[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/badliutenant_2046.jpg]]

''Bad Lieutenant'' is a film made in 1992 by Creator/AbelFerrara, concerning a [[NoNameGiven nameless New York police lieutenant]] (played by Creator/HarveyKeitel) as he went about his daily business of solving homicides while simultaneously indulging in his drug habits and prostitution and worrying about how to pay off his baseball gambling debts, all the while using his position as a weapon to get away with everything. During the investigation of a nun's rape, the Lieutenant begins to reflect on his lifestyle, wondering if he can change it.

The film inspired ''Film/TheBadLieutenantPortOfCallNewOrleans'', a movie that features a similar main character, yet is still quite different.
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!!''Bad Lieutenant'' provides examples of:

* TheAtoner: The Lieutenant is gradually revealed as this.
* AuthorAppeal: the Lieutenant sometimes visits the apartment of a thin girl who shoots heroin. She was played by Zoe Lund (née Tamerlis), who was the cowriter of the screenplay, and was a heroin advocate. She is also given writing credit on "Port of Call New Orleans", although by that time she was [[AuthorExistenceFailure already deceased]]. [[CaptainObvious From heroin.]]
* CreatorCameo: Zoe Lund. She had previously worked with director Ferrara, having [[YouMightRememberMeFrom played the titular role in]] ''Film/{{Ms 45}}''.
%% * DirtyCop:
* DownerEnding: The Lieutenant himself [[spoiler: is killed by a drive-by shooter after finally finding redemption and self-forgiveness by freeing the nun's rapists.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Drive-By Shooter:''' Hey, cop!]]
* TheHeroDies: The Lieutenant [[spoiler: himself at the end.]]
* HookersAndBlow: There's several scenes of the Lieutenant getting strung out with a couple of prostitutes. It's a lot more sleazy and grimy than the trope is usually presented, however. In the scene with Zoe Lund, that's real Heroin being injected into her.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler: The nun's rapists. Even considering the fact that the nun forgives them, the Lieutenant smokes drugs with them and then puts them on a bus for parts unknown, and gives them the cigar box with thirty grand in it.]]
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: The final scene keeps going after the main event occurs.
%% * MaleFrontalNudity
%% * ManlyTears
* NoNameGiven: The Lieutenant.
* RapeAsDrama: The nun. [[spoiler:Though apparently she copes with it better than expected.]]
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: [[spoiler:The Lieutenant himself at the end.]]
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: After spending so much on the cynical end, the film amazingly ends on an idealistic note that shows that even the worst individuals are never completely beyond redemption.

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