Fort Apache, The Bronx (1981)

R | 123 mins | Drama | 6 February 1981

Director:

Daniel Petrie

Writer:

Heywood Gould

Cinematographer:

John Alcott

Editor:

Rita Roland

Production Designer:

Ben Edwards

Production Company:

Time-Life Films
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HISTORY

The 25 Oct 1978 DV stated that Arthur Hiller had attempted to take Fort Apache, the Bronx, to several studios before giving up on the project.
       The 26 Oct 1979 DV claimed that actor Steve McQueen had been optioned for the role of “Murphy.” Allegedly, Nick Nolte was offered $2 million to play the part. Sydney Pollack was offered $10 million to direct.
       The 7 Nov 1979 Var reported that Fort Apache, the Bronx was the first of twelve films that Time-Life Films planned to produce over a three year period with a combined budget total of $100 million dollars. The initial budget for Fort Apache, the Bronx was $10 million, depending on casting costs.
       A 13 Dec 1979 Var news item announced actor Paul Newman was cast as “Murphy” for a fee of $3 million against fifteen percent of gross receipts. Throughout filming in the New York City’s South Bronx district, the production was plagued by protesters who claimed the film presented African and Puerto Rican Americans in a negative light. However, the 8 Apr 1980 HR reported that stories of riots were exaggerated.
       According to a 8 Jan 1980 Var , Newman wanted actor John Travolta to play “Corelli.” However, Travolta had recently completed filming Urban Cowboy (1989, see entry) and insisted on a two month rest, missing the beginning of principal photography, which was scheduled for 3 Mar 1980.
       The 19 Mar 1980 HR announced that shooting began on 10 Mar 1980 in the Bronx section of ... More Less

