Bad Lieutenant  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
NC-17, Rape / Revenge, frontal nudity, heroin in film

Bad Lieutenant is a 1992 film crime drama directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Harvey Keitel as the titular "bad lieutenant". The screenplay was co-written by actress-model Zoë Tamerlis Lund (credited as Zoë Lund). She also played a small role in the film. Lund had been discovered by Ferrara and had starred in his earlier film, Ms. 45.

Tagline: Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop.



Keitel's nameless character is a corrupt police lieutenant who, throughout the movie, is spiralling rapidly into various drug addictions, including cocaine and heroin. The "Bad Lieutenant" is also a gambler who finds himself plunged into debt when the New York Mets win the National League Championship Series after trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers and former Met Darryl Strawberry 3-0. The Mets' comeback is a sort of "minor miracle" that defies the Lieutenant's lack of faith and parallels his eventual redemption. The Lieutenant is also regularly linked with the prodigal Strawberry. The turning point in the film arrives when the Lieutenant investigates the rape of a nun and uses this as a chance to confront his inner demons and perhaps achieve redemption.


Alternate versions

Blockbuster, the largest video rental company in the United States, had a policy prohibiting the purchase and rental of NC-17 movies. An R-rated cut was created specifically so that Blockbuster would rent out the film. The R-rated version is a full 5 minutes shorter than the original.

Jimmy Page, guitarist of the English rock band Led Zeppelin, discovered the guitar line from the Led Zeppelin song "Kashmir" was used in the Schoolly D song "Signifying Rapper", which is played several times throughout the film. This usage had not been cleared by Schoolly D's record company. A lawsuit forced the removal of the song from the soundtrack on some VHS and all DVD versions of the film. he song was replaced by a recording of an original Ferrara composition called "Bad Lieutenant" recorded on a cassette Walkman and performed live at a late night jam session by Ferrara and Paul Hipp (who also appears as Jesus Christ in the film).

Critical evaluation

Mark Kermode has mentioned that the movie was praised as "a powerful tale of redemptive Catholicism". Roger Ebert stated that "in the Bad Lieutenant, Keitel has given us one of the great screen performances in recent years"

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans- 2009

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is an upcoming crime film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer. Filming began in July 2008 in Louisiana. The film is scheduled to be released in December, 2009. According to Herzog, the film is not a remake of the original. In fact, Herzog claims to have never seen Bad Lieutenant, nor to know who Abel Ferrara is.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bad Lieutenant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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