- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During an interrogation, a large, muscular black man in a jock strap walks into the room and starts slapping the suspects. It's treated as perfectly normal and given no explanation. In a film set in leather bars with copious public BDSM acts, this is the strangest scene. It's presumably a reference to the alleged practice of doing something ridiculous to suspects during interrogations to make their claims of police brutality less likely to be believed.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The film was made during exactly the period when HIV was already running rampant but nobody actually knew it yet, making its more sexually explicit scenes — unsimulated and unprotected sex, remember — intensely difficult to watch. Made even stronger by a reference to someone apparently having hepatitis at one point
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Three years later, another Pacino character was asked if he was a homosexual and/or liked to dress up like a woman.
- Narm: Al Pacino's dancing. Also, the above-mentioned Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, which interrupts an otherwise fairly serious scene of homophobia-motivated police misconduct and receives no explanation whatsoever.
YMMV / Cruising