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The French Connection (1971)

Succeeded by: French Connection II (1975)

Director:
William Friedkin
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Crime/Thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Brennpunkt New York
RUNNING TIME
104 minutes
Producers:
Philip D'Antoni
Screenwriters (based on the book by Robin Moore):
Ernest Tidyman


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Det. Jimmy Doyle Gene Hackman
Alain Carnier Fernando Rey
Det. Buddy Russo Roy Scheider ˝
Sal Boca Tony Lo Bianco
Pierre Nicoli Marcel Bozzuffi
Henri Devereaux Frédéric de Pasquale
Bill Mulderig Bill Hickman

 

Review

There's nothing fancy about William Friedkin's The French Connection, one of the few R-rated movies ever to win an Oscar for Best Picture of the Year. The film gained notoriety for being starkly realistic, based upon a real story about two cops staking out a big drug deal in New York City. It wouldn't be right to say that the film hasn't stood the test of time, but it may be noted that what made the film stand out in 1971 – the depiction of crime and policing as something dirty, circumstancial and unheroic – probably won't seem quite as fresh and excepetional today. That being said, The French Connection was and still should be seen as a document of a bleak period in the history of New York City, and this is where Friedkin's documentarian style comes into its own, showing a filthy and unfriendly city where everyone is on their own and the authorities use aggression to try to solve problems they don't quite understand. Friedkin's highlight here is an almost balletic cat-and-mouse hunt between Hackman and Rey on the subway. The film inspired a new wave of stripped-down crime movies, notably the early films of Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver), propelled Gene Hackman into (a rather unlikely) stardom, and gave William Friedkin the possibility on to make The Exorcist two years later.

Copyright © 12.4.2015 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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