Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. 100
    A string of unlikely events and coincidences set off Night Falls, and Lumet makes them believable the old-fashioned way: through interaction with a screen full of strongly drawn, fully dimensioned, psychologically valid characters.
  2. 88
    This movie is knowledgeable about the city and the people who make accommodations with it.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Lumet (who also wrote the script) seems to feed on lousy cop-precinct furniture, political showboating and confrontations between street-savvy adversaries played by synergic actors. [16May1997 Pg.01.D]
  4. 88
    One of the most refreshing things about this movie is the manner in which it combines genres in unexpected ways.
  5. Starting with its romantic and inappropriate title, this is an old-fashioned melodrama, the same movie about police corruption and a cultural crisis of morality that Lumet has been making since the 70s, starting with "Serpico".
  6. 70
    As satisfying as much of the film is, there are a few missteps, large and small, that may require indulgence on the part of viewers.
  7. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    Lumet never tires of exploring moral quandaries. But what separates his films from the pack is his appreciation for all perspectives.
  8. Night Falls on Manhattan makes you nostalgic for Lumet's truly first-rate corruption movies, like the great, underrated "Q&A" (1990).
  9. So the promise of a proud director comes to nothing, and all my rooting goes for naught. Maybe, sadly, the metaphoric night that falls on Manhattan has finally begun to descend on Lumet -- and he's going gentle into it.
  10. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    It's good to know that the widely liked but underused Andy Garcia has here a juicy dramatic role he can get his chops into.
  11. But Night Falls on Manhattan is also oddly listless. It doesn't often live up to the doomy eloquence of its title.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric Brace
    While the predictable lesson -- that justice isn't cut and dry -- clogs the film's gears by the last reel, at least the first half of the movie has some lively story telling.
  13. That said, what must be added is that, disappointingly, Night Falls on Manhattan doesn't quite add up.
  14. Director Sidney Lumet takes another shot at New York City police corruption in his new film, but despite some solid performances, Night Falls on Manhattan fails to deliver the passion of such Lumet classics as "Serpico" and "Prince of the City."
  15. The seriousness and simplicity with which he approaches his subject in Night Falls on Manhattan are refreshing even if the vivacity of the thing never really has a chance to develop.
  16. Reviewed by: Robin Dougherty
    The problem -- as anyone who gets home from the movie in time to catch even a portion of "NYPD Blue" can tell you -- is that the genre that Lumet invented has buried him alive.
  17. 40
    You can't help but wish the set up were shorter and the dilemma longer.
  18. Perhaps the most vexing flaws in this movie are its irresolute plot structure and tone.
  19. 30
    Without serious political and ethical stakes, the story limps to a halt, shrouded in platitude and faux drama.

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