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The French Connection (1971)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  9 October 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 74,913 users   Metascore: 96/100
Reviews: 273 user | 130 critic | 4 from

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.



(screenplay), (based on the book by), 1 more credit »
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcel Bozzuffi ...
Frédéric de Pasquale ...
Devereaux (as Frederic De Pasquale)
Ann Rebbot ...
Marie Charnier
Harold Gary ...
Arlene Farber ...
Angie Boca
Eddie Egan ...
André Ernotte ...
La Valle (as Andre Ernotte)
Benny Marino ...
Lou Boca
Patrick McDermott ...
Chemist (as Pat McDermott)


William Friedkin's gritty police drama portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. An interesting contrast is established between 'Popeye' Doyle, a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hard-working and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis Alain Charnier, a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America. During the surveillance and eventual bust, Friedkin provides one of the most gripping and memorable car chase sequences ever filmed. Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | heroin | city | drugs | smuggling | See All (189) »


The time is just right for an out and out thriller like this. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doyle  »

Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)


SEK 1,836,397 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jackie Gleason was also considered for the role of Popeye Doyle. 20th Century Fox did not want Gleason due the box-office failure of Gigot (1962). See more »


At the end, when Doyle enters the derelict building, his hat is on and off his head between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle: Merry Christmas. What's your name, little boy?
Little Boy: Eric.
Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle: Uh-huh, Eric. What do you want for Christmas Eric? Hmmm?
See more »


Featured in Die Harald Schmidt Show: Episode #1.4 (2011) See more »


Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon
(1969) (uncredited)
Written by Jimmy Webb
Performed by The Three Degrees in the club
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

32 years and still relevant
6 February 2003 | by (nyc, USA) – See all my reviews

I first saw The French Connection in the summer of '72 (after it won the Oscar), so it's reputation was fairly well sealed by then. I had seen fair number of 1971 films, including The Hospital, Nicholas and Alexandria, A Clockwork Orange, Shaft, Le Boucher, Dirty Harry. The French Connection was something different though. It seemed to leap off the screen. It gave me a feeling I no longer have when I leave a movie, which is when I stepped out into the street I felt I was still in the movie. Of course, the chase was spectacular, but what I most remember and still enjoy about the movie is the energy. Gene Hackman acted Popeye with his entire body: running, stamping his feet, fighting, pointing, running some more: the porkpie hat was not a meaningless appendage; it was part of him, whether he employed it for drug recovery or slamming it into the concrete. It's a cinematic performance that ranks with Chaplin and Keaton. Then there's the intoxicating mood of grey, dreary winter in New York 1970-71 that puts you into the show. And the editing. Note the cool shot of Doyle spinning out of the phone booth on Broome St. cutting right into the drone of the Brooklyn Bridge at daybreak; or the shots jammed together as Doyle yells at Pierre Nicoli on the departing train, cut to: the motorman's hand cut to: to the suspicious transit cop, cut to: to the closing train doors, etc. And no music to smooth it over! Whenever I see this film it looks like it's still happening.

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