New York of the early 80s was a hostile place with crime and deaths on the rise year after another, homicides peaking at 2000s at worst – and Bronx had a notorious reputation even for New Yorkers.
Fort Apache the Bronx follows the everyday life of two cops, one veteran and and his younger partner in one particularly colorful precinct in Bronx. Officer Murphy – played by Paul Newman – is disillusioned and nihilistic on the surface, but always shows a great sense of discretion and ingenuity when defusing situations, with a confidence that only having a good understanding of (and affection for) the community for many years can bring.
Fans of Paul Newman will be at home with the movie as Fort Apache the Bronx showcases Newman at his very peak. The way the movie shows the life of a cop in a realistic fashion was new and fresh at the time (and it still holds up surprisingly well), but the 70s heritage of cinema is strong with the movie – especially in the way its actions scenes are shot.