by Andy García, who is eager to stamp out corruption within the New York City Police Department. Ian Holm, James Gandolfini, Lena Olin, Ron Leibman and Richard Dreyfuss star in principal supporting roles.

A joint collective effort to commit to the film's production was made by the studios of Paramount Pictures and Spelling Films. It was commercially distributed by Paramount Pictures theatrically, and by Paramount Home Entertainment for home media. Night Falls on Manhattan explores criminal law, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence.[2] Following its cinematic release, it failed to garner any awards from mainstream organizations for its lead acting or production merits.

Night Falls on Manhattan premiered in U.S. theaters on May 16, 1997 grossing $9,889,670 in domestic ticket receipts. The film saw its widest release in 758 theaters nationwide. Preceding its theatrical run, the film was generally met with mixed to positive critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas. The Region 1 Code widescreen edition with special features was released on DVD in the United States on November 17, 1998.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Filming 3.1
    • Music 3.2
  • Reception 4
    • Critical response 4.1
    • Box office 4.2
    • Home media 4.3
  • See also 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Detectives Liam Casey (Ian Holm) and Joey Allegretto (James Gandolfini) are conducting a surveillance operation to apprehend Jordan Washington (Shiek Mahmud-Bey), a notorious drug dealer. On a tip from an informant, they venture into a building where Washington is presumed to be hiding. Washington preemptively fires a submachine gun through his front door, seriously wounding Casey. Police backup units arrive and swarm the building, but Washington executes a cunning escape in an NYPD squad car after murdering two police officers, while police officers mistakenly kill another one.[2]

In a surprising move after the suspect's lawyer, Sam Vigoda ([11] Smith added, "Expected story developments fail to materialize, and others drop from the blue sky with no apparent rationale. Equally annoying is the film's inability to decide whether it wants to be a conventional melodrama—a view the manically overacting Holm and Ferrer obviously subscribe to—or a dark, nihilistic satire in the vein of other Lumet films such as Network."[11]

Eric Brace of The Washington Post, bluntly commented on the film by writing, "Sidney Lumet mining his familiar territory of corrupt cops and courtroom drama, but if you’re hoping he’s brought something fresh to the topic of justice in the Big Apple, you’ll be disappointed."[22] On a hint of commendation though, he felt "There are plenty of well-filmed scenes of New York in all its glorious grime and decay, and Lumet gives evil a nice touch by having all the bad guys".[22] But ultimately he believed "the predictable lesson—that justice isn’t cut and dry—clogs the film’s gears by the last reel, at least the first half of the movie has some lively story telling."[22] Incidentally, another Washington Post staff writer couldn't fill in an entirely positive review either. Stephen Hunter commented on Lumet's creative direction saying, "You feel the artist's seriousness of purpose, his passion to know and see and get it right. But it all flounders in a tub with the conventions of potboilers—fictionalized history, sudden wacko plot twists, the radical compression of time, the heavy, oafish hand of coincidence, and characters so wispy they could still be notes on an outline".[23] In a slightly more upbeat tone, Leonard Klady of Variety saw Night Falls on Manhattan as being "a strong addition to an oeuvre that includes 'Serpico,' 'Prince of the City' and 'Q&A.' In this story of scandal within the NYPD, the writer-director continues to explore those earlier film's themes of corruption and compromise."[24] He believed "The level of both technical craft and performance is up to the usual high levels associated with the filmmaker."[24] Rating the film with 212 Stars, critic Leonard Maltin sadly wrote that the film "suffers from one major flaw: its central character's naivete. He's constantly shocked by what we in the audience already know—or have guessed." But in positive followup, he pointed out that supporting actor Leibman was "dynamite as the bombastic D.A.."[25]

Box office

The film premiered in cinemas on May 16, 1997 in wide release throughout the U.S.. During its opening weekend, the film opened in a distant 7th place grossing $2,933,255 in business showing at 758 locations.[1] The film The Fifth Element soundly beat its competition during that weekend opening in first place with $11,410,863.[26] The film's revenue dropped by 28% in its second week of release, earning $2,108,268. For that particular weekend, the film fell to 9th place again screening in 758 theaters but not challenging a top five position. The film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, unseated The Fifth Element to open in first place grossing $90,161,880 in box office revenue.[27] The film went on to top out domestically at $9,889,670 in total ticket sales through a 12-week theatrical run.[28] For 1997 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 119.[29]

Home media

Following its cinematic release in theaters, the film was released in VHS video format on May 5, 1998.[30] The Region 1 Code widescreen edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on November 17, 1998. Special features for the DVD include; the original theatrical trailer, audio commentary with director Sidney Lumet, actors Andy García and Ron Leibman as well as with producers Josh Kramer and Thom Mount. The disc also includes interactive menus with scene selection.[31][32] Currently, there is no scheduled release date set for a future Blu-ray Disc version of the film.

