Fort Apache, The Bronx
name = Fort Apache the Bronx
caption = Movie poster for "Fort Apache, The Bronx"
producer = Thomas Fiorello
writer = Heywood Gould
Paul Newman Ed Asner Ken Wahl Danny Aiello Rachel Ticotin Kathleen Beller Pam Grier Clifford David Miguel Piñero
editing = Rita Roland
20th Century Fox
February 6, 1981
runtime = 125 minutes
language = English
budget = $4,000,000
gross = Total US Gross: $29,200,000 (US)
International Gross: $36,000,000
Worldwide Gross: $65,200,000 [ [http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1981/0FABR.php "Fort Apache, The Bronx"] . - The Numbers]
imdb_id = 0082402
amg_id = 1:18269
mpaa_rating = R
"Fort Apache, The Bronx" is a 1981 crime
drama filmmade by Producers Circle, Time-Life Television Productions Inc., and distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. It was directed by Daniel Petrieand produced by Martin Richards, Thomas Fiorello, with David Susskindas executive producer. It stars Paul Newman, Ken Wahl, Danny Aiello, Edward Asner, Rachel Ticotin, Kathleen Beller, Pam Grier, Clifford Davidand Miguel Piñero.
Filmed on location in the Bronx, New York City, New York. It is widely believed that the film was based on the book "Fort Apache" by Tom Walker, but the studio, Time-Life Television Films (owner of the script) disputes this. The result was lengthy court litigation.
The setting is the decayed
South Bronxregion of New York City, and the plot follows the day-to-day activities of NYPDOfficers Murphy (Newman) and Corelli (Wahl), who work out of the local police station nicknamed "Fort Apache," so-named because to the officers who work there, it has the feeling of an army outpost in foreign territory (an allusionto Fort Apache). The precinct itself is one of the worst and most dilapidated in the department, approaching demolition and largely staffed by officers who are unwanted or have been transferred out of other precincts. Additionally, the precinct is of little use to the largely Puerto Rican community, as only 4% of the officers are Hispanic in the largest non-English speaking section of the Bronx according to retiring precinct captain Dugan. Throughout the film, Corelli and Murphy's attempts to maintain law and order by protecting and serving the community are conflicted with corrupt fellow officers, a newly appointed police captain, rioting due to police brutality, and issues related to the deaths of two rookie officers at the start of the film.
* Local community groups threated to file suit against the producers because of the way it depicted their neighborhood in the Bronx and for the depiction of ethnic minorities (Blacks and Puerto Ricans). Because of this pressure some changes were made to the script and a note was added to the title card at the beginning of the film. [Cultural Desk: "'Apache' Film's Debut Protested". - "
New York Times". - February 7, 1981] Film: [http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=print_review&reviewid=VE1117791034&categoryid=31 "Fort Apache the Bronx"] . - "Variety". - January 1, 1981. - Retrieved: 2008-06-10]
*"Walker v. Time Life Films, Inc.", 784 F.2d 44 (2d Cir. 1986)::After the release of the film, an author, Tom Walker, filed a lawsuit against one of the production companies, Time-Life Television Films (legal owner of the script), claiming that the producers infringed on his book "Fort Apache" (New York: Crowell, 1976. ISBN 0690010478). Among other things, Walker, the plaintiff, argued that: "both the book and the film begin with the murder of a black and a white policeman with a handgun at close range; both depict cockfights, drunks, stripped cars, prostitutes and rats; both feature as central characters third- or fourth-generation Irish policemen who live in Queens and frequently drink; both show disgruntled, demoralized police officers and unsuccessful foot chases of fleeing criminals". But the
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuitruled that these are stereo-typical ideas, so called "scènes à faire" (French for "scenes that must be done"), and that the United States copyright lawdoes not protect concepts or ideas. The court ruling stated: "the book "Fort Apache" and the film "Fort Apache: The Bronx" were not substantially similar beyond [the] level of generalized or otherwise nonprotectible ideas, and thus [the] latter did not infringe copyright of [the] former"."Margolick, David. - Legal Notes: "Writer Told 'Ft. Apache' isn't Just His". - " New York Times". - August 25, 1985] [Beeber, Jessie, and Maura Wogan. - "Is Scènes à Faire Really 'Necessary'?". - "Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Journal". - Spring 2004. - Vol. 15, No. 1]
Paul Newman was largely praised in this film for his performance, but the movie itself received more negative reviews.
Richard Schickel, in "TIME", called it: "more like a made-for-TV movie". He also added: "The film is not quite up to its star".; "...somewhere between Barney Millerand the works of Joseph Wambaugh".; and: "But mainly it is Newman, now 56, who gives Fort Apache its modest distinction". [ [http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,954681,00.html# "Conscience in a Rough Precinct"] . - "TIME". - February 16, 1981. - Retrieved: 2008-06-10]
Roger Ebert, " Chicago Sun Times", said: "...the most complete collection of cop-movie clichés since John Wayneplayed a Chicago cop in " McQ". (Ebert got this incorrect, in "McQ" Wayne played a Seattle policeman, he played a Chicago policeman in "Brannigan".) "There are too many scenes that are necessary to the plot but not to the movie, scenes where the life of the movie stops so story details can be filled in". "The movie has several story threads that lead nowhere". But, says about Newman, "He's good in his role,..." But, also calls this more of a TV show. [Ebert, Roger. - [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19810101/REVIEWS/101010327/1023 "Fort Apache, The Bronx"] . - " Chicago Sun Times". - January 1, 1981- Retrieved: 2008-06-10]
*"Variety" labeled the film: "... a very patchy picture, strong on dialog and acting and exceedingly weak on story", and criticizes it for its lack of depth.
*Nick Sambides, Jr. at
Allmoviecalls it "...flinty but otherwise forgettable character study". [Sambides, Nick, Jr. - Review: [http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:18269~T1 "Fort Apache, the Bronx"] . - Allmovie. - Retrieved: 2008-06-10]
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