Half deaf Freddy Heflin (Stallone) is sheriff of a quiet New Jersey suburb whose residents include a large percentage of New York cops, including local hot-shot Ray Donlan (Keitel). When a crime occurs on his turf involving Donlan and his other policeman buddies, Freddy investigates and is soon on to a conspiracy which could cost him his friendships — and his life.
Why we love it
Stallone wisely took the nuanced, meaty role of Freddy as a change of pace from his usual comic book hero parts, and he is surprisingly good here — and what a supporting cast he had to work with! Keitel is superb as the crooked cop with the most to lose, who vastly underestimates Freddy; Liotta excels in an intense performance as Freddy's emotionally scarred only friend; and De Niro is spot-on in a smaller role as a frustrated internal affairs investigator. Smart and suspenseful, "Cop Land" is one crime drama that's criminally underrated.