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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars look behind you!
I own both the DVD special edition and BLU-RAY special edition of this classic film..it is true that the transfer in close-ups and medium shots don't differ from the DVD transfer but the backgrounds have more detail also a greater depth of field than dvd...way more detail and in many occassion this is where you notice a difference.
If you don't have a special edition...
Published on May 17 2010 by Peter Andronas

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, terrible Blu-Ray transfer
One of the coolest of the 'Best Picture' winners comes to Blu-Ray....and unfortunately it's one of the worst looking Blu-Ray releases I own, if not THE worst. Apparently William Friedkin intentionally added a ton of grain to the transfer thinking it would be fitting for the style of the movie. While a little grain would have been a nice touch, he went waaaaaay overboard...
Published on March 9 2009 by Nathan Poitras


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, terrible Blu-Ray transfer, March 9 2009
By 
Nathan Poitras (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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One of the coolest of the 'Best Picture' winners comes to Blu-Ray....and unfortunately it's one of the worst looking Blu-Ray releases I own, if not THE worst. Apparently William Friedkin intentionally added a ton of grain to the transfer thinking it would be fitting for the style of the movie. While a little grain would have been a nice touch, he went waaaaaay overboard here, and honestly it's more than a little distracting at times. Some scenes look fairly nice, but overall this is very bad looking disc and a real injustice to a great film. You might want to wait for future, more acceptable BRD release and hold onto that DVD a little while longer.

Movie - *****
Video - **
Audio - ***1/2
extras - ***1/2
Overall - **
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars look behind you!, May 17 2010
By 
Peter Andronas "Petros" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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I own both the DVD special edition and BLU-RAY special edition of this classic film..it is true that the transfer in close-ups and medium shots don't differ from the DVD transfer but the backgrounds have more detail also a greater depth of field than dvd...way more detail and in many occassion this is where you notice a difference.
If you don't have a special edition of this film, it's worth the purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, June 10 2004
By 
Rocco Dormarunno (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
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After two decades of watching squeaky clean LAPD Sergeant Joe Friday on "Dragnet", and decades of Chicago's favorite fed, Elliot Ness on "The Untouchables", and then the innocent buffoons of the NYPD on "Car 54 Where Are You?", it was little wonder that people of the t.v. era were shocked by this movie's unflinching look at New York's lawmen. THE FRENCH CONNECTION, if not for anything else, will be remembered as the film that ultimately de-romanticized the noble cop legend. Popeye Doyle (marvelouly portrayed by Gene Hackman) is the anti-cop. He is not a crooked cop by any means. However, he's bigoted, amoral, prone to violence, self-possessed, and oblivious to the rules of police conduct. Norman Mailer once said of bad cops that they are sworn to uphold the law but feel they are above it; that they are supposed to keep the peace, but are inherently violent. That's Popeye Doyle.
The plotline of the film is fairly simple: the police receive information about a major drug operation about to go down, and they try to prevent it and arrest everyone involved. But Director Friedkin infuses the film with the complexities and dreariness inherent in pursuing such a case. I developed an appreciation of the hours of stake-out drudgery that the police go through. And then, of course, there's the danger every policeman confronts.
There's something for everyone in this film, including the greatest car chase in movies (even if the car is chasing an elevated train). Note: the elevated tracks that Gene Hackman drives under are the same tracks that appeared in the opening credits of "Welcome Back, Kotter" and, more importantly, they are the same tracks that John Travolta saunters under in the open scene of "Saturday Night Fever". If you're interested, those are the elevated tracks of the West End line (now the "D" train) on 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the 4th time viewing got even better experience, July 2 2004
By 
justareader (yorba linda, ca United States) - See all my reviews
simply fantastic! the 2nd dvd got lot of significant details about this great movie making. the quality of the dvds are so crispily sharp. very very good viewing experience. gene hackman admitted it set off his career and confessed the difficulties to bring himself into playing the popei role. by viewing his performance only proved that he's one of the greatest modern time actors. think back....almost all of his movies roles were great, no matter how lousy the movies themself was. gene hackman is a national treasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spinach or Omelets?, Sept. 12 2003
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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To a significant extent, this film is based on a real-world situation in which hundreds of law enforcement officials worked for many months to locate and eliminate the connection between the source of heroin in France and its underworld contacts in the United States. As examined in Robin Moore's book, 112 pounds of heroin (with a then street value of about $90-million) were scheduled to arrived in the United States. Narcotics detectives Eddie ("Popeye") Egan and Sonny Grosso completed a lengthy investigation to learn who, when, where, how, etc. In the film, Hackman plays re-named Jimmy ("Popeye") Doyle and Roy Scheider plays his re-named partner Buddy Russo. (Both Eddie Eagan and Sonny Grosso have small parts in the film.) Other variations from the book are relatively insignificant. The situation remains essentially the same. The film carefully follows the extended and tedious period of surveillance which reveals the NYC source; preparations are then completed in anticipation of the shipment's arrival; finally, the connection is consummated and....
