70's Activism

The Story Behind Dog Day Afternoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 Cheyenne Hendricks

Does the name John Wojtowicz sound familiar to you? It should. Perhaps you would recognize him from the movie, Dog Day Afternoon. No, he wasn’t the star, he was the inimitable, legend that movie was written about. He lived life according to his own rules, living in utterly unrestrained sexual freedom taking on lovers of both male and female persuasions. However, he is most famous for the notorious August day on which he attempted to rob a bank, causing 14 grueling hours of nationally broadcasted chaos, all to fund his lover’s sex change. Drafthouse Films is about to release a gripping documentary depicting his life and the story behind the movie. 

The film goes through stages of his life with interviews not only from his mother and his wives, but with the man himself. Featuring never before seen footage and photos, we’re given a rare glimpse into the life and mind of the soldier, the activist, the lover, and the criminal. The many layered facets of his passion are revealed in detail only available from the people who actually experienced it. 

From the first time he met Ernie Aron, he was inexplicably infatuated, and he knew he had to have him. Sex and debauchery was a lifestyle for John, so even with Ernie in his life, he was insatiable. Despite his relentless lust, he loved Ernie.The film includes an exclusive interview with John who depicts his wild life and what lead him to rob the Brooklyn bank. Reporters, eyewitnesses, and actual hostages even give accounts of the bizarre bank robbery. 

As sensationalistic, outrageous, and unbelievable the story, it is ultimately heart breaking. Dog Day Afternoon only showed the infamous day everyone knows about, but few know about the struggle his family suffered, the painful decisions his lover had to make after she had her sex change, and the twisted aftermath that John endured. The torture of prison life took a toll on him, but he could never be defeated. Despite the fights and rape he had to endure, he knew he was the boss. He ran his life, he owned his lifestyle, and he flaunted his power. 

The film shows how truly John reveled in his fame. This charming, sick, fearless individual coined his own nickname, created his own legend, and lived the exact scandalous life that he wanted. He may be defined as a felon, a momma’s boy, or a lover, but one thing is certain, he had no regrets and made no concessions. 

“Do what you want to do, because tomorrow you could be dead.” -John “The Dog” Wojtowicz 

To experience the full intensity of John’s story and view the explicit truth about his life, catch this informative, touching documentary on Vimeo  - it released August 15. “The Dog” is a gripping, unforgettable account of the man behind the movie. 

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