A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
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>
William Friedkin was able to make the movie because Fox's chairman, Darryl F. Zanuck, off-handedly said he had $2 million on hand and would OK a production start if Friedkin and his production team could make the movie for that much. Zanuck also warned Friedkin that if done badly, he'd end up with another episode of the TV series Naked City (1958). Friedkin said later that this inspired him to make the Popeye Doyle character a combination of good and evil, because that duality was not something one saw on "Naked City". The director also credited the film Z (1969) with introducing a near-documentary quality that he applied to own his fictional project. See more »
In one of the chases on foot, Popeye removes his coat and hat. The next shot shows him coming down some stairs with his coat and hat on. See more »
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.
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