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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


Men Held Captive By the Power Of Drugs See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Star Carl Lee and director Shirley Clarke were in a long term romantic relationship. See more »


Leach: A mean world, huh?
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User Reviews

The Horseman Cometh
17 October 2020 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

Avant garde filmmaker Shirley Clarke's first feature length depicts eight inner city heroin addicts waiting for dealer "Cowboy" to deliver the goods. Filming and underwriting the moment JJ Dunn (Clarke alter ego?) bargains with the junkies to do his bidding as he creates his fictionalized reality but is undermined by his cameraman and cajoled by the participents into a taste.

Based a play by Jack Gelber, Clarke retains the jazz band to drape the nod in background music and perpetuate the stereotype to keep things percolating among the assembled degenerates as well as director Dunn who is funding the entire project including the heroin. All the participants have to offer though are tales of self pity and resentment with an occasional grimy "profoundity" to spit out over a near two hour running time. Clarke to her credit makes no attempt to soften this self destructive lot but the viewer being asked to remain in the same room over those two hours with this crowd is one trying and annoying experience. Controversial in its day, The Connection has not aged well. The shock of topic and depiction then has become a shrug today.

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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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