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The French Connection
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Product Description

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 smuggl

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

Customer Reviews:

  • An engaging and entertaining, yet standard, classic...
    I do like this movie, in fact I think it is very well done and very entertaining, but in the end I must admit that this is far from a brilliant movie. It is an effective police thriller that never really transcends the boundaries of the genre and this becomes rather generic when you think about it. The performances are good, but not great, and as much as I love Gene Hackman I must admit that this is a far cry from his best performance (look to his 1988 work in `Mississippi Burning' for a more fleshed out and human portrait of a conflicted lawman).

    The movie concerns two detectives, Jimmy Doyle and Buddy Russo, who are struggling to tie up the lose ends in a drug ring; the French connection spoken of in the title referring to the Marseilles port through which the drugs are making their way stateside. Doyle and Russo are two very different cops with two very different ways of handling their jobs, and as the pressure mounts we can see Doyle boil over until his actions are speaking much louder than his words.

    It is tense in scenes, and then car chase scenes are ridiculously brilliant, but in the end I can't get around the fact that this is not the movie it is touted as.

    I will say this; William Friedkin does a brilliant job of creating an engrossing and fast paced thriller that will always keep you glued to the screen. Even when the film feels unoriginal and rather redundant it is still captivating thanks to Friedkin's stellar camera work. He's a dynamic director, and while this is not his best work (I found him utterly flawless in `The Exorcist' and all sorts of fantastic in `Bug') he has an unforgettable style that will keep your attention. The script is nothing fantastic or truly memorable, but it works for what it is trying to be.

    I understand that this served as a foundation for better police thrillers to come, so don't think I'm knocking it's `classic' status, I'm just pointing out the fact that it has not aged as gracefully as it could have. Especially when you consider this according to today's standards you see that this is a very `by the books' thriller that takes little leeway to become something revolutionary.

    The performances are stable, but nothing more. Both Hackman and Roy Scheider received Oscar nominations; Hackman going on to win the gold, but in all honesty I wouldn't have nominated either of them. Scheider delivers a very hollow performance, beings that the film isn't really interested in him as a character. He is merely there to represent a polar opposite to Hackman. At least Hackman does `something' with his performance, but even he doesn't really do much. He is merely a gimmick; a thin fabrication of what the `crooked cop' character is supposed to look like; but he really has no meat on those bones. There is a back story there, but it rarely makes it to the surface.

    Again, I like this movie, and I watch it frequently because it is so engaging; but I have to be honest and point out the fact that it is rather hollow and no where near what it could have been. I give it a B, and I do recommend it, but I recommend it with reservations. I will not pimp this as cinematic brilliance; because quite frankly, it's not....more info
  • The French Connection
    Gene Hackman's electrifying performance as Popeye Doyle won him an Oscar and transformed him from supporting player to star. Shot verit¨¦-style by William Friedkin, this spellbinding movie evokes the slightly fraying quality of New York thirty years ago, when a fiscal crisis loomed. This only adds to the grit and edginess of this intense film, without question one of the best cop movies ever....more info
  • Want a new kind of milkshake and a good movie?
    The French Connection is a very good movie that's a true classic. I loved it as did the Academy as it won 5 academy awards back when it was released in 1971:
    Best actor- Gene Hackman
    Best director- William Friedkin
    Best picture
    Best film editing
    Best adapted screenplay

    The movie is based on a true story involving drug trafficking. The story is that of two narcotics detectives in New York played by Gene Hackman (in his first academy award winning role) and Roy Scheider. They find someone suspicious so they wire him which leads them to "the frog" (frenchman). This frog has a mean bodyguard and they are from Marseille, in New York to sell drugs. But, since the detectives don't know this for sure, they follow them around. They need proof. I don't want to give away any spoilers but this is a must see. It has a classic chase, a huge stripping of a car, a mysterious white car, a bad encounter with a sniper, and a good ending.
    Gene Hackman was brilliant as a mean but good cop. He even dresses up as Santa Claus to get the job done. Hackman's has one classic line "wanna a milkshake?" where he mixes everyone's drugs together in a milkshake/ blender after making a bust.
    The movie will keep you fixated until the very end with the suspense, the humor, and the constant following of the frog. The 2 disc DVD set has many special features including trailers and deleted scenes. This is a must have for everyone's collection. ...more info
  • "The French Connection" has aged amazingly well-Friedkin supervised transfer grainy but looks as the director intended
    Folks that have the DVD version of "The French Connection" may want to hold on to it since director Friedkin went back and altered the look of his film--some folks will like it some will not.

    The film certainly deserves five stars the transfer here three (and the original version should have been put on a separate disc as well).


