You know the difference between men and boys? Boys bet everything on

             everything! Boys think every hand is a royal flush! You play cards with

                          a man, he knows his limits.


The film takes place in fictional Garrison, New Jersey, a small town across the Hudson River from New York near the where a large number of residents are NYPD officers. Stallone plays the quiet Freddy Heflin, the hearing impaired sherrif of Garrison who admires his friends who are cops. Helfin had wanted to join the NYPD but was rejected due to his injury. Although nominally the sheriff, Freddy's actual authority is limited to handling minor civil issues, the real power in town being wielded by corrupt NYPD cops, primarily Ray Donlan (Keitel) who constantly reminds Freddy that he is only a local sheriff and is not really one of them. Consequently Heflin spends most of his days listening to his vinyl records and longing for his high school sweetheart whom Freddy saved from drowning at the cost of his hearing and who dumped him for a dysfunctional marriage with another cop, Joey Randone. Matters are further complicated by 'Figgsy' (Liotta) another corrupt NYPD officer but a friend of Freddy's and someone at a crossroads trying to change and do the right thing. Figgsy also has an ongoing rift with Randone.

De Niro plays Lt Moe Tilden, an NYPD internal affairs officer investigating Mafia connected corruption amongst the officers living in Garrison. His jurisdiction ends at the George Washington Bridge but the men he watches live across that bridge. His investigation gets a break when one of the cops, Murray 'Superboy' Babitch causes the deaths of two unarmed motorists and when another corrupt cop is caught red handed trying to plant a weapon on one of deceased motorists to justify the shooting. Their fellow corrupt cops fear Babitch will testify to internal affairs about police corruption and so fake his death and put him in hiding.

Tilden asks Heflin to provide internal affairs with information on the corrupt cops. Even though they are corrupt and work in a different city, Freddy views them as fellows and brothers, able to accomplish what he could not, and his reluctance to betray his friends derails the investigation. When Freddy finds that Babitch is alive and that Donlan who is not afraid to see a friend or someone close to him go down in order to protect his arrangements now wants him dead Freddy is forced to confront the truth about his childhood friends and must try and bring them to justice.











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Directed by James Mangold
Produced by  
Written by James Mangold
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Robert De Niro
Ray Liotta
Harvey Keitel
Peter Berg
Janeane Garofalo
Annabella Sciorra
Robert Patrick
Michael Rapaport
John Spencer
Arthur J. Nascarella
Music by Howard Shore
Distributed by  
Release date(s) August 15, 1997
Running time 104 min
Language English