The 25 Oct 1978 DV stated that Arthur Hiller had attempted to take Fort Apache, the Bronx, to several studios before giving up on the project.
       The 26 Oct 1979 DV claimed that actor Steve McQueen had been optioned for the role of “Murphy.” Allegedly, Nick Nolte was offered $2 million to play the part. Sydney Pollack was offered $10 million to direct.
       The 7 Nov 1979 Var reported that Fort Apache, the Bronx was the first of twelve films that Time-Life Films planned to produce over a three year period with a combined budget total of $100 million dollars. The initial budget for Fort Apache, the Bronx was $10 million, depending on casting costs.
       A 13 Dec 1979 Var news item announced actor Paul Newman was cast as “Murphy” for a fee of $3 million against fifteen percent of gross receipts. Throughout filming in the New York City’s South Bronx district, the production was plagued by protesters who claimed the film presented African and Puerto Rican Americans in a negative light. However, the 8 Apr 1980 HR reported that stories of riots were exaggerated.
       According to a 8 Jan 1980 Var , Newman wanted actor John Travolta to play “Corelli.” However, Travolta had recently completed filming Urban Cowboy (1989, see entry) and insisted on a two month rest, missing the beginning of principal photography, which was scheduled for 3 Mar 1980.
       The 19 Mar 1980 HR announced that shooting began on 10 Mar 1980 in the Bronx section of New York City.
       A 29 Jul 1980 DV news piece reported that the production was allowed to continue by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) during an actor’s strike, after the producers made interim agreements with the guild.
       A 10 Apr 1981 Village Voice news item reported that the New York City Council voted on whether or not to urge all city residents to boycott the film to protest its portrayal of the Bronx. The motion was defeated by a vote of 26 to 15.
       Despite other protests, the film grossed $603,521 in New York City as reported in a 11 Feb 1981 Var. Nationwide it garnered $11,266,000 over twelve days in release at sixty theaters, according a 24 Feb 1981 DV.
       A 4 Jun 1980 VAR article reported that police Captain Tom Walker filed an $18 million lawsuit against writer Heywood Gould and producers Marty Richards, Tom Fiorello, Gill Champion, and David Susskind, and Time-Life Films for allegedly taking information during an interview with Walker about an arson in the South Bronx. Walker claimed Heywood viewed a manuscript he had written about the 41st precinct in the Bronx that became a novel titled, Fort Apache, published by Avon Books in 1976. Walker accused Heywood of violating a promise he would not use any of the material in Walker’s manuscript. The case was dismissed as reported in a 15 Jan 1986 Var news item. An appellate judge ruled that “no reasonable observer could find substantial similarity.”
       A 17 Oct 1989 HR news item announced that Paul Newman had filed a breach of contract lawsuit 15 Oct 1989 against Time Warner Inc. asking for $5.4 million in damages over television syndication revenues generated by the film. Newman alleged that Fort Apache, the Bronx was undervalued when packaged with another 192 films and licensed to Proctor & Gamble Company (P&G). The package sold for $50 million in 1985. $1 million of the $50 million was allocated for Fort Apache, the Bronx, but Newman alleged it should have $4 million due to the film’s commercial success. Mark Steinberg, a Home Box Office (HBO) lawyer was quoted in an 18 Jul 1991 DV article stating that the experts valued the movie at $700,000 due to its “racial, sexual and violent overtones,” making it less marketable for television.
       Newman filed a second breach of contract lawsuit asking for $3.1 million in damages against Time-Life Productions and Time-Life Films claiming that Time-Life underreported receipts from foreign distribution which his contract stated he was receive 12.5% of gross revenue. The outcome of neither lawsuit could be determined.
       The following written prologue appears before credits: “The picture you are about to see is a portrayal of the lives of two policemen working out of a precinct in the South Bronx, New York. Because the story involves police work it does not deal with the law abiding members of the community, nor does it dramatize the efforts of the individuals and groups who are struggling to turn the Bronx around.”
       The following statements appear in end credits: “Suggested by the experiences of Thomas Mulhearn and Pete Tessitore.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1979.
---
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1980.
---
Daily Variety
20 May 1980
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1981.
---
Daily Variety
17 Oct 1989.
---
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1991
p. 2, 20.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1980
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1981
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1989.
---
LAHExam
7 Dec 1979.
---
LAHExam
11 Mar 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Feb 1981
p. 1.
New York
19 Jan 1981.
---
New York Times
6 Feb 1981
p. 6.
Us
13 May 1980.
---
Variety
25 Oct 1978.
---
Variety
7 Nov 1979.
---
Variety
8 Jan 1980.
---
Variety
9 Apr 1980.
---
Variety
4 Jun 1980
p. 4, 28.
Variety
11 Feb 1981
p. 20, 1, 30, 46.
Village Voice
10 Apr 1980.
---
Village Voice
5 May 1980.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Time-Life Films Presents
A David Susskind Production
Produced in association with The Production Circle Co.
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Lenses and camera
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed/ New York
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Scenic artist
Prop master
Const coord
Const grip
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Re-rec mus mixer
Original mus rec at
SOUND
Post prod supv
Sd mixer
Re-rec dial mixer
Supv sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Looping ed/ Los Angeles
Looping ed/ New York
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Prod coord
Makeup for Mr. Newman
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Prod coord
Auditor
Auditor
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Asst prod office coord
Asst prod office coord
Asst to prod and dir
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to Mr. Newman
Tech advisor
Tech advisor
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"Steppin Out," Mel Tillis, courtesy of Elektra Records, ®1980 Elektra Records
"Family Tradition," Hank Williams, Jr., courtesy of Elektra Records and Curb Productions, ®1980 Elektra Records
"It's Time To Party Now," Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio, courtesy of Arista Records, Inc., ®Arista Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Steppin Out," Mel Tillis, courtesy of Elektra Records, ®1980 Elektra Records
"Family Tradition," Hank Williams, Jr., courtesy of Elektra Records and Curb Productions, ®1980 Elektra Records
"It's Time To Party Now," Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio, courtesy of Arista Records, Inc., ®Arista Records, Inc.
"Guajira," Santana, courtesy of CBS Records, ®1971 CBS Records,"The Blue Side," Crystal Gayle, courtesy of CBS Records, ®1979 CBS Records.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 February 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 February 1981
Production Date:
Began 10 March 1980.
Copyright Claimant:
Time Life Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 April 1981
Copyright Number:
PA100344
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
123
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
26240
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Two police officers sit in their cruiser in the Bronx section of New York City when Charlotte, a prostitute, approaches and guns them down. At the police station, twenty-year veteran patrol officer Murphy, and his young partner, Corelli, learns that their precinct is getting a new captain named Connolly. Later, Murphy talks down a transvestite “jumper” from a high-rise roof and escorts him to the hospital. There, Murphy asks a nurse named Isabella to have a drink with him, but she turns him down. Later, Murphy chases a purse-snatcher, who outruns him and escapes. Two other officers, Morgan and Finley, appear and tell Murphy he should have shot the criminal. When Murphy protests that the media would crucify him for shooting an unarmed man in the back, Morgan advises him that he should have planted a knife on the perpetrator and claimed self-defense. Connolly arrives at the precinct known as “Fort Apache,” the only outpost of “civilization” in the South Bronx. The cops are mostly disciplinary transfers from other precincts and often corrupt. Meanwhile, Murphy and Corelli see a pimp slapping Charlotte. When they stop the man, he offers the cops a bribe. Murphy smashes the headlights out of the pimp’s car with his baton. Later, they respond to a call and find a young Puerto Rican girl is giving birth. Murphy delivers the baby and takes the mother and child to the hospital. The nurse, Isabella, suggests that Murphy needs a drink, and asks him out. On their date, Murphy explains he was a detective, but got demoted after arresting a ... +