    William Friedkin's Academy Award winning "The French Connection" altered the rules for the police drama. He eschewed the procedural approach of many films instead going for a gritty, raw documentary look for the film. First up--this is a film that is over 30 years old so its not going to look like a more contemporary film with a slick veneer to the transfer. Friedkin went back and personally supervised the transfer going for a more washed out look to the colors as well coming as close to a noir film as possible for a color film. That's good news and bad for fans; it's never quite looked like this before but, according to the introduction by Friedkin, this is really how he had intended for it to look from the beginning. So if you have your original DVD and love the look of the film there you probably won't like the look of the film here on Blu-ray. Ideally, Friedkin and Fox should have released the film resembling its original theatrical version and his new one together so fans could watch which ever one they preferred. Personally, although it looks different than how I've seen it presented before with much more grain, a color scheme that, at times, makes the film look like it was almost colorized at times--I like it. For those unsure of buying this new edition, I'd suggest renting it first to see if its look appeals to you.

    I should note that those people raised on Michael Bay action films will probably find some of the film slow going. Friedkin's film is from a time when directors didn't feel the need to cut films for an audience with media induced ADD. Friedkin recognized that the drama in addition to the editing would pull people in and that rapid editing where appropriate was perfect but if it was inappropriate it would detract from the performances.

    That said, Fox (which has had mixed results for their catalog titles in terms of the transfers) has done a nice job of restoring the film. The print looks free of damage.

    Fox ports over all of the extras from the deluxe two disc edition(including "The Pougkeepsie Shuffle", commentary tracks, the isolated score, deleted scenes)and adds some exceptional extras. We also get "Hackman on Doyle", "Rogue Cop: The Noir Connection", "Color Timing 'The French Connection'", "Scene of the Crime" (where Friedkin returns to the locations he shot the film), "Friedkin and Grosso Remember 'The French Connection'" and "Cop Jazz: The Music of Don Ellis". The bulk of the extras are on the second disc of the set.

    Based on a true story about Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman)and Buddy Rosso (Roy Scheider) as they pursue a major heroin smuggling ring in New York City. Doyle is brash, flagrently breaks the rules in pursuit of his own brand of justice. The screenplay by Ernest Tidyman based on Robin Moore's bestselling book nicely captures the character of the novel giving all the actors their "moment". Gene Hackman's Academy Award turn as Doyle continues to be amazing and Scheider really deserved a Best Supporting Actor nod as well.

    "The French Connection" is still an amazing film and was unparalleled for its grit when it came out in 1971. The film inspired one worthwhile direct sequel ("The French Connection II") and an indirect one ("The Seven Ups")and continues to be a pivotal film and redefined the genre.

    ...more info
  • The French Connection should disturb all American patriots
    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....more info

  • Bonus features are tip top.
    The bonus features are excellent!!! It's hard to believe this movie almost didn't get made. As for the actual movie blue ray continues to rock....more info
  • The Blu-ray version of "The French Connection" is the definitive version to own!
    Known for having one of the best car scenes in a film. Known for it's gritty storyline and showcasing a different side of the police. "THE FRENCH CONNECTION", the winner of five Academy Awards back in 1971 will be released on Blu-ray disc. And all I can say is that if you are a big fan of this film, "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" on Blu-ray disc is the definitive version to own.

    The film will always be known for its grittiness, a different take of a New York police detective, a car chase scene, the music and its grittiness. But what the Blu-ray disc also provides is the making and behind-the-scenes of "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" which probably can be a movie in itself because of all that went on behind-the-scenes which was very surprising.

    VIDEO & AUDIO:

    The picture quality is quite interesting for "THE FRENCH CONNECTION". This is one of the few films similar to a Criterion release in which the film is presented the way the director intended. 20th Century Fox did the same with this film.

    Director William Friedkin was very much involved in the way the film looked (in fact, there is a special feature on the color timing of the film).

    With that being said, the film is the best looking version of the "THE FRENCH CONNECTION". Having owned the first DVD release, the colors are much different. Friedkin wanted to show the grittiness of the city and thus you get some blues and deep blacks in the color.

    But I noticed there was a lot of grain in certain scenes and some scenes looked like a 1971, old film. Where some viewers may have wanted a cleaned up film, because Friedkin was very much involved in the video process, I would assume he wanted it this way and not so cleaned up.

    As for the audio, audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The film is mainly dialogue-based that comes out clear but if there is one thing that does come clear on your speakers and really stands out is the music by Don Ellis. "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" is known for its jazzy music, so the brass horns definitely come out clear through your surround sound.

    SPECIAL FEATURES:

    This is where "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" shines. This Blu-ray is just filled with special features on two discs.

