As the paper highlights he was certainly assisted by the rest of the cast such as John Cazale as the saddest bank robber in the world, Sal and the possibly in one of his most unforgettable performances, the portrayal of Sonny’s “other wife” Leon by Chris Sarandon. And the many others all added to the cavalcade of this consciousness raising experience. However, the nature of Pacino’s performance and the amount of empathy he was able to invoke from the audience was the primary catalyst for their almost subconscious acceptance of an alternate view of the traditional leading man in the cinema.
From this study it is clear that Dog Day Afternoon was made and released in 1975-76 during a time when countercultures and counterrevolutionaries were still on a rise from the sixties. In fact, it was probably even more acceptable now to mainstream audience who by this point had been exposed to the cold war and Fidel Castro and Hippies as well as the social reforms of civil rights movement that occurred throughout the sixties and is still occurring. This expression of a new masculinity challenges the traditional American emphasis on the hard hitting hero with a heart of gold, so to speak. Here in this film ther are certainly notions of some sexual liberation from gender stereotyping.
In a sense, most art, film, literature, etc. have a tendency to push the envelope of the cultures mind and gradually expose their audiences to a new attitude and more expansive ideas of what human being are supposed to be and what they can and should be capable of. Dog day Afternoon gives us an alternate viewpoint, a somewhat more blurry line between the criminal and the hero, the leading man and the sensitive male, so that the audience sees how it is possible to cheer for someone who may not be the cowboy with the white hat and cetrtainly not the typical hero of a tale.