7.9/10
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340 user 161 critic

The Conversation (1974)

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A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.
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3,521 ( 374)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Hackman ... Harry Caul
John Cazale ... Stan
Allen Garfield ... Bernie Moran
Frederic Forrest ... Mark
Cindy Williams ... Ann
Michael Higgins ... Paul
Elizabeth MacRae ... Meredith (as Elizabeth Mac Rae)
Teri Garr ... Amy
Harrison Ford ... Martin Stett
Mark Wheeler ... Receptionist
Robert Shields Robert Shields ... The Mime
Phoebe Alexander Phoebe Alexander ... Lurleen
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1974 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La conversación See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,420,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Digital (restored version)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a scene in the movie where the music only version of the song "I Have But One Heart" can be heard on the radio. That is the same song "Johnny Fontane" sings at the wedding in "The Godfather", another Francis Ford Coppola film. See more »

Goofs

When Caul (escorted by Martin Stett) boards the elevator following a meeting with The Director, Caul holds the door open in order to complete an exchange (with Stett). Yet in the last shot of that sequence, it's Stett who's holding the door. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in La tarea (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Sophisticated Lady
(1932)
Music by Duke Ellington
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Movie About Poor Communications Skills
22 January 2000 | by gbheronSee all my reviews

The Conversation is a stark look into the modern art of surveillance and its affect on one of its practitioners. Harry Caul (Hackman) is at the top of his business, but he's disturbed. Highly paranoiac, he is troubled by bad things that happened to some innocent people as a result of a prior surveillance job. Now he's afraid it's happening again....

The Conversation could not be more antithetical of the current movie making style. Stark, claustrophobic, unsexy, slow-paced, and with almost no soundtrack, it slowly builds to its dramatic noirish denouement.

A real treat, and as an added attraction the actors include a young Cindy Williams, Terri Garr, John Cazale, and Harrison Ford. Worth the rental unless anything outside of the MTV mould causes agitation.


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