French Connection

French Connection

3.8 8
Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider


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This gritty, fast-paced, and innovative police drama earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (written by Ernest Tidyman), and Best Actor (Gene Hackman). Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman) and his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) are New York City police detectives on narcotics detail, trying to track down the source of heroin from… See more details below

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This gritty, fast-paced, and innovative police drama earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (written by Ernest Tidyman), and Best Actor (Gene Hackman). Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman) and his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) are New York City police detectives on narcotics detail, trying to track down the source of heroin from Europe into the United States. Suave Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) is the French drug kingpin who provides a large percentage of New York City's dope, and Pierre Nicolli (Marcel Bozzuffi) is a hired killer and Charnier's right-hand man. Acting on a hunch, Popeye and Buddy start tailing Sal Boca (Tony LoBianco) and his wife Angie (Arlene Faber), who live pretty high for a couple whose corner store brings in about $7,000 a year. It turns out Popeye's suspicions are right -- Sal and Angie are the New York agents for Charnier, who will be smuggling $32 million worth of heroin into the city in a car shipped over from France. The French Connection broke plenty of new ground for screen thrillers; Popeye Doyle was a highly unusual "hero," an often violent, racist and mean-spirited cop whose dedication to his job fell just short of dangerous obsession. The film's high point, a high-speed car chase with Popeye tailing an elevated train, was one of the most viscerally exciting screen moments of its day and set the stage for dozens of action sequences to follow. And the film's grimy realism (and downbeat ending) was a big change from the buff-and-shine gloss and good-guys-always-win heroics of most police dramas that preceded it. The French Connection was inspired by a true story, and Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, Popeye and Buddy's real life counterparts, both have small roles in the film. A sequel followed four years later.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Five Academy Awards (including one for Best Picture) went to this critical and commercial smash from 1971-- a tense, action-packed melodrama whose gritty, uncompromising realism raised the bar for police dramas and continues to influence them even today. Based on the real-life attempts by NYPD detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso to bust an international heroin-smuggling ring, The French Connection highlighted dependable character actors Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as the top cops -- and its success made stars of them both. Hackman's Oscar-winning turn as Egan's fictional counterpart, the gruff and profane "Popeye" Doyle, remains one of the actor's most dynamic and best-remembered portrayals; his character's single-minded pursuit of French drug lord Fernando Rey still enthralls viewers. Doyle's crusade culminates in the film's unforgettable action set-piece -- a perilous car chase beneath one of New York's elevated trains that earned editor Jerry Greenberg a well-deserved Oscar for his split-second splicing. Director William Friedkin (The Exorcist), shooting on location, never lets his dedication to verisimilitude overshadow his storytelling sense, which is why The French Connection remains perhaps the most gripping urban cop thriller to date. The DVD sports scene-specific commentaries from Hackman and Scheider, and a full-length commentary from Friedkin; other extras include two documentaries (covering both the film's production and the real French Connection case), seven deleted scenes, trailers, and a photo gallery.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The French Connection became the blueprint for many action films that followed and, as such, is regarded among the most influential films of its era. Oscar winner Gene Hackman plays the prototype psycho cop, overly dedicated to results even when it means disregarding public safety and common sense. His partner (Roy Scheider) is the good cop counterpart, and they are constantly at war with each other, with the bad guys, or, more commonly, both. Unlike Lethal Weapon and other films it influenced, The French Connection has more street realism and a generally unhappy ending. The dialogue is intelligent, and the film features one of the most riveting automobile chase scenes of its era, rivaled only by the legendary stunt work in Vanishing Point. Overall, the film captured five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director (William Friedkin).

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Hackman Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle
Fernando Rey Alain Charnier
Roy Scheider Buddy Russo
Tony Lo Bianco Sal Boca
Marcel Bozzuffi Pierre Nicoli
Frederic de Pasquale Devereaux
Irving Abrahams Police Mechanic
Andre Emotte La Valle
Arlene Faber Angie Boca
Ben Marino Lou Boca
Patrick McDermott Chemist
Three Degrees Themselves
Eddie Egan Walter Simonson
Al Fann Informant
Randy Jurgensen Police Sergeant
William Coke Motorman
Maureen Mooney Bicycle Girl
Robert Weil Auctioneer
Bill Hickman Mulderig
Ann Rebbot Marie Charnier
Harold Gary Weinstock
Sonny Grosso Klein
Alan Weeks Drug Pusher
Don Ellis Conductor

Technical Credits
William Friedkin Director
Sass Bedig Special Effects
Irving Buchman Makeup
Phil D'Antoni Asst. Director,Producer
Terry Donnelly Asst. Director
Don Ellis Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Joseph Fretwell Costumes/Costume Designer
Ed Garzero Set Decoration/Design
William C. Gerrity Asst. Director
Jerry Greenberg Editor
Sonny Grosso Special Effects
Bill Hickman Stunts
Ben Kasazkow Art Director
Chris Newman Sound/Sound Designer
Owen Roizman Cinematographer
G. David Schine Executive Producer
Theodore Soderberg Sound/Sound Designer
Ernest Tidyman Screenwriter
Kenneth Utt Associate Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [:02]
2. A Death in Marseilles [:14]
3. A Bust in Brooklyn [:40]
4. The Frenchman [:34]
5. A Table Full of Suspects [2:02]
6. The Tall [3:50]
7. Alain's New Partner [:50]
8. Sal & Angie [1:28]
9. Popeye's Here [4:57]
10. The Shipment [1:38]
11. Devereaux in New York [4:17]
12. A Good Cop [2:27]
13. The Car Auction [1:02]
14. The Wiretap [1:44]
15. Following Boca [3:39]
16. Tailing the Frenchmen [3:22]
17. 89% Pure Junk [1:38]
18. Following Frog One [4:51]
19. A Meeting in Washington [1:37]
20. Off the Case [:58]
21. Sniper [3:27]
22. The Chase [2:03]
23. Face-to-Face [4:26]
24. The Brown Lincoln [3:04]
25. Tear it Apart [3:34]
26. 120 Pounds [:36]
27. No More Favors [3:01]
28. The Transaction [:52]
29. Surrounded [1:58]
30. Closing In [1:15]
31. The Last Shot [3:43]
32. Epilogue/End Titles [6:39]


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