'Dog Day Afternoon' Truth is often stranger than fiction. And that is the case with Sidney Lumet's 1975 classic about a bank robbery that goes terribly awry. "Dog Day" was nominated for numerous Academy Awards including best film, director, actor (Al Pacino) -- Frank Pierson won for his faultless screenplay. Al Pacino stars as Sonny, one of life's losers, who, though married with children, has a hysterical male lover (a wonderful Chris Sarandon) who wants a sex-change operation. Sonny and his dim-witted friend Sal (the late, great John Cazale) attempt to rob a bank to get money for the operation. The robbery quickly spirals out of control. The film was based on the story of John Wojtowicz who attempted to rob the Chase Manhattan branch in Brooklyn in 1972 and received 20 years in the federal pen. He was paid $7,500 plus 1% of net movie profits for the movie rights. He gave $2,500 to his lover, Ernest Aron, for the surgery. Aron had the operation and changed her name to Liz Eden. She died of AIDS in 1987. Wojtowicz was released after serving 14 years in prison.