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Fort Apache: The Bronx (1981)

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  • Fort Apache: The Bronx (1981)

    This gritty movie has always been a favorite of mine.

    Paul Newman stars as an essentially decent cop patrolling that decimated, drug-and-gang-ridden borough known on the city maps as the Bronx, but known to its denizens as "Fort Apache".
    The movie was very real even if the story plot itself was fictionalized to some extent, the South Bronx was the worst hell-hole there was in the city, it resembled bombed out Beirut with tens of thousands of abandoned buildings the city couldn't tear down fast enough to keep up.
    The buildings were used by violent street gangs and drug dealers, what wasn't burned down sat vacant and open. The streets were full of garbage, burned out stripped cars on milk crates with their wheels stripped off them, the depiction of the area in the movie was very accurate even if the people there protested the film and complained it wasn't an "accurate" portrayal of their neighborhood- I had been there back then, I know what I saw with my own eyes.

    The police would literally only go around such a neighborhood several to a squad car because the crazy people aroudn there would throw bricks, concrete blocks and anything else out the windows or off the roof at them.
    Newman's character started dating a young nurse, but she OD'd on some deliberately made bad drugs some dealer gave her to get rid of her, that part of the movie was full of tense drama and emotion.

    Today, according to Google streetview the South Bronx looks almost nothing like it's former self, it did a 180 turnabout since the early 1980s.

  • #2
    Great movie:

    Connolly: (walking into the precinct for the first time) Captain Duggan's office?

    Pantuzzi: (points toward the right without looking up) .

    Connolly: Don't you monitor the people who ask to see the commander, Sergeant? What if I was a lunatic with a gun?

    Pantuzzi: Then you wouldn't be a police officer Captain Connolly. Or would you?

    Connolly: What's your name, Sergeant?

    Pantuzzi: Kicking as* and taking names eh Captain? Well I'm Sergeant Anthony Pantuzzi. I have 22 years on the job and I'm ready to retire tomorrow if I get a hard time from my new commander. I'll take the half-pension before I take any cr** from anybody. (pointing again)

    Pantuzzi: Captain Duggan's office is over on the right close to the street as he can get.

    Connolly: (surprised, yet amused) Thank youuuuu Sergeant.

    Read more at http://www.plentyquotes.com/movies/F...#ixzz36sdLxQjb
    I’ll die with blue in my veins.

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    • #3
      Most of the Bronx is still a high crime area.

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      • #4
        There was a sergeant that reminded me of the pantuzzi character. I was in the field training unit that turned out of a precinct in Bed Stuy. We were not assigned to the precinct but our office and lockers were in the station house. Our tours overlapped the precinct personnel so we were occasionally present while they stood roll call. So one night I see the crusty old sergeant turning out his platoon when in comes FIAU. FIAU was field Internal Affairs. They were responsible for looking for minor violations and spot inspections they are now called inspections. So these two sergeants are doing a spot inspection on the crusty sergeants men before they go on patrol. Sergeant crusty was not pleased. After giving out assignments Here is what he said to his cops with the two FIAU Sgts standing next to him. "OK guys we got two guys from fiau here to inspect you to night. They are gonna write you up for minor bull**** but dont feel bad because they are afraid to do what you are about to do and thats go on patrol in Bed Stuy." The two FIAU guys looked very uneasy as Sgt crusty ordered his platoon to attention for inspection.The cops loved Sgt Crusty. On his last day before retirement Sgt crusty took down a notorious drug house and came up with weapons . The drug house had been the scene of the murder of two precinct cops some years earlier and ANY call generated the response from all available precinct units.
        Last edited by BNWS; 07-08-2014, 11:22 AM. Reason: inaccurate info

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        • #5
          There was a newspaper article of Sgt Crusty's crack house take down with a picture of him and the evidence. I'll try to find it and post the link

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          • #6
            My Uncle Jack Mallon, now deceased, worked as vice detective in Fort Apache (I think the 41st or 40th PCT) during the late 60's-late 70's.
            Total shiat hole place then. A lot better, but not great, now from what I have heard.
            As a kid, I was always impressed that Uncle Jack always had a gun on his waist. He never told me about the job, but I used to eavesdrop on the 'adult" conversations, and the stories (apparently) led me to the same line of work!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by BNWS View Post
              On his last day before retirement Sgt crusty took down a notorious drug house and came up with weapons . The drug house had been the scene of the murder of two precinct cops some years earlier and ANY call generated the response from all available precinct units.
              Very cool! do you remember the major drug cartel that had a home base on East 11th street by Ave C in Manhattan around the mid 1970s-1980? They called the tenement they took over "the fortress" because they welded steel over the windows and the front door was reinforced steel, they were dealing drugs openly day and night and the neighborhood was terrified of them.
              Two officers were executed in that block in broad daylight, people seen talking to the police at all usually wound up dead in a vacant lot in Brooklyn. Two detectives wrote a book about it all "Rock Solid" it was very good.
              And to think, back then I naivly as a teen used to ride my bike through that neighborhood! I knew it was a bad neighborhood but had no clue it was THAT bad!
              I actually had a bunch of men in that block with baseball bats and steel pipes come at me, roughed me up and told me to get the F out of there, but they did not hit me I guess because they could see I was a kid.

              It wasn't till just a few years ago- reading that book that I learned what was really going on there, and the place where I was roughed up was right diagonally across the street from "the fortress"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by swat_op506 View Post
                My Uncle Jack Mallon, now deceased, worked as vice detective in Fort Apache (I think the 41st or 40th PCT) during the late 60's-late 70's.
                Total shiat hole place then. A lot better, but not great, now from what I have heard.
                Yeah it was total krap back then, I would guess the crime is still bad, but at least it no longer looks like Beirut, I saw tree lined streets, parked cars, new buildings.

                The Lower East Side was the same way back then, the area bounded roughly by E Houston St to 14th, Ave A to Ave D was another major hellhole, there were over 500 abandoned buildings there, drugs everywhere, street gangs, burned out stripped cars on milk crates, same welfare deadbeats and druggies burning their apartments to get money and then strip the place for the copper and plumbing.
                I have hundreds of photos of what it looked like, E 5th between Ave C and D the entire block save for 3 or 4 buildings were completely vacant and stripped.
                Here's part of E 5th which shows what the rest of the place looked like:



                Here's what that same spot looks like today, very nice, even the trash is set out properly, but the steel security gates over all of the ground floor windows tells us the story about how crime is still there despite the nice facade and trees:

                Last edited by Sculptor; 07-08-2014, 07:18 PM.

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