Based On A True Story


Using interviews and archive material, the film reconstructs a bank raid which may not have gone down in history, yet has made film history - due to Sidney Lumet 's psychological drama DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975), in which Al Pacino plays the desperate and luckless bank robber Sonny Wortzik. Lumet's suspenseful thriller is based on a true story; his protagonist is modeled on a man whose real name is John Wojtowicz , On a hot August afternoon in 1972, Wojtowicz rushes into a Brooklyn branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank and, weapon in hand, demands the payment of a sizeable sum - in vain. For with unexpected speed, the police arrive at the bank and block the entrance.Wojtowicz ends up taking eight people hostage. A quick robbery turns into a 14-hour war of nerves, a spectacle in which not only the police and passers-by become involved but also the media. At his trial, John Wojtowicz explains that he needed the money to finance his lover 's sex change. After serving his prison term, he returns to Brooklyn and moves into a house only a few blocks from the site of his crime. Ever since, John Wojtowicz has led a life overshadowed by celluloid memories that are not his own. Of all those who, after the crime and for Lumet's film, gave an account of what happened during the 14-hour drama, only Wojtowicz 'version was missing. In Walter Stokman 's film we finally get to hear it. 


  • Runtime

    75 min
  • Country

  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    Walter Stokman
  • Cast

    John Wojtowicz, Chris Sarandon, Frank Pierson, Al Pacino, Sidney Lumet, John Cazale
  • Production Company

    Kasander Film Company
  • Berlinale Section

  • Berlinale Category

    Documentary Film

Filmography Walter Stokman

1997 Can't U Hear Me Singin' | 2002 ASH World Wide Suicide | 2012 Dirty Window