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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the book by)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Frédéric de Pasquale ...
Devereaux (as Frederic De Pasquale)
...
Ann Rebbot ...
Marie Charnier
Harold Gary ...
Weinstock
Arlene Farber ...
Angie Boca
Eddie Egan ...
André Ernotte ...
La Valle (as Andre Ernotte)
Sonny Grosso ...
Klein
Benny Marino ...
Lou Boca
...
Chemist (as Pat McDermott)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A $32,000,000 chase turns into the American thriller of the year! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doyle  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Popeye Doyle creeps alongside the building below the sniper his gun can be seen jumping hands between shots. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in American Gangster (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Sung by Gene Hackman and the kids
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the 1970s best crime movies, and yes, that means one of the best ever.
15 June 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'The French Connection' has really stood the test of time. William Friedkin is one American director who has almost been forgotten about, despite making some excellent movies like 'The Birthday Party', 'The Exorcist' and 'Cruising'. 'The French Connection' is his best movie by far, and one of the 1970s best crime movies, which means it's one of the best EVER. The lead actors are first rate, and the script by Ernest Tidyman ('Shaft') is a good one, but Friedkin makes this something special by applying documentary film techniques to this gritty and realistic detective story. 'The French Connection' was groundbreaking in this respect and influenced just about every subsequent cop movie, all the way up to contemporary TV shows like 'NYPD Blue' and the like. Gene Hackman is just terrific as Popeye Doyle. Hackman had been around for about ten years, and impressed many with his supporting role in 'Bonnie And Clyde', but this movie made him a major star. Along with 'The Conversation' and 'Scarecrow' it's still one of his most impressive performances. Roy Scheider was almost a complete unknown prior to this but he's also very good as Popeye's partner Buddy Russo. Scheider went on to some fine work in movies such as 'Jaws', 'Marathon Man', 'Last Embrace', '52 Pick-Up' and 'Naked Lunch', but never quite became the big name star that Hackman did. Bunuel regular Fernando Rey (cast by mistake after a misunderstanding, Friedkin thinking he was hiring a different actor!) and the underrated character actor Tony Lo Bianco, who had recently appeared in the cult classic 'The Honeymoon Killers', lead a fine supporting cast who really add to the movie's success. The exciting car chase sequence in this movie is now legendary, and is arguably the best one ever filmed, but there is so much more to this film than just that. 'The French Connection' is a superb movie, and still better than just about any similar Hollywood crime thriller made in the last few years. Highly recommended!


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