Zoom in on the "Serpico" quiz


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Artists Entertainments

About This Quiz

The ’60s and ’70s were a wild time, and the story of the cop named Serpico was a legend in the film industry. It set a style and story format that’s still being done. Take the "Serpico" quiz to find out more. Just keep your head down!

"Who can trust a cop who won’t take money?" This statement confirmed one thing for Serpico. What was it?

When Serpico heard that statement, it was a confirmation. He knew that most precincts had corrupt officers in them.


The movie is about the life and times of a cop named Serpico. What about this cop makes him an outsider in the force?

Serpico's story revolves around the fact that he's an honest cop.


Serpico has his own morals and ethics. What is his biggest problem as a policeman?

Serpico is an idealistic man. He believes that cops should never be involved in anything questionable. Corruption is therefore not an option.


"Serpico" needed an intense actor for the lead. Which actor took on the role?

Al Pacino played Serpico. His preparation and style were perfect for the gritty movie.


In which city does Serpico's story take place?

Serpico's story happened in New York. The city itself was a sort of star in the movie.


What was Serpico's nationality?

Serpico was an Italian-American.


There's a specific form of crime that Serpico hates. What is it?

The most common form of corruption is being paid off. It can be anything, from looking the other way, to leaning on someone.


What type of police officer did Serpico become in his later years on the force?

Plainclothes cops are called that because they don’t wear the usual uniforms. It's for going around unnoticed.


When Serpico moved to a new New York apartment, he went to this part of town, which made it easier for him to be a part of the youth culture. Where did he move?

Greenwich village was one of the centers of counterculture in the 1960's. That's probably one reason why Serpico moved there.


Who else did Serpico live with in his new apartment, aside from his fiancée?

Serpico's shaggy dog didn’t quite fit his personality.


Even among plainclothes police officers, why was the free-wheeling Serpico considered extreme?

Cops out of uniform still followed a certain dress code. For Serpico, you really wouldn’t be able to tell that he was a cop because he didn’t follow dress codes.


Over time, Serpico was also developed into a specialist cop. What was his street role for the force?

Given Serpico's character, it made sense for him to be an undercover cop. However, that also made life more dangerous for him.


Serpico's first arrest in the film establishes his character. What crime against a person, specifically a woman, did the guy he arrested commit?

The person caught was up for rape. Serpico caught him and his friends with the woman.


What did Serpico do that made the rape suspect open up to him?

Serpico knew that something was missing. He talked with the suspect in a civil way, and found out more information.


When he was going after another guy while he was in civilian clothes, Serpico nearly has this happen to him. What was it?

Serpico was nearly shot by another cop because they couldn't identify him as a cop, thanks to his clothes.


When did most of the events in the movie happen?

The events in the movie Serpico happened mostly during the 1960s , with the end towards the 1970s. The movie was a product of the times.


True or False: Was Serpico a real person?

Serpico is actually a biographical movie. The real Serpico is still active today, and still addressing police issues.


What did Serpico stand his ground on about his appearance?

It was a reflection of his nonconformist attitude. Serpico started sporting longer hair and a mustache. Eventually, Serpico had a beard.


Serpico was frustrated on many levels. What was his issue with his bosses?

The city administration and upper police levels didn’t want to be embarrassed.


The film opens with Serpico being rushed somewhere. Where were they taking him?

Serpico was injured seriously.


When Serpico was injured at the beginning of the film, where on his body was he hurt?

Serpico had been shot in the face. It really looked like he wouldn't make it.


Cops normally have backup when they go into a dangerous situation. How did Serpico end up seriously injured?

It's a crime without evidence. Serpico's backup just didn’t back him up.


What was the nickname for the liberal youth culture in the 1960s?

The big liberal swing in 1960s youth culture was known as the hippie culture or movement. Scenes in "Serpico" showed that he was into this movement.


Serpico’s character later felt very lonely. Why is that?

It's the classic love life for the intense police officer. Serpico's fiancée left him because he was having trouble handling his job.


When you're under enormous stress, it sometimes affects other areas of your life. How did it affect Serpico?

Serpico's relationships with other people took a beating. His loved ones, friends, and workmates all suffered.


The police take care of their own. What's one big-no-no that Serpico did, which made headlines?

Serpico must have felt very desperate. One approaches the media if they want the public to know something.


Which type of media did Serpico approach?

Serpico talked to the New York Times.. This made sure his expose would become the talk of the town.


It was either a sign of how good he was or how much they wanted to get rid of him. To what division was Serpico assigned?

Serpico was eventually put in the Narcotics group. This was seen as dangerous by his allies.


Towards the end of the movie, Serpico talked to a certain someone that probably earned him the ire of all the cops. Who did he talk to?

Serpico decided to go further than talking to others in his department. He talked to a special commission formed by higher government officials.


After his injury, Serpico received the coveted detective's badge. Why wasn't he happy?

In Serpico's mind, his new rank was a hollow thing. He knew it was a bribe to silence him.


After he broke the issue of police corruption to the public, what did he do?

After all his years fighting the good fight, this was a sour ending. Serpico ended up resigning from the police force.


To which country did Serpico move?

In the ending text for the movie, Serpico supposedly moved to Switzerland.


Serpico found out he was getting a commendation for bravery, along with the other police officers. Why wasn't he honored by it?

Serpico wasn't too happy about the other two cops being given commendations, since he knew they held back. That "allowed" him to get shot.


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