    DISC 1:

    * William Friedkin introduction to "The French Connection" - The director of "The French Connection" William Friedkin introduces the film but also returns back to the area he filmed the movie and talks about how we will see former cast and crew on the special features.
    * Commentary by William Friedkin - I really enjoyed William Friedkin's commentary. No pausing, just pretty much sets up the film of what's going on and quickly adds certain behind-the-scenes info. on the scenes. Well done!
    * Commentary by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider - I was so excited for this commentary but it's not what I was expecting. Unfortunately, Roy Scheider passed away in 2008 and the two didn't do a commentary together in the past DVD's. But you do get Gene Hackman talking about his experiences on "The French Connection" and then Roy Scheider talking about his experiences. Gene Hackman on the first 40 or so-minutes and Roy Scheider in the final 40-minutes or so. They are not commenting on a scenes as it is being played but just offering commentary on the whole experience.
    * Trivia Track - While watching the film, interesting tid-bits of the film are shown at the bottom.
    * Isolated Score Track - For those who love Don Ellis's music in the film, you can strictly isolate the score if needed.
    * Enhances for D-Box Motion Control Systems - For those who have D-Box Motion Control capability.

    DISC 2:

    * Deleted Scenes - With optional commentary, William Friedkin talks about certain scenes he cut out. Most of the scenes were showing different sides of "Popeye" Doyle. How the man really didn't have much friends and sometimes ends up speaking to the informants (like they were buddies), a scene of how Doyle would twist the law to pick up women he fancied, an S&M scene involving Pierre Nicoli and more.

    * Anatomy of a Chase - The chase scene in "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" is what the film will be remembered. One of the biggest car chase scenes was from the film "BULLIT" produced by Philip D'Antoni. Antoni produced this film and his mandate was that the chase scene MUST be better than "BULLIT". So, Friedkin felt that having a car chase an L-train bus in New York City with all cars and people was amazing. For one, it can't be duplicated in this age but literally both William Friedkin, DOP filmed this scene without the place being blocked out. Because Egan and Grosso were well known with the NYPD, they informed their officers a car chase scene was being filmed. But the actual scene was so dangerous because the cars were going 90 MPH and in one scene (that was used), a car being driven by Gene Hackman was hit by a guy who was leaving to go to work. Hackman was hit and ended up wrapping the car in a pole. Hackman and the cameraman were lucky to survive without serious injuries but that was how difficult this scene was. Friedkin wanted a car weaving around cars and eventually, several times, the stunt cars actually hit them. So, a very interesting and informative featurette!
    * Hackman on Doyle - It is well known that Gene Hackman's career was born because of this film but what many don't know is that he wanted to quit at one time. To play Doyle, Hackman had to learn Eddie Egan's way of doing things. His mindset. That includes beating up people, calling them the "N" word and also he had to go on ride a longs with both Egan and Grosso to see how they worked. Hackman was so shocked about the police life and he was so distraught that he didn't know if he could play the part. He and Egan were like oil and water and in fact, Egan didn't want Hackman to play him. But Hackman managed to pull it off and win an Academy Award.
    * Friedkin and Grosso Remember the Real French Connection - In this scene, director William Friedkin and Sonny Grosso (the detective that Roy Scheider's character was based on) reunite to talk about the film and how it differs from how things actually happened in reality. Grosso does say that the film captured 90% of what he and Eddie experienced. If anything is more surprising, which is shown in the last minute of the film but in relation to the film and reality is how all this hardwork from the NYPD, the criminals really never had to do a lot of time. In fact, many were released and some were never caught.
    * Scene of the Crime - William Friedkin goes back to the area where Pierre Nicoli shoots at Doyle. He visits the same building and the same area and what he was going for during the filming.
    * Color Timing the French Connection - William Friedkin and his video guy show examples of how Doyle wanted to get the colors he wanted for the final Blu-ray cut and how it was accomplished. Thus you learn that Friedkin was very much involved with this Blu-ray disc video version.
    * Cop Jazz: The music of Don Ellis - Don Ellis is a jazz musician who was known but not very well-known until he did "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" and thus this featurette is a tribute to him.
    * Rogue Cop: The Noir Connection - Although James "Popeye" Doyle's way of handling things as a cop was very brash, this featurette goes through many films that precede "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" and other well-known cops on film that were "rogue".
    * BBC Documentary: The Poighkeepsie Shuffle - A lengthy documentary on "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" aired on BBC featuring interviews with the cast and crew of "THE FRENCH CONNECTION".
    * Making the Connection: The Untold Stories of the French Connection - A lengthy documentary hosted by Sonny Grosso featuring interviews with the cast and crew of "THE FRENCH CONNECTION".

    JUDGMENT CALL:

    When "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" came out on DVD for the first time, I was anxiously waiting for it. And now, watching it on Blu-ray and just knowing how much was put into this release is just amazing.

    The film was avant-garde back in 1971. Gritty, raw and it's a film that can't be made again. The film showcases the racial profiling at that time and William Friedkin was able to pull of the unthinkable of stopping traffic in New York City to quickly get a shot, using Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso's connections to block out several blocks for a car chase scene with many people and cars still in traffic and it was such a guerrilla-style of filmmaking that was pulled off amazingly.

