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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 76,208 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) »


There are no rules and no holds barred when Popeye cuts loose! 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?


William Friedkin has said the chase scene wasn't fully scripted, but largely conceived while they were doing location scouting. It was almost completely improvised and shot entirely out of sequence, over a period of five weeks. It did not involve solid day-to-day shooting, and all of the shooting was confined between the hours of 10am- 3pm. One reason was that they were given permission to use only one particular Brooklyn line, the Stillwell Avenue, running from Coney Island into Manhattan (the West End line). The entire chase was shot with an Arriflex camera, as was most of the picture. One brief shot, where Doyle's car slams into the fence, was filmed in Ridgewood under the Myrtle Ave., or M, line. See more »


When Doyle and Russo arrive at the scene of an accident with their Supervisor and Federal Agent, they attempt to persuade their supervisor to keep them on the case. A shot of a deceased woman is shown when she is taken out of the wreckage prior to Doyle's and Russo's arrival and the exact same shot is re-played after they arrive on scene. 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 »


References The Priest's Wife (1970) 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

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User Reviews

Amazing Masterpiece From the 1970s
15 September 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The French Connection" is an excellent film in every way imaginable. Gene Hackman (Oscar-winning) stars as a tough New York cop who is obsessed with stopping the flow of heroin into the city from France. Fernando Rey is perfect as the ring-leader of the smuggling. Tough, gritty, and realistic, "The French Connection" is an intense character-study that is never short on suspense or action. The film won five Oscars in 1971, including the Best Picture Oscar and one for William Friedkin's (only 32 at the time) intense direction. In a year that produced "The Last Picture Show" and "A Clockwork Orange", this film's win makes it even more impressive than it was nearly 30 years ago. Excellent. 5 stars out of 5.

44 of 65 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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