French Connection [Import]
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Two narcotics detectives, "Popeye" Doyle and his partner Buddy Russo (Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider), start to close in on a vast international narcotics ring when the smugglers unexpectedly strike back. Following an attempt on his life by one of the smugglers, Doyle sets off a deadly pursuit that ultimately takes him far beyond mere New York City limits. Based on a true story, this action-filled thriller, with its renowned chase scene, won five Academy Awards® including best picture and Best Actor for Gene Hackman.
William Friedkin's classic policier was propelled to box-office glory, and a fistful of Oscars, in 1972 by its pedal-to-the-metal filmmaking and fashionably cynical attitude toward law enforcement. Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle, a brutally pushy New York City narcotics detective, is a dauntless crime fighter and Vietnam-era "pig," a reckless vulgarian whose antics get innocent people killed. Loosely based upon an actual investigation that led to what was then the biggest heroin seizure in U.S. history, the picture traces the efforts of Doyle and his partner (Roy Scheider) to close the pipeline pumping Middle Eastern smack into the States through the French port of Marseilles. (The actual French Connection cops, Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, make cameo appearances.) It was widely recognized at the time that Friedkin had lifted a lot of his high-strung technique from the Costa-Gavras thrillers The Sleeping Car Murders and Z--he even imported one of Costa-Gavras's favorite thugs, Marcel Bozzuffi, to play the Euro-trash hit man plugged by Doyle in an elevated train station. There was an impressive official sequel in 1975, French Connection II, directed by John Frankenheimer, which took Popeye to the south of France and got him hooked on horse. A couple of semi-official spinoffs followed, The Seven-Ups, which elevated Scheider to the leading role, and Badge 373, with Robert Duvall stepping in as the pugnacious flatfoot. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Movie - *****
Video - **
Audio - ***1/2
extras - ***1/2
Overall - **
If you don't have a special edition of this film, it's worth the purchase.
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.
It's a bit of a shame that the transfer isn't quite up to snuff. Like other "gritty" films, the transfer suffers from extensive film grain in daytime shots, with the early scenes in France particularly bothersome. Given the advances in DVD authoring, it's surprising to see something with Matrix-level graininess on the market, but this is a quibble that only videophiles will notice.
As for supplements, this disc offers some of the year's best. Two extensive documentaries featuring interviews with many of the surviving members of the cast and crew delve into the true story behind the film and the nature of the production. The BBC-produced "Poughkeepsie Shuffle" even revisits the locations as they appear today, offering a nice contrast between New York City then and now.
As an added bonus, there are seven deleted scenes--remarkable for a film of this age--which can be viewed with or without an introduction from director Friedkin.
The French Connection isn't a kid's film by any standard, but it should be noted that the deleted scenes and the BBC doc both contain language and images that parents probably don't want their young children to see or hear. This isn't one of those "soft" R-rated pictures that would pass for PG today.
If you love this film, you need this DVD. If you've never seen this film, you still need this DVD, so that you can experience a masterwork of American cinema with lasting power. Who knew Gene Hackman could be a tough guy?
Most recent customer reviews
The French Connection is a very rough, raw and gritty reality-based film about two New York cops hell-bent on bringing down some major heroin smugglers. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve G
gives Frog one nightmares. Classic film, I never get tired of watching it. From the very beginning, with the iconic scene of Doyle running down a perp in a Santa suit, to the final... Read morePublished on March 27 2014 by jessekaellis
in my opinion,The French Connection is one long bore.Gene Hackman is a
gifted actor,but even he can't save this mess. Read more
This movie was good, but it wasn't THAT good.
The ending itself is a HUGE left-off-hanging disappointment. Read more
More than 30 years after its release, "The French Connection" has become one of the signpost cop dramas of American cinema. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Brian D. Rubendall
This movie was incredibly boring. The whole movie is basically one long chase scene which is never finished. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2004
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