Dog Day Afternoon is based on a true story about a botched robbery attempt in 1970s New York City. All of the drama happens over the course of one day, which heightens the feeling of tension. Sonny is the brains of this badly planned bank job. He and his partner in crime, Sal, enter the bank with intentions to hold up the place and make a clean getaway. Their ineptitude at bank robbery is quickly revealed. As the bank is surrounded by cops and TV crews, Sonny switches gears and decides to take everyone inside hostage. Through a series of clumsily endearing actions Sonny becomes a media celebrity. His new found fame emboldens him to continuously make demands while playing to the adoring crowd. When his alternative love life is exposed, the public's adoration quickly turns to scorn. Meanwhile, Sal becomes increasingly doubtful they will get out alive.