William Friedkin's 1980 psychological thriller stars Al Pacino as Steve Burns, a New York City cop working on the case of a serial killer. The killer seems to be targeting gay men by picking them up in West Village bars then decapitating them and throwing them into the Hudson. To infiltrate the murderer's world, Officer Burns goes undercover, heading deep into the leather bars of Manhattan, huffing amyl and befriending his new neighbour, a gay man with boyfriend troubles. As you might imagine, it causes issues with both his girlfriend (Karen Allen) and the police force, who Burns begins to see as operating with homophobic intentions.
Why You Should See This Film
At the time of the films release, it was enormously controversial, with gay rights activists staging protests. Still troubling to many, the film is now considered part of queer cinema history. It was also the inspiration behind Interior Leather Bar by James Franco and Travis Mathews, a movie that attempted to remake the 'missing' 40 minutes of S&M footage, rumoured to be cut from Cruising.
Presented by Wilfred Brandt
Wilfred Brandt is a writer and critic with a strong interest in subcultures. He worked as a doorman at L.A.’s Gauntlet II leather bar in the late 90s (now the Eagle) and is making a zine about Cruising which you can purchase on the night.
- Year: 1980
- Rating: R18
- Director: William Friedkin
- Cast: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen
- Duration: 102 minutes
- Language: English