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>
According to William Friedkin on his DVD commentary, the scene where Weinstock's chemist tests the heroin's purity uses actual heroin, and not flour or cornstarch or some other commonly used substitute. See more »
When Popeye and Cloudy are beginning to stake out the Lincoln, there is a shot of Cloudy looking back through the back window of their car. In the next shot, he is in the same place, but he now has a cigarette in his mouth. See more »
In most movies, the good guys are portrayed as models for others, examples for a better life. The bad guys, on the other hand, are usually dirty rat scums. What a refreshing surprise to see that The French Connection has the roles loosely interchanged. Set against the backdrop of bleak New York City streets, ill-tempered narcotics detective 'Popeye' Doyle and his partner 'Cloudy' Russo intercept a drug shipment coming in from France led by urbane master criminal Alan Charnier. The two cops, however, have a hard time capturing the drug lord as he outwits them throughout the city. Popeye and Charnier make an interesting contrast. Popeye is portrayed as an obsessive, racist drunk while Charnier is the mellow, European sophisticate. This is, of course, an action thriller and the sequences are gritty, tense, and heart-pounding. It features one of the best car chase scenes ever filmed. What makes it so effective is the fact that it was shot in real-time, heavy traffic and we vicariously experience moment-by-moment. The acting is strong and believable. Gene Hackman's portrayal is exact and deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar. William Friedkin did a superior job in giving us a diverting and realistic look of cop life and the raw work they undergo to clear the streets of illicit activity. Great action thriller!
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