The Seven-Ups is a 1973 American crime drama thriller film produced and directed by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Roy Scheider as a crusading policeman who is the leader of The Seven-Ups, a squad of plainclothes officers who use dirty, unorthodox tactics to snare their quarry on charges leading to prison sentences of seven years or more upon prosecution, hence the name of the team.
D'Antoni took his sole directing credit on this film. He was earlier responsible for producing the gritty cop thriller Bullitt, followed by The French Connection, which won him the 1971 Academy Award for Best Picture. All three feature a memorable car chase sequence.
Several other people who worked on The French Connection were also involved in this film, such as Scheider, screenwriter and police technical advisor Sonny Grosso, composer Don Ellis, and stunt coordinator Bill Hickman. 20th Century Fox was again the distributor.
Buddy Manucci, played by Scheider, is a loose remake of the character of Buddy "Cloudy" Russo he played in The French Connection, a character who also used dirty tactics to capture his enemies, and who was also based on Sonny Grosso.
NYPD Detective Buddy Manucci has been getting flak from the higher-ups in the New York City police force he works for because his team of renegade policemen, known as The Seven-Ups (the name comes from the fact that most convictions done by the team herald jail sentences to criminals from Seven years and Up) has been using unorthodox methods to capture criminals; this is illustrated as the team ransacks an antiques store that is a front for the running of counterfeit money.
Also, there have been a rash of kidnappings; the twist is that it seems that only upper echelon criminals (Mafioso and white-collar types) are the ones being kidnapped, illustrated when Max Kalish is kidnapped and a ransom is paid at a car wash. This leads to many plot twists in which Manucci tries to figure out the puzzle, with help supplied to him by an informant (Tony Lo Bianco), who turns out to be untrustworthy, leading to the death of one of the Seven-Up officers.
Manucci figures out the puzzle, but not before The Seven-Ups splinter from the fallout, and Manucci's life is placed in jeopardy.Roy Scheider as Buddy
Tony Lo Bianco as Vito Lucia
Larry Haines as Max Kalish
Richard Lynch as Moon
Bill Hickman as Bo
Victor Arnold as Barilli
Ken Kercheval as Ansel
Lou Polan as Carmine Coltello
Joe Spinell as Toredano
The film was announced in July 1971. Canadian TV writer Philip Hersch was hired by producer Phil d'Antoni to write the script based on the real life exploits of Sonny Grosso and Eddie Egan. While making The French Connection, Grosso told d'Antoni the story of "the kidnapping of cops who weren't really cops," said the producer. "A very weird and fascinating story." It was about a group of police who existed in the 1950s who were only assigned felonies where the penalties were seven years and up.
The French Connection was a big box office success and 20th Century Fox agreed to let D'Antoni direct. "We kind of agreed the best one to direct this would be me," he said.
Filming locations include Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Westchester County, and the Bronx.
Festa's abduction takes place in Brooklyn, across from the old courthouse on Court and Montague Streets near Cadman Plaza. Buddy makes his rounds in and around Arthur Avenue and the Arthur Avenue Retail Market in the Bronx.
Vito pays off Moon at the New York Botanical Garden. Buddy and Vito meet at the track field between De Witt Clinton High School and Bronx High School of Science, and object to the new Tracey Towers housing project looming in the background. Kalish's house is at W. 246th Street and Fieldston Road in Riverdale.
The funeral home sequence where Ansel is abducted was filmed at the side entrance to Lucia Brothers Funeral Home on the corner of E. 184th and Hoffman Streets. Buddy and his partner are staking out the funeral home from an upstairs apartment across the street, in a building located at 2324 Hoffman Street. In the background one can see the elevated IRT Third Avenue Line of the New York City Subway, which was dismantled shortly after this movie was filmed. Aside from the Third Avenue Line and the fact that the one-way vehicle traffic on Hoffman Street has since been reversed, the locations remain today for the most part as they did in the movie. The funeral procession then rides on Pelham Parkway.
The climactic shootout scene at the end of the movie was filmed in areas just outside Co-op City's Section Five, at what today is Erskine Place, between De Reimer and Palmer Avenues.
As in Bullitt and The French Connection, Philip D'Antoni again utilized stunt coordinator and driver Bill Hickman (who also has a small role in the film) to help create the chase sequence for this film. Filmed in and around Upper Manhattan, New York City, the sequence was edited by Gerald B. Greenberg (credited as Jerry Greenberg), who also has an associate producer credit on this film and who won an Academy Award for his editing work on The French Connection.
The chase sequence is located near the middle of the film; in it, Hickman's car is being chased by Scheider. The chase itself borrows heavily from the Bullitt chase, with the two cars bouncing down the gradients of uptown New York (like the cars on San Francisco's steep hills in the earlier film) with Hickman's 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville sedan pursued by Scheider's 1973 Pontiac Ventura Custom Sprint coupe. While Scheider did some of his own driving, most of it was done by Hollywood stunt man Jerry Summers.
Location shooting for the chase scene was done in the Upper West Side of Manhattan including West 96th Street, on the George Washington Bridge, and on New Jersey's Palisades Interstate Parkway and New York's Taconic State Parkway.
In the accompanying behind-the-scenes featurette of the 2006 DVD release of the film, Hickman can be seen co-ordinating the chase from the street where we see a stuntman in a parked car opens his door as Hickman's vehicle takes it off its hinges. The end of the chase was Hickman's "homage" to the death of Jayne Mansfield, where Scheider's car (driven by Summers) smashes into the back of a parked tractor-trailer, peeling off the car's roof.