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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 76,237 users   Metascore: 96/100
Reviews: 273 user | 130 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

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 17 wins & 10 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 <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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


A $32,000,000 chase turns into the American thriller of the year! 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?


Robert Mitchum claimed to have turned down the role of Popeye Doyle because he hated the story. See more »


During the car/train chase, the Pontiac gets beat up. But when it drives through a wall (or something similar) the car's fixed up (but just for that shot). 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 »


Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Sung by Gene Hackman and the kids
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Tough, cool and clever
23 January 2003 | by (Järvenpää, Finland) – See all my reviews

I just bought "The French Connection" DVD-box (must for anybody who appreciates fascinating old thriller classics) and I have to admit that even though I've seen this terrific film couple of times some years ago now I finally realized how stylish, impressive, brilliant and powerful movie it actually is. However personally I think that year Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "A Clockwork Orange" would have been a slightly better choice for the best picture Oscar but I guess in the end it was way too dubious at the time to win it.

If "The French Connection" was released today, nobody would be interested in it. In the early seventies this was something totally unique, nowadays this is of course a huge classic that shaped the form of all the upcoming cop thrillers but nothing we haven't seen before. Actually that's the biggest problem of the modern cinema, we've seen it all - there's nothing new filmmakers can offer us.

If you have your doubts about this film you just have to be patient and wait a while. Gene Hackman is having one of the finest performances of his career as Popey Doyle but the film starts out like just a thriller among others. The second half of "The French Connection" reveals why this movie has earned its numerous awards and reputation as one of the greatest cop flicks of the 1970's. Over 30 years later those chase scenes are still pure dynamite.

24 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I Don't Get It........... craig-s-nelson72
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