    But this Blu-ray showcases how things were not as peachy keen behind-the-scenes. From getting the best-selling book to film, finding the right actors to play Egan and Grosso, making sure Friedkin, D'Antoni, Hackman and Scheider were involved in actual busts by Egan and Grosso and just making sure everything looked right. And also the film had its certain mini-controversies between Hackman and Friedkin, Hackman and Egan, Friedkin's scene with Doyle and Nicoli at the end to problems within the film industry at the time, the film being turned down by so many film companies, turning down so many screenplays, so many actors to play a role and I can see why this film nearly never happened. So, I found this all intriguing.

    The film was great to watch but what surprised me more is how much went into this Blu-ray disc. Reuniting William Friedkin, Philip D'Antoni, Sonny Grosso and a few others to visit the various areas of where the film was shot, to talk with the crew and movie execs that helped make this film happen. All of this is included on the Blu-ray. Ten featurettes which the majority were all quite lengthy, commentary by Friedkin and also to see Gene Hackman, thankful for this film and to see people no longer with us such as Eddie Egan and Roy Scheider also having a part in this Blu-ray disc posthumously.

    This Blu-ray disc is everything a fan of "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" can want.

    It is the definitive version to own and the way William Friedkin wanted people to watch the film on Blu-ray.

    "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" on Blu-ray is fantastic! Definitely a must own!...more info
  • Even in 1971, film makers could do better (and did)
    Based on the true story of how two New York police detectives, "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider), uncovered a drug smuggling operation between France and America.

    Given its five Oscar wins (including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director), it appears that, back in 1971, "The French Connection" was considered very highly and even today it still enjoys a very high reputation, but after sitting through this movie, I can't, for the life of me, figure out why. With the exception of the ending (which is a bit of an anti-climax), "The French Connection" isn't a terrible movie, but it's not all that great either. The film is slow moving and didn't engage me at all. There is little tension present and the script didn't provide me with any means of relating to or caring about "Popeye" Doyle. The car chase, which everyone talks about, is disappointing by modern standards, and although I would agree that Gene Hackman is an Oscar-worthy actor, I don't think he did anything Oscar-worthy in this film.

    What makes the reputation of "The French Connection" even harder to understand is that it was released the same year as "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Last Picture Show", beating both of these films to win its many accolades. I recently saw "A Clockwork Orange" for the first time and I was blown away by just how incredible that film is, even more than 40 years after it was made. If "A Clockwork Orange" were released today, I am certain that it would be just as highly regarded as it was in 1971, whereas I doubt that the same thing can be said about "The French Connection". If you do watch this film, keep in mind that, even when it was made, film makers were capable of better.
    ...more info
  • The French Connection - Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / FOX / Region A
    MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / BD+ / High Profile 4.1
    Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
    Running time: 1:43:42
    Movie size: 32,15 GB
    Disc size: 33,15 GB
    Total bit rate: 41.34 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 34.60 Mbps

    DTS-HD Master Audio English 2199 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2199 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
    Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surround
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese
    Number of chapters: 33

    Disc-1
    *******

    #William Friedkin introduction to the French Connection (HD)
    #Audio Commentary by William Friedkin
    #Audio Commentary by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider
    #Trivia track
    #Isolated score track
    #D-Box motion code enchanced

    Disc 2
    ******

    #7 deleted scenes with optional Director commentary (HD)
    #Featurette
    --Anatomy of a chase - (HD - 20 minutes)
    --Hackman on Doyle - (HD - 10 minutes)
    --Friedkin and Grosso remember the real French Connection (HD - 19 minutes)
    --Color timing The French Connection - (HD - 13 minutes)
    #Scene of the crime - (HD - 5 minutes)
    #Documentaries
    --CopJazz: The music of Don Ellis - (HD - 10 minutes)
    --Rogue cop: The noir connection - (HD - 14 minutes)
    --BBC Documentary: The Poughkeepsie Shuffle - (SD - 53 minutes)
    --Fox Movie Channel - Making the connection: The untold stories of The French Connection - (SD - 56 minutes)

    ********************************************************

    Version: U.K / FOX / Region A, B, C(?)
    Subtitles: English HoH, French, and Spanish
    Audio; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, Dolby Surround 2.0 English, Dolby Mono 2.0 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Isolated Score...more info
  • Gene Hackman's LEGACY and GREATEST performance!
    Gene Hackman could very well be Hollywood's GREATEST character actor. "The French Connection" is one of his few leading role films. He won the Best Actor Oscar for this film, and deservedly so.

    Roy Scheider has always been an UNDERRATED actor, and he gives his ususal GREAT performance in this. One of my favorite moments in the film is toward the beginning where Popeye is grilling a punk and you can see Roy start to laugh as he walks off camera.

    As everybody already knows the all-time CLASSIC car chase is in this movie. It looks like it was INCREDIBLY dangerous and numerous people were in harm's way. If you want to see another CLASSIC car chase (besides the one in "Bullitt") then watch "The Seven-Ups" (a Roy Scheider film!) and you will see one of the GREATEST car chases ever filmed.

