is a 1997 American crime drama film written and directed by
James Mangold, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray
Liotta, and Robert De Niro. The supporting cast features Peter Berg,
Janeane Garofalo, Robert Patrick, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra,
Cathy Moriarty, Arthur Nascarella, and John Spencer. The story follows
a sheriff (Stallone) in a small New Jersey town inhabited and
dominated by corrupt New York City cops. Their corruption grows until
he can no longer allow himself to stand by and do nothing.
4.1 Post-release reaction
6 Home video
8 External links
The town of Garrison, New Jersey is home to several
NYPD officers, led
by Lt. Ray Donlan. Freddy Heflin is the town sheriff. He idolizes the
NYPD and hoped to become an officer, but cannot due to being deaf in
one ear, the result of saving a young woman from drowning many years
earlier. Heflin is aware of the group's corrupt dealings but generally
turns a blind eye, thinking there is nothing he can do about it.
Internal Affairs investigator Lt. Moe Tilden approaches Heflin for
information on the corrupt cops, but Heflin is intimidated and
reluctant to betray them.
One night, Donlan's nephew, Officer Murray Babitch is driving across
George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge when his car is side-swiped by two
African-American teens. The passenger points what looks like a weapon
just before Babitch's tire blows out. Believing they have fired at
him, Babitch shoots back, and in an ensuing chase, kills the teens.
Officer Jack Rucker removes the steering-wheel lock that Babitch
mistook for a weapon from the hands of the dead teens and is caught
trying to plant a gun in the car. Worried about the repercussions to
his own career, Donlan persuades Babitch to fake his own suicide.
In the meantime, Liz Randone, wife of Joey Randone, one of the corrupt
cops, visits Heflin at his home. It was Liz whom Heflin saved from
drowning years ago. When she asks Heflin why he never married, he
confesses his love for her. Liz reciprocates the affection but knowing
it could go too far, reluctantly leaves.
Babitch initially lives as a fugitive at Donlan's home, but then
Patrolmen's Defense Association President Vincent Lassaro tells Donlan
that without a body, the case will not stay cold. Donlan reluctantly
realizes they have to drown Babitch. Tipped off by his aunt Rose,
Babitch escapes. He goes to Heflin's house for help, but flees when he
sees Heflin's friend, Officer Gary Figgis. The same evening, Donlan
allows Officer Randone to fall off a roof, in revenge for Randone's
affair with Donlan's wife.
Heflin realizes the deaths are orchestrated, and visits Tilden, whose
investigation has been shut down and who angrily dismisses Heflin's
effort. On his way out, Heflin steals case files on the Garrison cops.
He studies the files and realizes the extent of his residents'
Heflin returns home to find Figgis packing to leave. Heflin discovers
that Figgis burned down his own house for the insurance money,
inadvertently killing his crack-addict girlfriend. Heflin convinces
Rose to reveal Babitch's hide-out and takes him into custody. Donlan's
team ambush them and fire a pistol next to Heflin's good ear,
deafening him, and kidnap Babitch.
On foot and almost totally deaf, Heflin follows them to Donlan's
house, where he is joined by Figgis, and a shootout commences. Donlan,
Rucker, and the rest of Donlan's team are killed. Heflin and Figgis
take Babitch to New York City and hand him over to Tilden. After the
scandal has been investigated and indictments handed down, Heflin
surveys the New York City skyline from across the Hudson River and
goes back to work.
Sylvester Stallone as Freddy Heflin
Harvey Keitel as Ray Donlan
Ray Liotta as Gary Figgis
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro as Moe Tilden
Peter Berg as Joey Randone
Janeane Garofalo as Deputy Cindy Betts
Robert Patrick as Jack Rucker
Michael Rapaport as Murray Babitch
Annabella Sciorra as Liz Randone
Noah Emmerich as Deputy Bill Geisler
Cathy Moriarty as Rose Donlan
John Spencer as Leo Crasky
Frank Vincent as PDA President Lassaro
Malik Yoba as Det. Carson
Arthur Nascarella as Frank Lagonda
Garrison is based on Mangold's hometown of Washingtonville, New York,
located about 60 miles (97 km) from New York City. Mangold grew
up in a development called Worley Heights, where many of the residents
were current and former
NYPD police officers. The principal
shooting location for the film was Edgewater, New Jersey.
