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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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(screenplay by), (based on the book by)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jimmy Doyle
... Alain Charnier
... Buddy Russo
... Sal Boca
... Pierre Nicoli
Frédéric de Pasquale ... Devereaux (as Frederic De Pasquale)
... Mulderig
Ann Rebbot ... Marie Charnier
Harold Gary ... Weinstock
Arlene Farber ... Angie Boca
... Simonson
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:

There are no rules and no holds barred when Popeye cuts loose! 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  »

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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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|

Color:

(DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to director William Friedkin, Peter Boyle was originally offered the role of "Popeye" Doyle but turned it down due to his preference for more romantic roles. Legendary New York City newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin was then hired to play "Popeye" Doyle, and completed three weeks of rehearsals with co-star Roy Scheider before Friedkin decided to recast the role. Breslin's inability to drive was one of the main reasons for his dismissal. 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 in black and white and then dissolves to color. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drive (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Again
(uncredited)
Music by Lionel Newman
[Played on piano at the restaurant where Charnier and Nicoli dine]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Dirty, real, harsh--cops after big drug dealers in New York, 1971.
3 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

The French Connection (1971)

Director William Friedkin would make it impossible to see his career straight two years after "The French Connection" by directing "The Exorcist," which took on a life of its own. But prior to that, this was the movie that defined his career. It was the New Hollywood answer to film noir, and the lead male (Gene Hackman) is presented without glamour, the gritty city (New York) without dramatic shadows and light, and the plot (about modern drug dealing) without hyped up dramatics. This is a movie as down in the mouth as the world it represents, and it's all deliberate, and smart.

This is the stuff of a breakthrough movie. It isn't quite as gripping now, I think, but it still sucks you in. There are lots of scenes in cars, including the famous car chase, and lots of good old street stuff in Manhattan, very 1970 (when it was shot). The plot and pace of things is more steady than exciting, usually, not cinema verite but a kind of camera work that is unglamorous with the idea that this really is the way it is, and it works great. It would have been easy to push this farther and make it truly boring, but it doesn't go there. Instead we see the details of a couple of cops out to break a huge dope ring.

Most of the movie (I'm going to guess three quarters) is simply the cops trailing the bad guys, on foot or by car. There are very brief interspersed personal dramas, and there are conversations that keep the plot clear, but the overall big vector here is one direction, and the cops get closer in spurts and jerks to their prey. The velocity does increase gradually in the second half, with a kind of brilliant building to a finale, and by the end it's a thrilling climax.

In a way, this kind of film is the exact opposite of something like "Die Hard," which is all exaggeration and excess. And if those other kinds of movies are more fun, this is not only edgy, it's pertinent. And the music is by jazz great Don Ellis. Look for a scene with the World Trade Center towers under construction in the distance.

Check this film out. A special movie that actually reveals something about police life, hard core, no glitz.


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