Bleak and mysterious, Francis Ford Coppola's taut masterpiece about responsibility, privacy, alienation, and paranoia is part Hitchcockian thriller, part grim character study. Hackman plays Harry Caul, a guarded wreck of a human being whose profession as the world's greatest surveillance expert has detached him from everyday reality. Though a topnotch voyeur, amorally earning his living by bugging other people's conversations and selling the tapes to clients, Caul keeps his own life fiercely private. He has no friends, just associates in the wiretapping business, all of whom he distrusts; his love life consists of apathetic sex with what could be any woman; his apartment contains three locks but few possessions. His indifference to life extends to his attitude about his job: though he's a wiretapping genius, he accepts no responsibility for what harm his work might produce--it's merely work... until now.
While on his latest assignment, Caul breaks his own code and becomes immersed in the latest conversation he's taped. While piecing together fragments of a lunchtime conversation (Coppola dazzles us with his repeated fetish for technology here), something stirs Caul and he begins projecting his own misery onto the discussion. He finally discerns that some evil plot may occur because of his work and is forced into the moral dilemma of whether to turn in the tapes.
Ultimately, Coppola's cynical, complex script doesn't just condemn Caul for his foolish discovery of his own conscience; it shatters him into a million pieces, during an unforgettable final image. Allusions to Watergate are impossible to ignore, and the movie is still one of the most devastating, important films in '70s American cinema. --Dave McCoy
Encore une fois j'ai choisi un mauvais film, cet acteur qui produit d'excellent film , celui là était son plus pire je n'ai pas aimer ce film. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2011 by Roger Brideau
Ok it's art right and as such it has many technical merits. Gene Hackman is good and the plot has twists and turns and does keep you wanting to find out all the way to the end. Read morePublished on June 23 2009 by Neil Olsen
A Cannes' winner among other virtues, this film is like the fourth symphony of Beethoven: a princess between two power muscle men. Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
In between Godfather films, Francis Ford Coppola made this masterpiece. There are many actors that would go on to bigger and better things. Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by smoothjazzandmore
Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" will not be confused with any of his "Godfather" films. This film is not epic in scope. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2004 by Steven Y.
Harry Caul is a geek.
Harry Caul goes insane because he has no connection with humanity.
Coppola and Hackman compel you to watch his disintegration. Read more
I echo other comments that this is perhaps Coppola's best film in its characterization, simmering plot development, and pace, all carefully crafted to offer a unique vision of the... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2003 by halda
You have seen "Who-Dun-Its." This is more like a riveting "Who-Will-Do-It."
What a passionate movie about a surveillance man, who by profession records conversations for... Read more
I agree with the reviewer from Maryland. The movie was confusing, lacked suspense, and got very irritating. Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2003 by Nick Bobraton