    I highly recommend this film for two reasons: First, it's Gene Hackman's GREATEST performance and second, It's a CLASSIC of the Drama genre....more info
  • excellent movie, poor image quality
    The French Connection was and remains an immensely entertaining cops and drug smugglers film. The movie is probably best remembered for Gene Hackman's manic car chase, during which Hackman appears to be oblivious to both his own safety and that of the citizens of the densely populated city he is sworn to protect. However spectacular that scene may have been, it was far down the list of the film's best moments. These come, ironically, in the slower scenes, such as the unauthorized stakeout during which Popeye and his partner doggedly pursue evidence against a suspected small time drug dealer. All in all, the film is an excellent portrayal of the gritty, dirty world of drug law enforcement.

    That's the good news. The bad news is that the print quality of the blu-ray disk is virtually indistinguishable in most scenes from a standard definition DVD. Worse, in some places (Particularly the night and low light scenes)the added definition of blu-ray actually seems to emphasize the graininess and soft focus of the film. In short it's a great movie but an inferior blu-ray product....more info
  • Slow and very dated
    Don't be a sheep and listen to all the reviews about how great this movie is, because it isn't. The movie is very slow, the action is not as well filmed as newer films, and although on paper the plot sounds fairly intriguing (a true story of two cops who made the largest heroin bust in US history) the movie falls pretty flat.

    Just for a little context on myself, I was born in 1980, so yes I am a relatively younger viewer. However, I am not a big fan of today's special effects oriented, plot light action films. In fact, in my opinion, the seventies were the golden age of filmaking.

    Special effects then were advanced enough to make action seem realistic, (but hadn't gotten so good that directors got carried away with them) acting had reached its pinnacle after having the method actors firmly entrenched in Hollywood by this time, and plots were still strong (some would argue weakening in the seventies, in my view they were stronger than the classics, but I can somewhat understand that view).

    But what we have with the French Connection is basically a film which is caught between two eras, and succeeds in neither one. The action is closer to classic cinemotography than modern. The acting is fairly good, but with little plot to carry it (unless a two hour limping plot to catch the bad guys is a good plot to you.)

    The car chase seen is about as overated as overated can be stated without being a cliche. Here I was bored for an hour and a half, waiting for this car chase, and it really wasn't filmed that well or was that exciting, hardly the best car chase seen in any movie.

    If you have nothing but time on your hands and want to see this because everyone else says you should, go ahead. But if you value your time and want to see a film that is both a classic and entertaing, I would suggest the Seven Ups with Roy Scheider. This may be actually be the best car chase in any movie, and although modern movies can film a bit better, I would argue it gives any modern film a run for its money in that department. Also, the film isn't dated, and the plot doesn't put you to sleep. Another suggestion would be Serpico, although also slightly dated to the younger viewers, it still manages to keep its edge, and even during its length and slowtimes, you remain engaged.

    Why this film is so popular is beyond me. I think it is a combination of Gene Hackman's acting and a cool sounding name for a film, and then everyone jumping on the bandwagon about this being a classic.

    Go ahead and ignore my review and buy it anyway, but anyone who likes a decent paced film with an engaging plot will wish they listened.

    ...more info
  • One of the greatest crime dramas ever!
    This review is for the single DVD widescreen version released by 20th Century Fox in 2004.

    Based on a true story, Gene Hackman stars as New York narcotics detective "Popeye" Doyle who stumbles into a major heroin smuggling operation. Hackman does a great job portraying a less than perfect policeman in a less than glamorous part of New York.

    The movie has an authentic look to it and the story holds your interest from start to finish. The car chase is a classic and the ending takes a disturbing turn. The film won five Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1971. The DVD transfer is flawless and razor sharp. The commentaries by Hackman and Scheider and a separate one by director William Friedkin are nice DVD bonuses. An absolutely essential DVD for any crime drama fan's collection!


    Movie: A

    DVD Quality: A+
    ...more info
  • Still love that car chase
    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....more info
  • ..."Too" Real For Blu Ray...
    I'm afraid I have to agree with other reviewers of this Blu Ray version of William Friedkin's masterpiece. It looks awful a large part of the time, which completely ruins the other times when it shines.

    Ironically, the problem lies in the film's strength - its gritty portrayal of New York and the drug culture taking a grip of it in the early Seventies. The Director wanted realism - not just in his actor's performances, but literally how their New York playground looked - so he went for that. Movements are blurry, alleyways are hazy, characters are observed from an out-of-focus distance (aping what Popeye Doyle sees) - everything's grimy and washed out - matching the film's down and dirty feel.

    Unfortunately when you get outside of the sunny Marseilles sequences and into the seedy bars and restaurants of the Big Apple - the Blu Ray picture resembles worn out videotape - it's really awful. Which is such a shame, because as you watch it again - but this time on the big screen - you realize what a blindingly fabulous film "The French Connection" is - and how it deserved so much better than this.

