William Friedkin, director; Al Pacino, actor

Cruising (USA; 1980)

Original release lobby card #6

Cruising is arguably the best known example of what New York Times critic Vincent Canby called the “homosexual horror film,” in which homosexuality itself becomes the menacing threat.  In Cruising, an undercover heterosexual cop (Al Pacino) infiltrates the sordid scene of leather bars, discos, and cruising locales in Greenwich Village in order to find a serial killer who preys on gay men.  Immersion into the film’s violent, hyper-sexed homosexual underworld, however, soon makes the cop begin to question his own sexuality.  Friedkin’s depiction of gay culture as dark, sleazy, and ultimately threatening to heterosexuality infuriated many members of the gay community, leading to well-publicized picket lines and movie boycotts.  Other movies, such as The Fan (1981) and Partners (1982), followed suit with similarly absurd stories involving cops, killers, and the perceived homosexual threat.

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