Watch The French Connection
- 1 hr 44 min
The French Connection is a classic crime thriller film from 1971, directed by William Friedkin, and featuring a standout performance by Gene Hackman in the lead role. The movie is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Robin Moore and it tells the gritty and realistic story of two New York City detectives and their pursuit of a massive drug-smuggling ring. The movie opens with surveillance being conducted by the two detectives, Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman) and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo (Roy Scheider), as they stake out a bar in Brooklyn, waiting for a lead on a possible drug deal. This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie, which is full of tense moments and gripping action. The French Connection focuses primarily on the character of Popeye Doyle, a rough-around-the-edges cop who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring the bad guys to justice. He is depicted as a somewhat flawed hero who is willing to bend the rules to get results, even if it means putting his own life in danger. In contrast, his partner Russo is more level-headed and cautious, but also willing to push the boundaries when necessary. The plot follows the two detectives as they investigate a massive heroin-smuggling operation run by a wealthy French drug lord, Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey). Popeye and Russo's investigation leads them to a number of tense confrontations with Charnier's associates, and they must devise a plan to intercept a huge shipment of drugs that is due to arrive in the city. The standout scene in the movie is undoubtedly the infamous car chase, which is one of the most exciting and intense chase scenes ever put on film. Popeye commandeers a civilian car and chases the suspects across the city, dodging other cars and pedestrians in a heart-stopping sequence that went on to become one of the most iconic moments in movie history. Another notable aspect of The French Connection is its depiction of New York City in the 1970s. The movie showcases the gritty, urban landscape of the city, and presents a raw and unflinching look at the realities of life in the Big Apple at the time. The film's dedication to authenticity extends beyond the setting as well; Friedkin used real New York City locations and non-professional actors to add an extra level of realism to the movie. Despite being over 40 years old, The French Connection holds up remarkably well today. The film's tense pacing and gripping action keep the viewer on edge throughout, and the excellent performances by the three leads (Hackman, Scheider, and Rey) make the characters feel authentic and believable. With its realistic portrayal of police work and intense, pulse-pounding setpieces, The French Connection remains a classic of the genre that is well worth watching today.