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3,365 Ratings

The French Connection

Directed by William Friedkin
United States, 1971
Action, Crime, Drama


William Friedkin’s gritty 1970s classic is the paradigmatic rip-roaring chase film, complete with New York City street and subway pursuits, drug smugglers, corrupt cops, and one good guy, Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle – based on true-life detective Eddie Egan – who makes his own rules.

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The French Connection Directed by William Friedkin

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1972 | 5 wins including: Best Actor in a Leading Role

1972 | 3 nominations including: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

National Film Preservation Board

2005 | Winner: National Film Registry

All of the standout sequences function virtually without regard to the dramatis personae: You could put Frank Bullitt behind the wheel of that LeMans during the high-speed chase (still the most insanely harrowing ever filmed, for my money…), or have Harry Callahan perform the beautifully orchestrated subway-car minuet with Fernando Rey (cat and mouse at its finest), and it wouldn’t make an iota of difference. It’s a pungent portrait of a bust with delusions of grandeur.
April 01, 2012
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Eliminating the language on the page and upping the adrenaline-kick ante allows Friedkin to express nearly every important conflict visually: the drama changes direction when the people being pursued do. The brisk tempo of that race through city streets is applied to nearly every scene, so that like Popeye, it doesn’t stop to think when shooting: it just embraces the thrill of non-stop motion and violence.
September 13, 2011
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William Friedkin takes his mark from Don Siegel and Costa-Gavras, belligerent action portraits in quick, hard, racy strokes. Grain is the texture of choice, the brickier and danker the better, the snapshot of the city runs from Brooklyn Bridge traffic jams to Madison Avenue in the metallic grip of winter.
January 01, 2010
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