Sunday, August 22, 2010

#16. The French Connection (1971)

DVD Synopsis: New York City Detectives “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) hope to break a narcotics smuggling ring and ultimately uncover The French Connection. But when one of the criminals tries to kill Doyle, he begins a deadly pursuit that takes him far outside the city limits. Based on a true story, this action-filled thriller, with its renowned chase scene, won five Academy Awards in 1971, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Friendkin) and Best Actor for Hackman.

The French Connection will always be remembered for its nerve-racking car chase through the streets of New York, easily one of the most exciting sequences ever committed to film. 

It is a time-honored action scene, during which there are plenty of close calls (I still don’t know how the car missed that woman with the baby carriage), and it retains such a high level of intensity from start to finish that I found myself more than a bit relieved when the chase finally ended. 

However, as great as this sequence is, I was equally impressed by how well the film works during its quieter moments, when focusing on police procedures. We follow ‘Popeye’ and Buddy as they tail suspects, listen in on wiretaps and spend hours on end sitting in their car during overnight stakeouts. 

I liked the way these various processes were shown in detail, and, despite being much more serene than other sequences, they were nonetheless equally as fascinating.


Anonymous said...

An excellent thriller The French Connection which deserves the praise it gets. It was followed by a sequel (French Connection II) equally as good. Roy Scheider, even though he didn't appear in the sequel, did star in a similar kind of film, The Seven-Ups which had a car chase as good as the one in The French Connection.

Interesting story, top cast, well filmed and full of standout scenes (and not just the famous car chase).

DVD Infatuation said...

I haven't seen the sequel yet, and I've heard good things about SEVEN-UP (if the car chase is as exciting as the one in this film, I'll definitely have to make it a point to check it out).

I agree with everything you've said about this movie. Thanks for the comment, and for checking out the blog.

irish said...

Excellent thriller with a terrific performance from Hackman. Compulsive from beginning to end. Fast moving and energetically directed.