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The French Connection (1971)

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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)
3,543 ( 48)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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)
Sonny Grosso ...
Benny Marino ...
Lou Boca
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


In the great tradition of American thrillers See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doyle  »

Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Even though there isn't a note of music during the spectacular car chase, William Friedkin cut that sequence to the tempo of Carlos Santana's "Black Magic Woman" See more »


As Henri and his associate are waiting for the Lincoln at the garage, the police are literally tearing the car apart before finding the drugs. Shortly after finding the drugs, Henri is told his car is ready. It would have taken days to put the Lincoln back together and it would not be plausible for the police to find an exact duplicate of the car and replace the drugs in such short time. 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 »

Crazy Credits

The 20th-Century Fox logo fades in black and white, dissolves to color, then seamlessly widens from the old square aspect ratio to modern standard film ratio. See more »


Referenced in Castle: Under the Influence (2013) See more »


Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon
(1969) (uncredited)
Written by Jimmy Webb
Performed by The Three Degrees in the club
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The first of many to come!
6 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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!

35 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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