Under William Friedkin's brilliant direction (which resulted in an Academy Award for him), this film weaves several separate but related plot threads, both within and beyond the United States, which involve criminal activities in meticulous coordination with efforts by law enforcement officials to respond to them. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of elegance and luxury in affluent (albeit criminal) society with the squalor and decay of the world within which the heroin will ultimately be distributed. I was also fascinated by the style and temperament of Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) who supervises the shipment in striking contrast with his principal adversary, Doyle, who resembles an enraged bear wearing ill-fitting hand-me-down men's clothing. (FYI, Hackman received an Academy Award for his performance.) Doyle becomes obsessed with destroying the French connection, no matter what. This is most evident during a car chase through the streets of New York which remains the most harrowing ever included in a film. (Even better than the car chase in Bullitt three years earlier? Yes.) All of the acting is outstanding as are the cinematography and editing. The Academy Award for best film was one of five received and each was well-deserved. It is probably impossible to measure accurately the nature and extent of this film's impact on subsequent films as well as on programs produced for television. Seeing it again recently, I was again struck by the fact that it has lost none of its "edge" and that Hackman's performance has even more power now than it did in 1971.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "The Tuminaro Case", Aug. 15 2003
By 
M. G Watson "Miles Watson" (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
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The Tuminaro Case. That is what the law enforcement community calls "the French Connection" case of 1968. Two rough-and-tumble NYPD Narcotics detectives named Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso stumbled on a heroin-smuggling ring which spanned the Atlantic and linked the New York Mafia with a French mob operating out of Marsailles, which, if you are not familiar with it, is a great port city in the Mediterranean famous for, among other things, being a stop on the great heroin pipeline between Turkey, Siciily, Corsica, Continental Europe, and the Big Apple. This discovery was the birth of the understanding that the heroin trade was big international business, being conducted on a breathtaking scale, and the efforts of local cops and a few federal agents to stop it by busting junkies and street dealers was as ludicrous as handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.
In the end, somewhere between 100 - 300 kilos of pure heroin were seized, the ring was smashed, two cops sprung to fame by making the big case ("Went through The Door", in NYPD Narc lexicon), and the soon-to-be legendary NYPD Special Investigations Unit was created. But at what cost, and to what end?
This is what the film version of "The French Connection" examines, changing the names of the players (to Popeye Doyle, played by the great Gene Hackman, and Cloudy Russo, played by the criminally underrated Roy Schieder, respectively) but leaving the basic facts of the story intact. Very few movies have attempted to show the methodology and mind-set of Narc detectives without either glamorizing them or apologizing for them; "TFC" does neither. Doyle is a truly disgusting human being, but a [darn] good cop. He has the ego, the spleen, the recklessness, and the obsessive won't-let-go mentality of a pit bull, which more or less typefied the Narcs of the pre-Knapp Comission years. If you want a cop like Doyle off your case, you pretty much have to kill him. And if you try, don't miss.
The SIU, an elite branch of the Narcotics Division, was born during this investigation. No police unit in history probably bagged more hard drugs, busted more big-name dealers, or wrought such havoc with the drug trade in the Big Apple. On the other hand, no police unit in history ever broke so many laws doing it:
the tactics used by Doyle and Russo in "TFC" became standard procedure for the SIU: Illegal wiretaps. Shakedowns. Theft of money. Distribution of heroin to informants. Perjury. Extortion. Entrapment. You name it, they did it, and operated with virtually no supervision for about ten years before another famous cop, Bob Leuici, who got his own movie ("Prince of the City") brought down the house by exposing its inherent corruption. About seventy detectives served in SUI and of them, more than fifty ended up being indicted, and most went to prison. A number killed themselves. In a moment of true irony, several SIU detectives were fingered in the theft of 300 pounds of heroin from the police evidence lockup. The heroin in question was the evidence seized by Egan and Grosso in the Tuminaro Case. So in the end, it was largely for nothing. The H hit the street anyway.
