The New Centurions (1972) starring George C. Scott, Stacy Keach directed by Richard Fleischer Movie Review

The New Centurions (1972)   3/53/53/53/53/5

George C. Scott in The New Centurions (1972)

70s Cop 1-0-1

Having graduated from the police academy Roy Fehler (Stacy Keach) finds himself partnered up with precinct veteran Andy Kilvinski (George C. Scott) who has seen it all and his own set of rules called Kilvinski's law which he tells each graduate he works with. Fehler is not the only newly qualified cop in the precinct as Sergio (Erik Estrada) finds himself partnered up with Galloway (Ed Lauter). As these cops go about their business the young cops gets to experience first hand that being a cop is nothing like it is in the movies as they have to deal with such mundane issues as a drunk woman to a drunk couple rowing as well as domestic violence and robbery.

For those who are unaware "The New Centurions" is based on Joseph Wambaugh's novel of the same name and Wambaugh was a former cop who turned novelist and was behind the TV series "Police Story". Now that bit of a history lesson done with the best way to describe "The New Centurions" is to call it an early 70s version of "Hill Street Blues" where we follow these various cops around during their day to day work and we see how dealing with the crime on the streets has an affect on them personally when it comes to their marriages and so on. And it is entertaining enough with a more believable look at the life of a cop in and outside of work than the police movies which preceded it.

Stacy Keach in The New Centurions (1972)

The trouble is that if like me you've only just watched "The New Centurions" for the first time it not only feels like a weaker and earlier version of "Hills Street Blues" but it is also a movie which is riddled with 70s stereotypes. You just need to watch the scene early on where Fehler and Kilvinski drive around picking up streetwalkers to get them too drunk to work as every single character is a racial stereotype.

Despite the issues which are now clear to see "The New Centurions" does boast good acting with Stacey Keach and George C. Scott work very well together and have a believable vibe between them as the blank page cop and the cynical veteran who knows the best way to do things and is popular due to his manner. In fact Scott is so effective as the veteran that you forget you are watching a movie.

What this all boils down to is that I imagine "The New Centurions" was very good for its time but now not seems dated and filled with stereotypes. Despite that it is still worth a watch especially for the performances of Scott and Keach.