The French Connection (1971) 4.79/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 93.1
Genre: Crime
Duration: 104 mins
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

The ultimate cop thriller sees hard-boiled detectives Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Cloudy Russo (Roy Scheider) take on a deviously clever French drug dealer (Fernando Rey) as he attempts to smuggle “Grade A, junk of the month” into New York. As gritty as it is savage, this film pulls no punches as it offers us a glimpse into the obsessed mind like few other films have. Friedkin cleverly draws us into this dark world by familiarising us with the lead characters and their idiosyncratic relationships early on. From then on, it’s just the small matter of great dialogue, seminal acting, and startingly insightful direction that keep us glued to the screen. The French Connection seems to capture the essence of real New York like few other movies as William Friedkin chose the type of run down locations we had rarely seen in movies up until that point. The car chase has become the stuff of legend and as much as the end result was due to Jerry Greenberg’s editing and the death-defying stunt driving, it was also down to Hackman and Friedkin’s tight-knit understanding as to what Doyle’s face needed to show during the pursuit. Don Ellis’ minimalist score deserves a mention too as it remains one of the decade’s most effective. Just don’t get caught pickin your feet!

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