The Conversation ()

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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.

  • Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

Harry Caul
Bernie Moran
Meredith (as Elizabeth Mac Rae)
Martin Stett
Robert Shields ...
The Mime
Phoebe Alexander ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Man at Party (uncredited)
Boy in Church (uncredited)
George Dusheck ...
TV Anchor (uncredited)
The Director (uncredited)
Richard Hackman ...
Confessional Priest / Security Guard (uncredited)
George Meyer ...
Salesman (uncredited)
Al Nalbandian ...
Salesman at Surveillance Convention (uncredited)
Ronald Kirk Stake ...
Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Erick Vinther ...
Businessman (uncredited)
Man in Yellow Hat (uncredited)

Directed by

Francis Ford Coppola

Written by

Francis Ford Coppola ... (written by)

Produced by

Francis Ford Coppola ... producer
Fred Roos ... co-producer
Mona Skager ... associate producer

Music by

David Shire

Cinematography by

Bill Butler ... director of photography
Haskell Wexler ... director of photography (uncredited)

Film Editing by

Richard Chew

Editorial Department

Walter Murch ... supervising editor
Julie Zale ... assistant editor
Pat Jackson ... assistant editor (uncredited)

Casting By

Jennifer Shull

Production Design by

Dean Tavoularis

Set Decoration by

Doug von Koss ... (as Doug Van Koss)

Costume Design by

Aggie Guerard Rodgers ... (costumer)

Production Management

Clark L. Paylow ... production manager (as Clark Paylow)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Charles Myers ... assistant director (as Chuck Myers)
Paul J. Crossey ... dga trainee (uncredited)

Art Department

Ted Moehnke ... property master

Sound Department

Nathan Boxer ... production recording (as Nat Boxer)
Michael Evje ... production recording (as Mike Evje)
Pete Horner ... stereo re-mix team: American Zoetrope
Walter Murch ... re-recording / sound montage
Art Rochester ... production recording
Howard Beals ... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Pete Horner ... sound editor: American Zoetrope (uncredited)
Walter Murch ... sound editor (uncredited)


Buddy Joe Hooker ... stunts (uncredited)

Camera and Electrical Department

Joe Dunnigan ... gaffer
Doug Finn ... gaffer
Ralph Gerling ... camera operator
James Glennon ... assistant cameraman (as Jim Glennon)
Thomas Laughridge ... camera operator
Keith Mason ... key grip
Gary Armstrong ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Robert Edesa ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Brian Hamill ... still photographer: special assignment (uncredited)
George Michael Pantages ... gaffer (uncredited)
Ronald Vidor ... first assistant camera (uncredited)

Location Management

Alex Tavoularis ... location coordinator

Music Department

Justin Gordon ... musician: saxophone for Gene Hackman (uncredited)

Other crew

Jim Bloom ... administrative assistant
Randy Carter ... administrative assistant
Wayne Fitzgerald ... title
Nancy Hopton ... script supervisor (as Nancy Tonery)
Mona Houghton ... administrative assistant
Leo Jones ... technical advisor
Hal Lipset ... technical advisor
Pat Smith ... production secretary
Lawrence Bridges ... production assistant (uncredited)
Martin Kaiser ... technical advisor (uncredited)
Joe Roth ... production assistant (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies

  • Intrada (score album released by) (limited edition)


Plot Summary

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 and photographs of the couple directly to him alone in return for payment. Based on circumstances with the director's assistant, Martin Stett, and what Harry ultimately hears on the recording, Harry believes that the lives of the young couple are in jeopardy. Harry used to be detached from what he recorded, but is now concerned ever since the deaths of three people that were the direct result of a previous audio recording he made for another job. Harry not only has to decide if he will turn the recording over to the director, but also if he will try and save the couple's lives using information from the recording. As Harry goes on a quest to find out what exactly is happening on this case, he finds himself in the middle of his worst nightmare. Written by Huggo

Plot Keywords
Taglines Harry Caul will go anywhere to bug a private conversation. See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Conversation secrète (France)
  • Der Dialog (Germany)
  • La conversación (Spain)
  • Aflytningen (Denmark)
  • Pokalbis (Lithuania)
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  • 113 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Box Office

Budget $1,600,000 (estimated)

Did You Know?

Trivia Gene Hackman played a former N.S.A. Agent who is a surveillance expert in Enemy of the State (1998), and the images of his character in his younger days are taken directly from this film. Hackman's characters are so similar in both movies, fans have theorized that they may be the same person, but there is no evidence of this provided by the makers of either 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 »
Movie Connections Featured in McLean Stevenson/Gene Hackman/George Carlin/Gloria DeHaven (1974). See more »
Soundtracks Sophisticated Lady See more »
Quotes [repeated line from the recording]
Mark: He'd kill us if he got the chance.
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