Two police officers sit in their cruiser in the Bronx section of New York City when Charlotte, a prostitute, approaches and guns them down. At the police station, twenty-year veteran patrol officer Murphy, and his young partner, Corelli, learns that their precinct is getting a new captain named Connolly. Later, Murphy talks down a transvestite “jumper” from a high-rise roof and escorts him to the hospital. There, Murphy asks a nurse named Isabella to have a drink with him, but she turns him down. Later, Murphy chases a purse-snatcher, who outruns him and escapes. Two other officers, Morgan and Finley, appear and tell Murphy he should have shot the criminal. When Murphy protests that the media would crucify him for shooting an unarmed man in the back, Morgan advises him that he should have planted a knife on the perpetrator and claimed self-defense. Connolly arrives at the precinct known as “Fort Apache,” the only outpost of “civilization” in the South Bronx. The cops are mostly disciplinary transfers from other precincts and often corrupt. Meanwhile, Murphy and Corelli see a pimp slapping Charlotte. When they stop the man, he offers the cops a bribe. Murphy smashes the headlights out of the pimp’s car with his baton. Later, they respond to a call and find a young Puerto Rican girl is giving birth. Murphy delivers the baby and takes the mother and child to the hospital. The nurse, Isabella, suggests that Murphy needs a drink, and asks him out. On their date, Murphy explains he was a detective, but got demoted after arresting a criminal who was paying off a police commissioner. They go his place and make love. Isabella falls asleep and Murphy sees needle marks on her legs indicating she is a drug user. On the streets, Charlotte finds an older man changing a tire and invites him into an abandoned building with the promise of sex. Instead, she slices his throat. Murphy and Isabella’s relationship grows more intense. He introduces her to his daughters and double dates with Corelli. One day at roll call, Captain Connolly orders his men to arrest everyone they see committing a petty crime, hoping they will get a lead on who killed the two cops. Murphy protests they will only anger the neighborhood, but he is overruled. Working plain clothes, Murphy and Corelli arrest a dealer in stolen goods, known as a “fence,” who tells them his neighbor is selling drugs. Upon arresting the dealer, they learn of a cock-fighting ring in the basement. This leads them to an alley full of prostitutes and their customers. Soon, their van is overflowing and Murphy commandeers a city bus to take everyone to the precinct jail. The mass arrests cause neighborhood protests. Connolly fires tear gas into the crowd, triggering a riot. Murphy spots two hoodlums hurling rocks and trash at firefighters from a rooftop. He and Corelli rush to the roof and arrest the men. They spot a young couple embracing on another rooftop as officers Morgan and Finley arrive. Murphy stares in horror as Morgan grabs the young man, beats him, and hurls him from the roof. When Murphy asks if Corelli witnessed the murder, he claims, “I didn’t see nothing.” That night, Murphy comes out of bar to find the purse-snatcher he pursued days earlier breaking into his car. Instead of arresting the boy, Murphy waves him off and drives away. The next day, Connolly calls in all the police that were at the fire and confronts them about the boy’s death, stating that witnesses saw a police officer throw the young man off the roof. Only Murphy fails to proclaim his innocence. That night, two drug dealers, Hernando and Jose, arrive at a brothel to collect money from the madam. Jose takes a liking to the drugged Charlotte and tries to have sex with her. She slices his cheek with a razor, and Jose stabs her in the stomach with his switchblade knife. Hernando and Jose wrap Charlotte’s dead body in a rug and take it away. Meanwhile, Murphy tells Morgan that he saw what happened, and the two fight, ending when their fellow officers intervene. The next day, Corelli warns Murphy that he will not testify against a fellow cop. Murphy spends the rest of the day with Isabella, and after making love, confronts her about her drug use. Instead of lecturing her, Murphy offers to get drugs for Isabella until she is ready to quit. As Murphy drives her home, he tells her about Morgan. She becomes angry and demands to be let out of the car. As she approaches her building, her dealers, Jose and Hernando, suspect she is collaborating with police and decide to kill her with a lethal level of heroin. The next day, Isabella takes the drugs and realizes something is wrong. She staggers out of her apartment and collapses on the sidewalk. Jose and Hernando go to hospital to make a sale, only to find their client is an undercover cop. They grab hostages and demand the cop put his gun down. Murphy and Corelli respond to the police call to find the pushers have barricaded themselves in an office with the hostages. When police attempt to negotiate, Jose shoots a doctor in the leg and demands to be set free. Murphy and another officer break through the door. Shots are fired and both drug dealers are killed. Realizing Isabella is not there, Murphy runs to the reception desk in time to see her lifeless body being carried in on a gurney. Refusing to believe Isabella is dead, Murphy attempts to wake her. Corelli takes her from Murphy’s arms and places her back on the gurney. Murphy returns to the precinct, hands in his badge and tells Captain Connelly that Morgan killed the boy. Connelly tries to talk Murphy into staying on the force, but he refuses. As he drives home, Corelli jumps up from the back seat, states he will back up Murphy’s story and asks him not to quit. Murphy claims he can no longer be a cop. But he sees the purse-snatcher climbing out a window. He and Corelli give chase, unknowingly sprinting past the rug in which Charlotte’s body is hidden. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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