Up 90 this week

The Conversation (1974)

PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  June 1974 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 70,403 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 310 user | 145 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.

0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
Congorama (2006)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An eccentric Belgian inventor travels to Québec to search for his family, which uncovers a secret history between two seemingly unrelated people.

Director: Philippe Falardeau
Stars: Olivier Gourmet, Paul Ahmarani, Jean-Pierre Cassel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After the death of his mother, a man tries to discover a meaning to his life, to the universe and to rebuild a relationship with the only family he has left: his brother.

Director: Robert Lepage
Stars: Robert Lepage, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Marco Poulin
Blood Wedding (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, Juan Antonio Jiménez
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Five unmarried sisters make the most of their simple existence in rural Ireland in the 1930s.

Director: Pat O'Connor
Stars: Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Gerard McSorley
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young journalist (Lespert) helps the French President compile his memoirs.

Director: Robert Guédiguian
Stars: Michel Bouquet, Jalil Lespert, Philippe Fretun
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien
Mon amie Max (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Catherine, a concert pianist, is surprised one night by the arrival of her best friend from childhood, Marie-Alexandrine (Max), whom she hasn't seen for 25 years. Catherine and Max were ... See full summary »

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Marthe Keller, Johanne McKay
Trotta (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Stars: András Bálint, Rosemarie Fendel, Doris Kunstmann
Codine (1963)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An ex-convict struggles to survive by brute force alone in a turn-of-the-century slum in Braila. Codine (Alexandre Virgil Platon) is the thug who served 10 years for murdering a friend. He ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Colpi
Stars: Alexandru Virgil Platon, Razvan Petrescu, Françoise Brion


Complete credited cast:
Bernie Moran
Michael Higgins ...
Meredith (as Elizabeth Mac Rae)
Robert Shields ...
The Mime
Phoebe Alexander ...


Harry Caul is a devout Catholic and a lover of jazz music who plays his saxophone while listening to his jazz records. He is a San Francisco-based electronic surveillance expert who owns and operates his own small surveillance business. He is renowned within the profession as being the best, one who designs and constructs his own surveillance equipment. He is an intensely private and solitary man in both his personal and professional life, which especially irks Stan, his business associate who often feels shut out of what is happening with their work. This privacy, which includes not letting anyone into his apartment and always telephoning his clients from pay phones is, in part, intended to control what happens around him. His and Stan's latest job (a difficult one) is to record the private discussion of a young couple meeting in crowded and noisy Union Square. The arrangement with his client, known only to him as "the director", is to provide the audio recording of the discussion ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Harry Caul will go anywhere to bug a private conversation. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

June 1974 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La conversación  »

Box Office


$1,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (restored version)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gene Hackman learned to play the saxophone especially for the film. See more »


At the party in Caul's workshop, Stan describes the targets of a job only as "two people". At that time, Caul was at the far side of the shop, leafing through photos of them, many yards away - and obscured by fellow attendees and equipment - from a woman in the group who later asks, "What did they do...the boy and the girl?" Even had she been able to see the photos, there was no way she could have connected them with the subjects, no way she could have known their gender nor age. (She may however, knew about the job and merely slipped her tongue.) See more »


[first lines]
Passerby: Well, I want to go over to my place and start, you know, getting it on...
Ann: Oh, that's terrible.
Mark: Yeah. Do you ever, uh... ballet?
Ann: Be thankful. Do you have a quarter for them?
Mark: Yes, I do.
Ann: [gives it to street band]
Ann: What about me?
Mark: You'll see.
Ann: A lot of fun you are. You're supposed to tease me, give hints, make me guess, you know.
See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' (2001) See more »


I Remember You
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the 1970s best!
12 March 2002 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'The Conversation' sadly doesn't get mentioned as much as Coppola's other (more flamboyant) seventies movies ('The Godfather' parts one and two, 'Apocalypse Now'), even though it as good as, if not better than the aforementioned. In fact if someone argued that this was his greatest achievement as a director, I would be hard pressed to disagree.

'The Conversation' bears many similarities to Antonioni's 'Blowup', another superb movie that requires multiple viewings to really appreciate. Both movies are very much of their time, and therefore 'The Conversation' is fuelled by the keywords of the decade it was made in - paranoia and deceit. The other main difference between the two movies it that 'The Conversation' is not only a head trip but also a taut and suspenseful thriller. Post Simpson/Bruckheimer audiences may not have the attention spans to appreciate it, but that is their failing, not this movie's.

Gene Hackman gives one of the finest performances of his career here as the complex and troubled surveillance expert Harry Caul, one that is possibly rivaled only by his too little seen gem 'Scarecrow'. And the supporting cast is first rate, and includes the late John Cazale, a favourite of Coppola's, Harrison Ford, Frederick Forrest, Cindy Williams, Teri Garr, and (an uncredited) Robert Duvall. Last but not least a superb turn from the underrated Allen Garfield, an actor who has appeared in many odd movies, from 'Get To Know Your Rabbit' to 'Destiny Turns On The Radio'. He is dynamite here, in a role originally intended for the legendary Timothy Carey, as a pushy rival bugging expert.

'The Conversation' is hypnotic, multi-layered and haunting. See it whatever you do.

147 of 179 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I KNOW where the tap is! Can't believe nobody figured this out! BartSamson
All Coppola films are boring... steven-e-carrier
'The Conversation' as a study in guilt, not paranoia rexamillion
where the tap really is yrag-3
Blood welling out of the toilet... jeffreyholmes
Harrison Ford's performance brontlanders
Discuss The Conversation (1974) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: