The Conversation

Watch The Conversation

"Harry Caul is an invader of privacy. The best in the business. He can record any conversation between two people anywhere. So far, three people are dead because of him."
  • PG
  • 1974
  • 1 hr 53 min
  • 7.7  (120,377)
  • 87

The Conversation is a psychological thriller film from 1974 that stars veteran actor Gene Hackman as the protagonist. The movie unfolds around a surveillance expert, Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), who is employed by a corporation to eavesdrop and record a conversation held between two individuals, Mark (Frederic Forrest) and Ann (Cindy Williams), in Union Square in San Francisco. Harry Caul is a skilful wiretapper who takes pride in his profession and has a reputation for being the best in his field. He is highly meticulous and cautious about his work, which is why he prefers to work alone and has virtually no social life.

The story starts as Harry sets up an intricate system of microphones, bugs, and recording devices to capture the conversation while keeping himself hidden out of view. Once he concludes his work and takes the tapes back to his laboratory, he listens to them and starts to decipher the conversation. Gradually, it becomes apparent to him that the conversation may have political and ethical implications that could put the lives of Mark and Ann at risk. Harry grows increasingly anxious and suspicious, and he becomes convinced that there is a malevolent purpose behind the conversation.

As the conversation haunts Harry's mind, he starts to isolate himself further from the world and those around him. He becomes increasingly paranoid and begins to suspect that he is being spied on and that his privacy is compromised. Additionally, he struggles to maintain his identity and morality since his project violates ethical and legal boundaries, and he grapples with his conscience.

The story itself keeps the audience guessing about the nature of the conversation and the motivations behind the individuals who had it. As Harry attempts to connect the dots and uncover the truth, he begins to unravel, both mentally and emotionally, and the film builds tension as the stakes increase. The audience is invited to participate in Harry's journey, and as he discovers more about the conversation, we are drawn deeper into the mystery of what is happening.

The Conversation builds its suspense through sound design, with the eavesdropping and surveillance aspect of the story a central theme throughout the movie. The sound design creates a sense of claustrophobia, being confined and trapped in Harry's world. The city sounds envelop the moviegoer, but as the suspense grows, the noise becomes more muted, drawing us closer to Harry's perspective. Furthermore, moments of silence are used for dramatic effect, highlighting the importance of what is being said or not being said.

The acting in the film is superb, with Gene Hackman delivering a remarkable performance as the troubled protagonist. He imbues Harry with an unease and moral complexity that keeps the audience invested in the story. The supporting cast also helps to flesh out the characters and keep the mystery alive.

The Conversation is a taut, tense thriller that masterfully combines an intricate and suspenseful story with excellent acting and sound design. The film's themes of privacy, surveillance, and morality are just as relevant today as they were when the movie was released in 1974. The film brilliantly showcases the filmmakers' skill in maintaining suspense and the actor's ability to create a memorable and nuanced performance.

In conclusion, The Conversation is a classic of the thriller genre and a film that showcases a masterful blend of acting and sound design. The movie keeps the audience engaged in Harry's journey and builds tension throughout, making the audience question what is happening and keeping us on the edge of our seats.

The Conversation is a 1974 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 53 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 87.

The Conversation
Where to Watch The Conversation
The Conversation is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at The Roku Channel, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Conversation for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 53 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (120,377)
  • Metascore