Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Film: The New Centurions (1972)

A 49-year-old cop movie that holds up pretty well is “The New Centurions,” based on Joseph Wambaugh’s first novel.

George C. Scott stars as Kilvinski, a veteran patrol officer reaching retirement age whose personal life is empty. While he is weary of life on the street, it is the only thing he lives for.

But the story is really about Roy, who in the film goes from a rookie, under the guidance of Kilvinski, to a veteran, and whose life is going in the same direction as his mentor’s. Roy is played by Stacy Keach.

In the wake of current events, it is interesting to see what policing looked like five decades ago – from the attitudes, to the rogue events, to the simple things like the lack of body armor.

But unlike many police pictures and television shows that age badly – mostly because time has not been kind to the actors playing bad guys who now look like actors playing bad guys – “The New Centurions” stood up pretty well.

One scene that jumps out was when the veteran and the rookie stop a black truck driver on a minor infraction and the situation escalates. The truck driver was played by Roger E. Mosely (who went on to co-star on TV’s “Magnum, P.I.

“The New Centurions” was directed by Richard Fleischer, who had a long career and may be forgotten or underrated today. The script was by Sitrling Silliphant and possibly an uncredited Robert Towne. Also in the film were Jane Alexander, Scott Wilson and Erik Estrada.


  1. I have the book of this somewhere. I never knew there was a film of this. ANother one to seek out.

    1. Here in the US, you can watch this for free on Youtube. One of my favorite movies and one of the most accurate portrayals of policing in the US in the 1970s and even later.