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The French Connection (1971)

16+ | | Action, Crime, Drama | 9 October 1971 (USA)
Trailer
2:47 | Trailer
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:

A $32,000,000 chase turns into the American thriller of the year! See more »


Certificate:

16+ | 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:

Contacto en Francia 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

Ernest Tidyman only added the now-legendary car chase sequence to the screenplay when no studio in town would touch it. See more »

Goofs

When Cloudy visits Doyle at his apartment, and Doyle cannot answer the door, Cloudy uses the "credit card" method of unlocking the door, except that technique can only be used on a spring loaded door lock, not on the dead bolt lock above the door knob, he appears to unlock. 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 "special edition" of The French Connection features several scenes that never made the final cut of the movie. One of these scenes has actor Marcel Bozzuffi being whipped by a topless hooker in his New York City hotel room. The trivia here is that the hooker is played by actress Darby Lloyd Rains who, several years later, would become one of the earliest stars of the adult film industry in such releases as Naked Came the Stranger. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Playstation Underground Volume 1 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon
(1969) (uncredited)
Written by Jimmy Webb
Performed by The Three Degrees in the club
See more »

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 secondtakeSee 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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