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Film: Cop Land

Cop Land is a crime drama written and directed by James Mangold, starring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, and Robert De Niro. The story follows Freddy Heflin (Stallone), a New Jersey sheriff who is charged with keeping order in a tight-knit community of New York police officers. Such a neighborhood might be expected to handle its own business, and this is exactly how the residents see it. Thus, Heflin's authority is rarely taken seriously and he is often dismissed by the locals.

Matters around town are complicated when one of its members is involved in a questionable off-duty shooting and goes missing. It doesn't take long for internal affairs to come sniffing around in the form of Moe Tilden (De Niro), who thanks to jurisdiction must rely almost entirely on Heflin for his investigation to bear any fruit. Consequently, Heflin finds himself pulled in multiple directions, as more facts about the case—and about the town itself—begin rising to the surface.


This film contains examples of:

  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: No one takes Freddy seriously as any kind of law enforcer, but have you seen him shoot, or in action?
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: In the back of a patrol car.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Burn victim.
  • Dirty Cops: Doesn't take long to figure this out.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The Sheriff's honesty is established in an early scene where he's in need of quarters and opens a parking meter's coin box to break his dollar, leaving the bill folded up inside when he's done.
  • Floating Head Syndrome
  • Heel-Face Turn: Gary Figgis near the end of the film, represented by literally slamming on his brakes as he's leaving town.
  • Internal Affairs: Given the storyline, they're naturally involved.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The NYPD officers vs. their own IAD and a New Jersey sheriff's department.
  • Karma Houdini: Randone's murderer.
  • Playing Against Type: Stallone convincingly plays a conflicted sheriff with emotional depth, and even has a different physique in this film than that for which he is known.
  • Police Are Useless: Every other cop who isn't Freddy Heflin is either corrupt or incompetent. Or both.
  • New York City Cops: The story follows a group of NYPD cops who reside together in a New Jersey community.
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted when a firearm discharge is deliberately used to deafen one of the characters.
  • Title Drop: Moe Tilden (De Niro) refers to the community in Freddy Heflin's (Stallone) jurisdiction as "Cop Land." He ends up dropping the tagline in one of his narrations as well.
  • Town With Dark Secrets: Garrison, New Jersey
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: The camera zooms out from the paper Heflin is reading to show the stories related to the incident completely fill two pages. He then closes the paper to reveal the front page is devoted to it as well. To be fair, the exposure of an entire town packed with corrupt cops which is then involved in a massive gunfight would probably be pretty big local news.


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alternative title(s): Cop Land
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