    In fairness to Fox, the opening credits are squeaky clean - no lines, no scuffs, nothing - no print remains that clean after 38 years, so some restoration has to have been done. Unfortunately when you get to the street action - instead of enhancing the watch - the Blu Ray only makes the deliberately grainy effect look even worse.

    Half way through it - I couldn't stand to look at it anymore - I turned it off...

    Unless you absolutely must own this, rent it first before wasting your hard-earned on yet another dog on this increasingly frustrating format...

    What a disappointment. ...more info
  • 5+ stars!
    There are a million reasons why this movie is such a classic, but I will give two:

    Gene Hackman
    Cool car chases

    This is a classic cop drama with cop bravado, but what sets this movie apart from the norm are the acting capabilities of Gene Hackman and the EXCELLENT bashing of cars.

    Come on, if you already watched this movie you don't need me to give you a blow by blow of the story. Suffice it to say that this movie was done very well in 1971 and it still stands the test of time today.

    If you are a fan of Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry movies, or Bruce Willis Die Hard movies, you will like this film.

    ...more info
  • "The French Connection" has aged amazingly well-Friedkin supervised transfer grainy but looks as the director intended
    William Friedkin's Academy Award winning "The French Connection" altered the rules for the police drama. He eschewed the procedural approach of many films instead going for a gritty, raw documentary look for the film. First up--this is a film that is over 30 years old so its not going to look like a more contemporary film with a slick veneer to the transfer. Friedkin went back and personally supervised the transfer going for a more washed out look to the colors as well coming as close to a noir film as possible for a color film. That's good news and bad for fans; it's never quite looked like this before but, according to the introduction by Friedkin, this is really how he had intended for it to look from the beginning. So if you have your original DVD and love the look of the film there you probably won't like the look of the film here on Blu-ray. Ideally, Friedkin and Fox should have released the film resembling its original theatrical version and his new one together so fans could watch which ever one they preferred. Personally, although it looks different than how I've seen it presented before with much more grain, a color scheme that, at times, makes the film look like it was almost colorized at times. For those unsure of buying this new edition, I'd suggest renting it first to see if its look appeals to you.

    I should note that those people raised on Michael Bay action films will probably find some of the film slow going. Friedkin's film is from a time when directors didn't feel the need to cut films for an audience with media induced ADD. Friedkin recognized that the drama in addition to the editing would pull people in and that rapid editing where appropriate was perfect but if it was inappropriate it would detract from the performances.

    That said, Fox (which has had mixed results for their catalog titles in terms of the transfers) has done a nice job of restoring the film. The print looks free of damage.

    Fox ports over all of the extras from the deluxe two disc edition(including "The Pougkeepsie Shuffle", commentary tracks, the isolated score, deleted scenes)and adds some exceptional extras. We also get "Hackman on Doyle", "Rogue Cop: The Noir Connection", "Color Timing 'The French Connection'", "Scene of the Crime" (where Friedkin returns to the locations he shot the film), "Friedkin and Grosso Remember 'The French Connection'" and "Cop Jazz: The Music of Don Ellis". The bulk of the extras are on the second disc of the set.

    Based on a true story about Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman)and Buddy Rosso (Roy Scheider) as they pursue a major heroin smuggling ring in New York City. Doyle is brash, flagrently breaks the rules in pursuit of his own brand of justice. The screenplay by Ernest Tidyman based on Robin Moore's bestselling book nicely captures the character of the novel giving all the actors their "moment". Gene Hackman's Academy Award turn as Doyle continues to be amazing and Scheider really deserved a Best Supporting Actor nod as well.

    "The French Connection" is still an amazing film and was unparalleled for its grit when it came out in 1971. The film inspired one worthwhile direct sequel ("The French Connection II") and an indirect one ("The Seven Ups")and continues to be a pivotal film and redefined the genre.

    ...more info
  • "You put a shiv in my partner. You know what that means?"
    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....more info

  • Interesting Pseudo-Documentary That Doesn't Age Very Well!
    First the good news: Fox has done a great job mastering this dvd as both the picture and sound quality are very good having been given the THX Dolby Digital 5.1 treatment. The second disc also has very interesting true documentaries about the original Doyle and Grasso, the former actually having a role in the movie. I thought the camerawork was very, very good though with excellent play with lighting especially in the late night stake out scenes. The car chase scene was also very good too. This next point can also be construed as a negative but the film tried very hard to stay true to the events as they actually happened.

    Now the not so good news: this film doesn't age very well as is typical with movies from the 70s the story takes a while to develop and in this case, the movie is shot like a documentary too. This means that for young movie-goers of today, this film will very likely bore you for the most part. In keeping as close to actual events as possible, the ending had to be lame with the criminal actually getting away. Overall, this is a good police movie if you have the patience to sit through the slow unfolding of it and quite frankly I cannot understand how this film won the Oscar for the Best Picture, Actor and Director when clearly another film that actually has aged a whole lot better and is certainly much more interesting that year should have won those three categories: "A Clockwork Orange." Now that was truly film that was ahead of its time and Stanley Kubrick is on another planet when it comes to directing as compared to Friedkin. Another negative point is the fact that Fox has done it yet again in trying to get you to pay more than is necessary for this by putting on two discs when they could have put on one just to get you to pay more. They did the same thing with "M*A*S*H.

