City Hall

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

CITY HALL is a fascinating drama about the downfall of a popular, dedicated New York City mayor, John Pappas (Al Pacino). The story begins with a small child killed in the crossfire of an attempted drug arrest in Brooklyn. At City Hall, the mayor is negotiating with the Democratic Party to hold their convention in New York and with a huge corporation to build their headquarters in his city. As the mayor's assistant, Kevin Calhoun (John Cusack) discovers there's a link connecting the child's death to politics at city hall and to organized crime. An astute politician, Pappas delivers a heartfelt speech at the murdered child's funeral that turns a hostile crowd into a grateful one. Kevin's unabashed admiration for his boss makes him willing to devote 24 hours a day to making the mayor's job easier. Pacino gives another first rate performance as the respected mayor. Danny Aiello as the puppet of the mob boss, played by Anthony Francioso, and Bridget Fonda as a young attorney round out the stellar cast. CITY HALL is an intelligent, intriguing movie for mature audiences.

The story illustrates how one small political favor can fester, becoming a malignant growth capable of destroying careers and lives. But even though his eyes are opened to the ugly side of politics, idealistic Kevin does not lose his zeal to follow in his mentor's footsteps. The negative acceptability is for the 27 obscenities and several profanities needlessly spewed out by both the villains and the heroes. The young woman attorney utters the f-word once, which seems totally out of character for her otherwise wholesome portrayal of a conscientious professional. The attempted drug arrest that triggers two killings is brief but heartbreaking as you see the little boy fall with a gunshot in his back. The face of a drowned man killed by the mob and an implied suicide by gunshot are the only other violent acts. These are all relevant to the story, however. There is no sexual content, no nudity or homosexual content. What a pity City Hall is cluttered with such foul language.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 2, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Many (27) times - F-word 14, s-word 7, other 6

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 6, Exclamatory 3

Violence: Few times - Moderate (gunshots kill policeman and child in crossfire; face of corpse shown briefly; suicide by gunshot to head implied)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Ruthless mob manipulations destroy lives and careers; devastating effects of greed; importance of honorable public officials

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience:

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