Stallone gained 40 pounds (18 kg) to portray the beaten-down
sheriff of Garrison.
Cop Land had its world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York
City on August 6, 1997. Some of the film's cast members attended,
including Stallone, Keitel, Liotta, Sciorra, Moriarty and Rapaport.
Stallone's understated performance was praised by critics and he
received the Best Actor award at the Stockholm International Film
Cop Land was also screened at the 54th Venice Film Festival
in the Midnight line-up. Earlier in May 1997, the film was accepted
into the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but Miramax
declined the invitation due to re-shoots that were needed for the
film, including footage of Stallone 40 pounds heavier.
Critical reaction was generally positive. Based on 62 reviews
collected from notable publications by review aggregator Rotten
Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 73%.
Audiences polled by
CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-"
on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "There is a
rough balance between how long a movie is, how deep it goes and how
much it can achieve. That balance is not found in
Cop Land and the
result is too much movie for the running time". On the other hand,
Gene Siskel praised the movie, especially the screenplay, "One to be
In her review for The New York Times,
Janet Maslin felt that, "the
Cop Land is in its hard-edged, novelistic portraits, which
pile up furiously during the film's dynamic opening scenes... Yet if
the price of Mangold's casting ambitions is a story that can't,
finally, match its marquee value, that value is still inordinately
strong. Everywhere the camera turns in this tense and volatile drama,
it finds enough interest for a truckload of conventional Hollywood
fare. Whatever its limitations,
Cop Land has talent to burn".
Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman
wrote, "Stallone does a solid, occasionally winning job of going
through the motions of shedding his stardom, but the wattage of his
personality is turned way down—at times, it's turned down to
neutral. And that pretty much describes Cop Land, too. Dense,
meandering, ambitious yet jarringly pulpy, this tale of big-city
corruption in small-town America has competence without mood or
power—a design but not a vision". In her review for the
Washington Post, Rita Kempley wrote, "With its redundancy of
supporting characters, snarled subplots and poky pace,
Cop Land really
might have been better off trading the director for a traffic
Rolling Stone magazine's
Peter Travers praised Stallone's
performance: "His performance builds slowly but achieves a stunning
payoff when Freddy decides to clean up his town ... Freddy awakes to
his own potential, and it's exhilarating to watch the character and
the actor revive in unison. Nearly down for the count in the movie
ring, Stallone isn't just back in the fight. He's a winner". In
his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle also liked
Stallone's work: "His transformation is more than a matter of weight.
He looks spiritually beaten and terribly sad. He looks like a real
person, not a cult-of-the-body film star, and he uses the opportunity
to deliver his best performance in years".
Unlike 1991's Oscar and 1992's Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Stallone's
previous high-profile attempts at branching out of one-dimensional
action star roles, both of which ultimately ended up commercially
unsuccessful, critically panned, and often ridiculed, Cop Land, with
its star-studded heavyweight ensemble cast, was met with high
expectations[by whom?] as a multifaceted story based around corruption
on the New York City police force. Additionally, it was to show
Stallone in a completely different light, both physically (his
40-pound weight gain got a lot of press coverage), as well as
artistically, by letting him showcase his acting skills. While the
film posted a solid box-office intake ($44.8 million domestically),
got good reviews, and Stallone received positive critical notices for
his performance as a demure small-town sheriff, in 2008 the actor
stated on the
Opie and Anthony Show
Opie and Anthony Show that
Cop Land "hurt" his career
and that he had trouble getting roles for eight years, due to the
film's failure to reach the high expectations set for it and the mix
of views on whether he was leaving action movies for more
character-driven content. Stallone has described this as "the
beginning of the end, for about eight years".
