14 user 28 critic

The Connection (1961)

Not Rated | | Drama | 11 December 1996 (France)
A director tries to film a group of junkies in Leach's room while they are waiting for Cowboy to bring their heroin connection.


Shirley Clarke


Jack Gelber (play), Jack Gelber (screenplay)




Credited cast:
Warren Finnerty ... Leach
Jerome Raphael Jerome Raphael ... Solly
Garry Goodrow Garry Goodrow ... Ernie
Jim Anderson Jim Anderson ... Sam
Carl Lee Carl Lee ... Cowboy
Barbara Winchester Barbara Winchester ... Sister Salvation
Henry Proach Henry Proach ... Harry
Roscoe Lee Browne ... J. J. Burden (as Roscoe Browne)
William Redfield ... Jim Dunn
Freddie Redd Freddie Redd ... Piano Player
Jackie McLean ... Sax player
Larry Richie Larry Richie ... Drummer
Michael Mattos Michael Mattos ... Bass player
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Veras ... Siren


Eight drug addicts are waiting for their connection in a New York apartment belonging to Leach. Jim Dunn, a budding filmmaker, has agreed to pay for the fix if the addicts will allow him to film the connection scene. After the men get their shots, they talk Dunn into trying heroin in order to understand the subject "first hand." He becomes ill and while sleeping, Leach takes an overdose that puts him into a coma. Dunn recovers, with the aid of the connection, and writes off the film as a failure. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Decade's Most Controversial Play Becomes the Century's Most Controversial Film See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film was exhibited out of competition at Cannes in 1961. See more »


Cowboy: Man, I believe anything that's illegal is illegal because it makes more money for more people that way.
See more »


Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Martin Scorsese (2002) See more »

User Reviews

Bizarre and Tedious
16 April 2019 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"The Connection" gets some points for pushing the envelope for its time, but my goodness what a tedious movie it is.

The end credits reveal that the film was based on a play, which did not surprise me in the least. It's set in one room and follows a bunch of junkies while they're waiting for their dealer to arrive so they can get their next fix. There's a movie director and his cameraman in the room filming the whole thing, so the film we are watching is really the film within the film. Each character gets a moment to monologue about something, but everything is delivered in the same sweaty, rambling style so that it all blends together and no one character is really distinct from another. Meanwhile, a few of the guys improvise jazz in the background for nearly the entire length of the film, which becomes insanely irritating about mid-way through. I think the idea is that it's all supposed to be so cinema verite that we aren't sure what's real and what's not, but the dialogue sounds so scripted, and the acting is so unbelievable, that we never for a moment are fooled into thinking this is anything but fiction.

Grade: D

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

11 December 1996 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Connection See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$167,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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