    Entertaining? Yes, if you have the patience. Best Film of the year? Certainly not. Ages well for today's audience? Nope. Good quality sound and picture? Definitely. Now you decide if you still wanna get this....more info
  • Innovative Crime Drama Set the Stage For Many to Come
    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....more info
  • Brilliant
    I have bought this DVD last year and I have to say that it is one of the best action movies I've seen! Excellent story and fascinating actors! Hackman and Scheider did an amazing job in this movie.
    This DVD should be added to your collection, buy it now.
    I recommend "The Conversation" too, a well underrated movie in the 70's, Gene Hackman stars in it as well....more info
  • Gene Hackman's LEGACY and GREATEST performance!
    I have always thought that Gene Hackman is Hollywood's GREATEST character actor. "The French Connection" is one of his few leading role films. All you have to do is watch this movie and you will see the proof of what I say. Gene Hackman won the Best Actor Oscar for this and deservedly so.

    Roy Scheider has always been an UNDERRATED actor, and he gives his ususal FLAWLESS performance in this. One of my favorite moments in the film is toward the beginning where Popeye is grilling a thug and you can see Roy start to laugh as he walks off camera.

    As everybody already knows the all-time CLASSIC car chase is in this movie. It looks like it was INCREDIBLY dangerous and numerous people were in harm's way. If you want to see another CLASSIC car chase (besides the one in "Bullitt") then watch "The Seven-Ups" (a Roy Scheider film!) and you will see one of the GREATEST car chases ever filmed.

    I highly recommend this film for two reasons: First, it's Gene Hackman's all-time GREATEST performance and second, this film is a CLASSIC of the Action/Drama genre....more info
  • Hackman/Scheider take on drug traffickers
    The French Connection is a great police thriller from 1971 with great performances from its cast and a realistic feel to the whole thing. Connection follows New York narcotics officers Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo as they try and track down several men involved with a drug deal that will bring in as much as $32 million dollars. As sure as Popeye is that something is going to happen, his superiors don't believe him. This is a gritty, no-nonsense cop thriller that has aged pretty well since 1971. Always well known for the car/train chase with Hackman speeding along under the L train, Connection belongs up there with Bullitt and the Dirty Harry movies as one of the best cop movies ever. Don't miss this classic or its sequel which is almost as good.

    In the performance that won him the Oscar, Gene Hackman plays Popeye Doyle, the obsessed narcotics officer who will stop at nothing to bring his man in. Doyle is not a likable character, and this is part of what makes this movie more enjoyable because nothing is straightforward, everything is open for interpretation. Fernando Rey is perfectly slimy as Alain Charnier, the organizer of the drug deal that will bring in $32 million. Roy Scheider is excellent in a supporting role as Buddy Russo, Popeye's partner on the case. The movie also stars Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi, two men involved with Charnier. The Five Star Collection DVD features a ton of worthwhile features. Disc One features the movie in widescreen presentation, two commentary tracks, and a trailer. Disc Two offers two making of documentaries, both very good, deleted scenes, director William Friedkin talks about those scenes, and a still gallery. The DVD is a must have for fans of the movie. For an exciting, tense and very realistic cop thriller, check out Gene Hackman in The French Connection!...more info
  • Hackmans defining role. Topical classic of its day.
    This fast paced classic was the vehicle for Hackmans prodigious talent and a lot more besides.It tells the story of two Detectives who pick up the scent of a major drug bust. loosely based on an actual case the script traces the unrelenting efforts of these Detectives played by Hackman (Popeye Doyle)and scheider (Cloudy Russo)to identify the main players behind one of the biggest drug importations up to that time.This movie unlike the later sequel was reasonably true to the general facts of the actual case although it chooses to ignore the fact that the drugs were in fact stolen after they had been seized, which was most probably an inside job as they were stolen from the custody of the Police. It is a mystery why this aspect did not form the storyline of the sequel when in fact the script writers chose a completely fictional theme for the sequel, but then I guess what really went down did not lend itself to an exciting storyline especially when the case was never completely solved.The movie itself is carried by the stellar performances of Hackman and Sheider and is further enhanced by a great location and a better than average supporting cast. The part of Alain Charnier or Frog One was perfectly cast with the very fine actor Fernando Rey producing a stand out performance in both movies. It would not do the movie justice if it were merely remembered for the brilliant car chase although car chase buffs would no doubt disagree. That the movie won as many oscars that year is testimony to its greatness. Hackman showed in spades in this landmark performance that he was Hollywood top shelf and went on to excell in many more although none better than this in my opinion. This was Hackmans defining role as was Patton with respect to George C Scott. A very watchable film somewhat drawn out in parts but never boring. A true classic in many ways. ...more info
  • THE FRENCH CONNECTION! (1971)
    Starting the gritty cop dramas to follow, THE FRENCH CONNECTION can only be describes in one word: Gritty. Before all the glamour that is the Hollywood blockbuster there was THE FRENCH CONNECTION. With no CGI or huge explosions how was this film ever great? during this review I'll tell you why THE FRENCH CONNECTION won 5 Academy Awards icluding Best Picture.