See also


  • Daley, Robert (1994). Tainted Evidence. Vision.  
  • Schmalleger, Frank (1997). Crime and the Justice System in America: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press.  
  • Samaha, Joel (2005). Criminal Justice. Wadsworth Publishing.  


  1. ^ a b "Night Falls on Manhattan".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lumet, Sidney (Director). (1997). Night Falls on Manhattan [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d "Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  5. ^ Completes principal photography in New York City"Night Falls on Manhattan". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  6. ^ to begin principal photography on October 11 in New York City"Night Falls on Manhattan"Sidney Lumet's . PR Newswire. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  7. ^ O'Neill, Eugene (May 26, 1997). A Streetwise Legend Sticks To His Guns. New York Magazine. p. 13. Boulder, Colorado. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  8. ^ a b Night Falls on Manhattan. Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  9. ^ Night Falls on Manhattan (1997). Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  10. ^ "1995–2009 ALMA Awards Highlights".  
  11. ^ a b c Smith, Russell (16 May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  12. ^ Maslin, Janet (16 May 1997). Filial Love and Duty In Conflict. The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  13. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (16 May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  14. ^ Stack, Peter (16 May 1997). 'Night' Falls Short/But Lumet's dense thriller offers good performances. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  15. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (16 May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  16. ^ Shulgasser, Barbara (16 May 1997). Lumet illuminates Justice System But 'Night Falls' lacks compelling central character. San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  17. ^ Berardinelli, James (May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. ReelViews. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  18. ^ Thomas, Kevin (May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  19. ^ a b SGr (May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan (1997). Time Out. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  20. ^ Klein, Andy (May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  21. ^ Clark, Mike (16 May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. USA Today. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  22. ^ a b c Brace, Eric (16 May 1997). 'Night Falls' and Can't Get Up. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  23. ^ Hunter, Stephen (16 May 1997). 'Manhattan': A Dark Take on the Apple of Lumet's Eye. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  24. ^ a b Klady, Leonard (17 May 1997). Night Falls on Manhattan. Variety. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  25. ^ Maltin, Leonard (August 5, 2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. Signet. p. 980. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9.
  26. ^ "May 16–18, 1997 Weekend".  
  27. ^ "May 23–26, 1997 Weekend".  
  28. ^ "Night Falls on Manhattan". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  29. ^ "1997 Domestic Grosses".  
  30. ^ "Night Falls on Manhattan VHS Format".  
  31. ^ "Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)".  
  32. ^ "Night Falls on Manhattan DVD Format".  

