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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.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

Ernest Tidyman (screenplay by), Robin Moore (based on the book by)
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Popularity
3,221 ( 563)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Jimmy Doyle
Fernando Rey ... Alain Charnier
Roy Scheider ... Buddy Russo
Tony Lo Bianco ... Sal Boca
Marcel Bozzuffi ... Pierre Nicoli
Frédéric de Pasquale Frédéric de Pasquale ... Devereaux (as Frederic De Pasquale)
Bill Hickman ... Mulderig
Ann Rebbot Ann Rebbot ... Marie Charnier
Harold Gary Harold Gary ... Weinstock
Arlene Farber Arlene Farber ... Angie Boca
Eddie Egan ... Simonson
André Ernotte André Ernotte ... La Valle (as Andre Ernotte)
Sonny Grosso Sonny Grosso ... Klein
Benny Marino Benny Marino ... Lou Boca
Patrick McDermott ... 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:

In the great tradition of American thrillers See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

9 October 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Doyle See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$51,700,000, 31 December 1973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The most famous shot of the chase is made from a front bumper mount and shows a low-angle point of view shot of the streets racing by. Director of photography Owen Roizman, wrote in American Cinematographer magazine in 1972 that the camera was undercranked to 18 frames per second to enhance the sense of speed. Roizman's contention is borne out when you see a car at a red light whose muffler is pumping smoke at an accelerated rate. Other shots involved stunt drivers who were supposed to barely miss hitting the speeding car, but due to errors in timing accidental collisions occurred and were left in the final film. See more »

Goofs

At the end, when Doyle enters the derelict building, his hat is on and off his head 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 in black and white and then dissolves to color. See more »

Alternate Versions

A Dolby Digital 5.1 surround remix was created for the 2001 2-disc Special Edition DVD from Fox Home Entertainment. Aside from creating stereo effects from the original mono elements, all the gunshots were replaced with more contemporary sound effects. See more »

Connections

Featured in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Again
(uncredited)
Music by Lionel Newman
[Played on piano at the restaurant where Charnier and Nicoli dine]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the 1970s best crime movies, and yes, that means one of the best ever.
15 June 2003 | by InfofreakSee 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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