Coogan’s Bluff (1968)
Pure red-state fantasy: The NYPD would lock up Clint Eastwood’s nutty visiting Arizona sheriff in no time flat.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Laudably unglamorized. Johnny Depp plays the real-life cop who infiltrated the Bonanno family in the seventies.
Prince of the City (1981)
Corrupt-cop epic that the DEA reportedly asked to use as a training video.
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Devastatingly detailed—right down to the Transit Police’s “noive centah.”
New York, New York (1977)
Martin Scorsese’s ode to old-school musicals was shot on L.A. soundstages. Nothing rings true— except maybe the alcoholism.
King Kong (2005)
The scenes of vaudevillian Naomi Watts backstage are pure hokum.
Quiz Show (1994)
Robert Redford takes some serious dramatic license with the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that led to the fixing of a hit fifties game show.
We take exception to the fact that Dustin Hoffman’s character still gets an audition after calling his director a “macho shithead.”
All That Jazz (1979)
Bob Fosse’s self-portrait of an overworked, overmedicated, oversexed choreographer-director.
(Photographs from top: Everett Collection; Everett Collection; Universal/Everett Collection)