External links

Writing for

Janet Maslin writing in The New York Times, said director Lumet did "a good job of articulating the disillusioning realities of careerism and crime. And he has an ear, as ever, for the disparate voices of the city." She also casually noted that actor Garcia remained "a polite, neutral presence" through "too many moments, particularly during courtroom scenes that have been edited in awkwardly abrupt ways".[12] Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times referred to the film as "knowledgeable about the city and the people who make accommodations with it. It shows us how boring that obligatory evil kingpin is in so many other crime movies". He explained, it comprises "characters who do wrong and are therefore bad, but it doesn't really have 'villains' in the usual movie sense of the word. It's too smart and grown up for such lazy categories".[13] In the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Stack wrote that "The film's setup is intense, full of fearsome action, a pulse-pumper. But soon it becomes a thinking man's police drama about the political aftermath of the botched drug-lord case." Left unmoved, he declared that although "Lumet and his fine cast play it out in a moody, hard-boiled style, Night Falls on Manhattan falls flat.[14] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, said the film unfolds "less in the gritty world of New York law enforcement than in the implausible tabloid imagination of Robert Daley, on whose pulp novel the film is based." He did though positively comment that "Night Falls on Manhattan makes you nostalgic for Lumet's truly first-rate corruption movies, like the great, underrated Q&A (1990)."[15] In a slightly negative tone, Barbara Shulgasser of the San Francisco Examiner, thought Lumet's "seriousness and simplicity with which he approaches his subject in Night Falls on Manhattan are refreshing even if the vivacity of the thing never really has a chance to develop."[16] James Berardinelli of ReelViews viewed the film as being "savvy about a number of things." He claimed that "Not only does it have a good feel for both sides of the police corruption issue, but it's aware of the political rivalries and behind-the-scenes dealmaking that keeps a city running." In his overall summation, he wrote "Sidney Lumet has done something that I wasn't sure was possible in this age of instant, formulaic gratification: make a riveting cop movie without a car chase and a courtroom thriller without cheap theatrics."[17] Adding to the positive sentiment, Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times, said the story was "a string of unlikely events and coincidences" which "set off Night Falls, and Lumet makes them believable the old-fashioned way: through interaction with a screen full of strongly drawn, fully dimensioned, psychologically valid characters."[18]

The film received mixed reviews.[8] Rotten Tomatoes reported that 68% of 28 sampled critics gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 6.7 out of 10.[9] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average out of 100 to critics' reviews, the film received a score of 58 based on 19 reviews.[8] In 1998, actor Andy García was nominated for an ALMA Award, in the category of Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film, for his performance.[10]

Critical response


The original motion picture soundtrack for Night Falls on Manhattan was not officially released to the public, but features songs composed by veteran musician Wynton Marsalis. The music for the film was orchestrated by Mark Isham, edited by Annette Kudrak and mixed by Stephen Krause, at Capital Studios.[4] The sound effects in the film were supervised by Ron Bochar. The editing of the sound elements was arranged by Glenfield Payne.[4]


According to Lumet, a secondary inspiration for the plot was the true story surrounding the criminal Larry Davis, who escaped arrest from the scene of a drug raid.[7] In the ensuing chaos, Davis shot six NYPD officers and eluded capture for 17 days. The character of Vigoda played by Richard Dreyfuss was patterned after attorney William Kunstler, who defended Davis.[2] The scene of Washington's escape using an NYPD patrol car was staged for dramatic effect. Davis managed to escape the crime scene, but without the use of an actual police car.[2]

Exterior film shooting took place primarily on location in New York City.[4] Filming sets included the Hotel Pennsylvania, the Sherry Netherland Hotel, Bellevue Hospital Center, and the National Arts Club.[4] The opening scene involving the police shootout with Washington, took place in a desolate apartment building in Harlem.[2] Principal photography for the film began on October 11, 1995 and was completed on December 12.[5][6] The screenplay for the film written by director Lumet, was based on the novel Tainted Evidence authored by Robert Daley.[2]




Following an admission of guilt by Liam about the forgery in a private consultation with Judge Dominick Impelliteri (Dominic Chianese), the judge decides to fill out a new warrant and purposely obviates the technicality. He also suggests to Sean that he destroy the invalid warrant. The film ends with Casey giving the introductory lecture for a new class of assistant district attorneys, urging them to approach their job with diligence.[2]

Allegretto admits he initially lied about his involvement; he accepted bribes while also plotting to murder Washington with the other corrupt police officers killing the third dead officer instead. Berated as "scum" by Sean Casey for his conduct and unwilling to face jail, a depressed Allegretto commits suicide. Liam discloses to his son Sean that he and Allegretto were not legally authorized to arrest Washington due to an expired search warrant. Liam concedes that he forged a judge's signature with a new warrant.[2]

Morganstern is incapacitated by a heart attack. The mayor suggests new hero Sean Casey be the party's candidate for DA. He wins the election, is in love with Lindstrom and wonders aloud if the many wonderful things suddenly happening in his life can last. They can't. The decomposed body of Kleinhoff is discovered floating near a maritime dock. An address book is found by the authorities containing the names of several officers from precincts who responded to the Washington shooting. After several interrogations, a number of officers confess about their entanglement in the bribery and narcotics scandal.

At the celebration after the win, an associate from Vigoda's legal team, Peggy Lindstrom (Lena Olin), begins an affair with Casey.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.