Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: A New York cop (Keitel) is hopelessy addicted to drugs, gambling, and sex, in this intense, hallucinatory portrait of sin and redemption. The film follows the lieutenant as he makes his way to various crime scenes, concerned only with taking bets from his fellow cops on the outcome of the ongoing National League playoffs. An investigation into the rape of a nun leads to his spiritual breakdown at the church crime scene, where he sees Jesus and the road to his salvation. Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. 100
    It is not a "dirty movie," and in fact takes spirituality and morality more seriously than most films do. And in the bad lieutenant, Keitel has given us one of the great screen performances in recent years.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    For all its scenes of degradation (five minutes of which have been shorn for an R-rated cut; we recommend the original NC-17 version), Bad Lieutenant is a deeply moral movie. It's not pretty-it's not even very realistic-but it does matter.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Abel Ferrara out-sleazes even his own grubby oeuvre with this powerful if overbearing study of a soul swallowed by depravity.
  4. Mr. Ferrara has his saving graces, too, the chief one being raw talent, which he continues to display while telling even the most far-fetched story.
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Non Credited)
    Harvey Keitel gives an astonishing performance here... Though hardly a film for all sensibilities, Bad Lieutenant has the courage of its own convictions, and follows them to the bitter end.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A serious film about the gnawing of conscience and the thirst for redemption, but the tone is so dispassionately vile it may leave viewers shaken or sick. [16 Nov 1992, p.95]
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    Yes, you get to see Harvey Keitel's penis; the only surprise is that Jesus keeps His under wraps.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. JoshC
    Jan 16, 2007
    A hardcore scuzzmeister elevates himself to a new place with this startling, powerfully restrained portrayal of sin and salvation in godless NY. Keitel's inarticulate maudit philosopher is the most uninhabited performance in this disco inferno that also offers relgious hallucinations. As sordid as the material is, the movie isn't oppressive. Expand

See all 3 User Reviews