In 2011, for Cop Land's release on Blu-ray, the film's writer and
James Mangold commented on the film's reception: "The movie
was under so much pressure to be America's next Pulp Fiction. But it's
such a dark and sad tale, less jazzy and more of a kind of morality
tale. It ends in a dark place. The star value got so high, and Miramax
wanted the grosses to be so high. When it came out, a lot of daggers
were out for Sly. He had made a bunch of shittier moves, he’s the
first to admit, that weren't aimed for the highest result each time
The film was nominated by the
American Film Institute
American Film Institute for the 2006
list AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers.
Cop Land: Music From The Miramax Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
The film's soundtrack features two songs from Bruce Springsteen's 1980
album The River: "Drive All Night" and "Stolen Car", songs by other
artists, and an original score from Howard Shore. One additional song,
Blue Öyster Cult's "Burnin' for You", was added to the soundtrack of
the director's cut, first released on home video in 2004.
The score by
Howard Shore was performed by The London Philharmonic
Orchestra and released as Cop Land: Music From The Miramax Motion
Picture in 1997. The soundtrack released on CD contained twelve
tracks, with a runtime of 40:11 minutes.
All music composed by Howard Shore.
"All Dressed Up In Blue"
"Yellow Betray Blue"
"Local Boy Saves Drowning Teen"
"Mashed Potatoes Don't Mean Gravy"
Sheriff Of Cop Land"
"Pool Of Crimson"
"The Diagonal Rule"
"Across The River"
"Big Blue Pow Wow"
"Without Looking At The Cards"
"One Police Plaza"
Cop Land has been released on VHS and DVD numerous times since 1998.
The initial extras-free DVDs had the theatrical cut in non-anamorphic
widescreen, while subsequent issues, including various "Collector's
Editions" on DVD and Blu-ray, have favoured the director's cut.
StudioCanal's French and German region B-locked Blu-rays exclusively
feature both the 101-minute theatrical cut and 116-minute director's
Extras include an audio commentary (with James Mangold, Sylvester
Stallone, Robert Patrick, and producer Cathy Konrad), "The Making of
an Urban Western" featurette, a storyboard comparison, two deleted
scenes and the theatrical trailer.
The two deleted scenes primarily show the racism in the town of
Garrison. One scene involves all the resident police officers chasing
down a pair of black motorists, and the other shows Heflin's deputy
pointing out that the majority of the tickets issued in Garrison go to
black motorists on charges that suggest racial profiling.
^ a b "
Cop Land (1997) - Box Office Mojo". Boxofficemojo.com.
Retrieved 2 September 2017.
^ Lussier, Germain. "Local boy makes good ... movies," Times
Herald-Record (Sep 9, 2007).
^ The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations
Cop Land in Edgewater
^ a b c Busch, Anita M (May 26 – June 1, 1997). "He Ain't Heavy ...
At Least for the Reshoot". Variety. p. 5.
^ Roman, Monica (August 14, 1997). "A party in Cop land". Variety.
^ Rooney, David (August 15, 1997). "
Cop Land replaces Empire in
lineup". Variety. p. 39.
Cop Land - Rotten Tomatoes". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved
^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
^ Ebert, Roger (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land". Chicago Sun-Times.
^ Maslin, Janet (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land: Sly Holds His Own". The
New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land". Entertainment
Weekly. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ Kempley, Rita (August 15, 1997). "Cop Land: No Muscle". Washington
Post. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ Travers, Peter (December 8, 2000). "Cop Land". Rolling Stone.
^ LaSalle, Mick (August 15, 1997). "Good Cop Bad Cop". San Francisco
Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
^ Opie and Anthony Show, 1/17/08, Stallone interview.
^ ‘Cop Land’ Director James Mangold: When Stallone Swapped Guns
for a Gut Archived January 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.;Andrew
Breitbart Presents: Big Hollywood, 2 November 2011
AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved
Cop Land Soundtrack (1997)". Moviemusic.com. 1997-08-12. Retrieved
Cop Land Soundtrack CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 2006-01-24.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Cop Land
Cop Land on IMDb
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Cop Land at Metacritic
Films directed by James Mangold
Cop Land (1997)
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Kate & Leopold (2001)
Walk the Line
Walk the Line (2005)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Knight and Day
Knight and Day (2010)
The Wolverine (2013)