I read some review of this film which question its morality, its supposed affirmantion of the 'war on drugs' and even liken "Connection" to the Nazi propiganda film "Triumph of the Will" because it seems to endorse the ends-justifying-tactics of Doyle and Russo. These people are missing the point entirely. The French Connection is not politicized fiction, like "Blow." It is a real case, the detectives were real people, and these were the real methods they used to crack it. The scene where Hackman chases his would-be assassin all across New York, endangering the lives of about 100 people in the process, says more than any dialogue could about his personality. In other words, this movie isn't about the drug trade, it's about the cops who fight it.

"TFC" is NOT an endorsement of the war on drugs; it simply lays out what happened here in a dramatized fashion. Like all great movies, it does not tell the viewer what to think but allows him/her to come to his own conclusion. And by the way, the movie most certainly DOES imply that the drug war, or at least this particular battle in it, was futile. The 'what happened to them' blurbs at the end of the film demonstrate this in no uncertain terms.
Looking back I see this is not a proper review of the film but more of a rant. ...
I'm through venting. Sorry. I'll make up for it with this: "The French Connection" is a great crime drama, brilliantly acted, superbly directed, and deserves every bit of its reputation as one of the greatest films of all time. I'm going to buy it on DVD today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still love that car chase, March 2 2003
It's getting a tad frayed around the edges, but "The French Connection" has stood up remarkably well over thirty years, thanks largely to a great cast, a great director (William Friedkin) and a crackerjack plot - not to mention the mother of all car chases. Only Gene Hackman could have played Popeye Doyle, a straight-up jerk whose bull-in-the-china-closet operating method rolls over everything in his way, including his own colleagues. Playing his partner admirably well is Roy Scheider as Buddy Russo, whose patience at Doyle's antics sometimes wears as thin as the soles on his shoes. The two of them are narcs, and they are out to intercept the arrival and distribution of a monster shipment of heroin from Marseilles by a drug kingpin named Alan Charnier. The movie zips along as Doyle and Charnier attempt to outwit each other; one of the best sequences in the film is Doyle following Charnier along the streets of midtown Manhattan into the subway (native New Yorkers have fun identifying the path they take) and losing him on the train. Doyle in his own way is as repulsive as the drug dealers he's up against; he's a racist, selfish, insensitive, uncaring about anybody but himself. But his single-minded mania serves him well in this chase; he'll bring down his prey one way or another. The classic scene in this movie is, of course, the car chase under the elevated subway that practically defined the term "car chase"; it's mind-boggling to try to imagine how Friedkin managed to shoot this sequence. The supporting actors in the movie are excellent; I especially liked Tony LoBianco as the middleman Sal Boca, Arlene Farber as his wife Angie, Benny Marino as his brother Lou (does the family that deals together stay together?), Patrick McDermott as the cool-as-ice chemist testing the purity of Charnier's stock and stamping it with his seal of approval; and above all, the sinister performance given by Marcel Bozzuffi as Pierre Nicoli, Charnier's hitman, who will shoot anyone in cold blood without batting an eyelash. The cinematography has a kind of grainy quality that enhances the gritty story being played out. Even though it seems a bit dated, "The French Connection" still stands out as one of the high points of American film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Crime Drama Set the Stage For Many to Come, Feb. 24 2003
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This review is from: French Connection, the (VHS Tape)
Along with the less-gritty, fashionably crafted "Bullitt," "The French Connection" set the stage for many crime dramas that followed, and epitomized the genre of the brutal detective story.
A slightly fabricated account of a true drug bust made by real-life New York City narcotics officers Eddie "Popeye" Egan and "Sonny" Grosso in the early 60s, "The French Connection" stars Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle, a gruff cop who hates drug pushers with a passion, paired with his loyal, sensible partner Cloudy Russo (Roy Scheider in one of two breakthrough roles landed in 1970). After a "hunch," the two ruthless narcotics officers tail a greaser (Tony Lo Bianco) whom they find is connected to a big-time drug broker (Harold Gary). Soon, Popeye and Cloudy have stumbled onto what appears to be an imported heroin deal headed by French gentleman-brute Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey), dubbed Frog One. The plot unfolds to reveal a complicated conspiracy to smuggle 120 pounds of heroin into New York City from France. Once Popeye grabs the case, he doesn't let go, even at the discouragement of his boss (played by the real-life Popeye Egan), all leading to a vigorous and relentless investigation.
