Aug 092019

Cruising is a pretty tough movie to sit through with some dark subject matter that I predict wouldn’t go over too well even today, even so, Al Pacino and Paul Sorvino both give strong performances.




Genre(s): Drama, Crime
Arrow Video | NR – 102 min. – $39.95 | August 20, 2019

Date Published: 08/01/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: William Friedkin
Writer(s): William Friedkin (written by)
Cast: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox, Don Scardino, Joe Spinell

Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 39.24 GB
Total Bitrate: 39.68 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Plot Synopsis: New York is caught in the grip of a sadistic serial killer who is preying on the patrons of the city’s underground gay bars. Captain Edelson (PAUL SORVINO) tasks young rookie Steve Burns (AL PACINO) with infiltrating the S&M subculture to try and lure the killer out of the shadows – but as he immerses himself deeper and deeper into the underworld, Steve risks losing his own identity in the process.

Quick Hit Review: Nobody can accuse filmmaker William Friedkin of playing it safe and Cruising, which he wrote based off of a story told by a real life killer whom Friedkin had consulted years earlier for The Exorcist (and this individual is suspected to be a serial killer, though never proven). In any case, that’s probably the least controversial aspect of Cruising, a movie which gives a very thorough examination of the gay underground lifestyle where some very, let’s say eye-opening sexual experiences are played out., and upon the film’s release, did widely get criticized by the community, something I can kind of understand why (and can’t imagine it would go over all that well today either).

Controversies aside, Cruising is a well made, if not pitch black dark, crime-drama featuring a fine, albeit hardly his best even in that era, performance from Al Pacino, though I will say it is a brave role for the young actor for sure. Under the direction of William Friedkin, the movie does showcase the gritty 1970s/1980s of New York City, probably right up there with New York Ripper.

The supporting cast includes the underappreciated Paul Sorvino as Pacino’s boss and Karen Allen has a small yet still important role as the girlfriend, nothing profound but works well opposite Pacino as the character’s decent into the darkness of the underground S&M scene.

Despite the unique subject matter, especially in a mainstream picture, as well as the controversies surround it at the time of the release, and I suspect it wouldn’t exactly go over well with the audience today either, Cruising isn’t anywhere near the top within the crime-drama genre but still well worth checking out if you haven’t already.



This release comes housed in a clear HD keep case and a matted slip cover.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Writer-Director William Friedkin
  • Writer-Director William Friedkin and Critic Mark Kermode

Pretty good tracks as Friedkin generally is a great storyteller and each one from different perspectives in time, with the new track giving a historical view of the production while the second track is a little better as there is more of a back-and-forth and almost conversational interview.

The History of Cruising (21:05) – This archival featurette covers the film’s origins and production; includes interviews with William Friedkin, producer Jerry Weintraub, and others involved.

Exorcising Cruising (22:31) – Another older featurette, this one focusing on the controversy and its legacy since.

Original Trailer (3:29)


VIDEO – 5.0/5

Arrow continues to show they are the best with catalog title transfers. Cruising, presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and the 1080p high-definition transfer has been restored taken from the original .35mm camera negative and was scanned in 4K resolution and presumably instances of dust marks, scratches and other ailments were cleaned. Picture grading and image processing was supervised and approved by director William Friedkin. Given this is the first time the movie has been available on Blu-ray, I can’t speak to how accurate it was, just hopefully it was more accurate compared to The French Connection Blu-ray release…

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The movie includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which, along with the picture, received some restoration. Dialogue does come through with good clarity via the center channel and there is some modest, though nothing incredible, ambient noises, including Jack Nitzsche’s score.


OVERALL – 4.0/5

Cruising is a pretty tough movie to sit through with some dark subject matter that I predict wouldn’t go over too well even today, even so, Al Pacino and Paul Sorvino both give strong performances and the story itself was compelling. The Blu-ray release offers up excellent video and respectable audio transfers while the bonus material, while limited in terms of new content, was still nicely put together.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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