"The French Connection" is brilliantly directed by the then-great William Friedkin (he won the Best Director Oscar), using a unique 'induced-documentary' style that captures the seedy underbelly of New York City, and the real-life story itself. The flawless improvised dialogue is what makes the film so real, topped off by the gritty Oscar-winning performance of Hackman, aided faithfully by nominee Scheider. The movie is one of the most realistic, genuinely engaging crime dramas ever made, capturing the tension among the officers in the beareau, and sheer passion and frustration of the 'good guys,' obsessed with getting their man. Though "The French Connection" seems heavily fictionalized when compared to the real case, it remains as real as a crime drama can get...despite a gripping pure-Hollywood car chase that sent the film over-budget.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "You put a shiv in my partner. You know what that means?", Feb. 22 2003
Despite its commercial stature, William Friedkin's "The French Connection" feels like an entry from the European "New Wave" school. Such films adopted a documentary-like technique to cast a spotlight on the darker aspects of European society in much the same way that this film critiques New York society. This cinematic version of the Big Apple is a dark and sinister place populated by criminals who keep the police on their toes at all times. So active is the criminal element that the task of upholding the law has become tedious rather than rewarding to the boys with the badges.
"The French Connection" is based on the true story of the largest drug bust in American history. The film's primary characters are Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner Buddy "Cloudy" Russo (Roy Scheider). Both men are intense and high-wired individuals who work the narcotics beat and find themselves in a most opportunistic situation. While hanging out in a night club one evening, Doyle and Russo stumble upon a mysterious man named Sal Boca (Tony Lo Bianco). Through a combination of surveillance and wire taps, Boca is tied to a Frenchman (Fernando Rey) who appears to be engineering a major drug transaction. The two cops stay hot on the Frenchman's trail hoping to make the bust of their careers, but the Frenchman proves cagey and elusive. However, Doyle and Russo catch a lucky break when a seemingly minor detail regarding an impounded car cracks the case wide open.
Hackman, in his first major role, carves out a memorable performance as the unconventional cop and Scheider also distinguishes himself as he offers tantalizing hints of the stardom he would later achieve in "Jaws". The film's celebrated car chase is also a breathtaking display of technical wizardry. The only negative this film has is that its look and feel has become dated. This is an early 1970's film and it certainly won't be mistaken for anything else. There is a drabness to its color scheme that drains it of some of its energy and reminds viewers of similar-themed television shows of the era. The film's street lingo also comes across as relics of the past and keeps the film from attaining a timeless feel. Yet, the fact that "The French Connection" is still entertaining is a testament to both Hackman and Scheider. Both actors elevate the film to a level it wouldn't have otherwise reached without them. You'll be cheering for them from the opening credits to the end credits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The French Connection should disturb all American patriots, Jan. 21 2003
The French Connection is among the best films of all time. It easily earned those five major Academy Awards. I personally rate this particular work of Director William Friedkin in the top fifty. Unfortunately, it also has much in common with the infamous racist Birth of a Nation. I hesitate to compare the French Connection to Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi Triumph of the Will, but others might legitimately make this case. In other words, a moral person, after viewing this movie, should come away with a conclusion possibly not intended by its creators. The French Connection, loosely based on a real series of events, was filmed in 1971 when many people naively thought that a victory on the war on drugs was right around the corner. Many excused the disgraceful behavior of "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner "Cloudy" (Roy Schieder) as simply necessary in combatting the international drug cartels. The ground breaking car chase was wildly cheered and few considered whether it made sense for Doyle to risk the lives of innocent citizens in pursuit of the fleeing criminal. In another disturbing scene, the two detectives violate the rights of bar patrons who may not have necessarily been involved in illegal activity. The fact that these folks were Afro-American may be a commentary on the racial attitudes of that period. One does not need to be a political leftist to be appalled by such disgraceful police behavior. The editors of the conservative National Review also decry our nation's ludicrous war on mind altering drug use.
There is something that was deliberately left out of the film: the French Connection case accomplished essentially nothing! The seized heroin were soon found missing in the police evidence room. Almost certainly, these drugs were eventually sold on the streets of New York. It is now thirty one years later, and we have yet to realize the foolishness of prohibiting people from choosing to indulge in self destructive activity. Our current laws have only made matters worse. I strongly recommend that you see a few other films devoted to the same theme. Rush, Blow, Traffic, and the most recent Narc, also deserve your time and interest.
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French Connection
French Connection by William Friedkin (VHS Tape - 1999)
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