    For the starters the film is fast. It holds nothing back with it's quick chases and startling uncovering of the facts the movie is rlentless. It moves along at apace rarely seen anymore. The movie is only about an hour and 40 minutes. Before the story has started it's already done and you're left to figure it out. To have the audience believe that this is really happening the performance of Gene Hackman is truly top- notch. He's not a real complicated character and in the script he's written pretty straight forward but Hackman puts a twist, a lonely side to "Popeye" (his nickname in the movie that is typically looked over in the film's first viewing while most are just waiting for the famous car chase. The movie shows modern day problems that people have with the law including racism and Hackman's character chases down and beats a black guy for some intel. The movies shows that cops were just as crooked then to get what they wanted people just din't care. Popeye is an old fashioned cop who does what he has to, to get what he needs no matter the level of damage he creates in getting there.

    I read Roger Eberts review to see what he thought of the film and he says the story hardly matters in the film. I have a hard time taking a side in this debate. The movie' plot is sort of irrelevent in a way. The movie really needs no specific story for what it's trying to say. THE FRENCH CONNECTION is in no way light on story, it just takes a back seat to the unfolding of an unknown mystery of the characters and how far they will take or can take of dead ends and stakeouts.

    Director William Friedkin (THE EXORCIST) gives the film a fast pace with close ups and chases spread across the scenery of twisting New York. He keeps a certain pace of uncertainty of the line between good and bad just likes 2001' TRAINING DAY. Friedkin's job is not underrated because he won the Oscar but is truly unappreciated.

    THE FRENCH CONNECTION is unlike any other cop film ever! It never slows down not even to let you realize how many connections it truly has to modern day motifs of fear, uncertainty, and chaos just like it's main character....more info
  • 35 years later, still nothing like it
    There are many great old films that I've never seen, and I'm finally making up for lost time. I was 12 years old when this one came out, and just saw it for the first time. I'm truly amazed at the style in which it was filmed, and amazed that no one else has been able to duplicate it. In the first place, it's so gritty that you can feel it between your teeth. Subsequent cop dramas have reached this feel in different ways, but "The French Connection" is that rare film that doesn't feel like a film at all; it feels like the viewer is along for the ride, eavesdropping on the characters, and taking part in the action. Really remarkable.

    Gene Hackman's star-making role as Popeye Doyle is the dictionary definition of "unblinking," as this womanizing, racist, over-the-top violent slob pursues a hunch that leads to a huge drug bust, all while an unfriendly fellow detective reminds him often that one of his past hunches had led to the death of "a good cop." No detail is given, just as would not be given in a real-life situation. The willingness of the director and screenwriter to not overdo these little details is a joy to behold, while the pace and texture of the entire movie are perfect from start to finish.

    Anyone who likes action films but hasn't seen "The French Connection" owes it to him/herself to do so right away....more info
  • Classic film gets a pointless, gimmicky, distracting visual overhaul on Blu-Ray; stick with the 2001 "Five Star Collection" DVD
    "The French Connection" is a fantastic time capsule of a film; a solid crime drama enhanced tremendously by great performances, terrific stunt work and wonderful location shooting in and around NYC that captures The Big Apple during its 1970's heyday as a scummy, gritty cesspool of a town. It's a fine example of 1970's American cinema, a classic of its type and a must-see, if not a must-own, for fans of crime dramas and police procedurals.

    Regarding specifically the Blu-Ray edition of the film, Director William Friedkin has apparently decided that the gritty, documentary-like feel to the original cinematography of his film was not gritty and documentary-like enough; using various digital filters, he has amped up the graininess, distorted and smeared the color scheme, while blowing out the contrast in order to give "The French Connection" a worn-out, distorted look that really does change the visuals of the film... and in no small way, either.

    Unfortunately, this "new" look adds absolutely nothing to the film's impact save for scads of fake film grain, alternately faded and overly-saturated hues and crappier contrast. I am by no means a film purist, but the fact is this visual overhaul is pointless, gimmicky and (most problematic) extremely distracting. The added grain will astonish you during certain parts of the film... and not in a good way. People with large televisions especially be warned.

    This is what "The French Connection" cinematographer Owen Roizman had to say on the matter of the film's "new" look:

    "I wasn't consulted. I was appalled by it. I don't know what Billy (director William Friedkin) was thinking. It's not the film that I shot, and I certainly want to wash my hands of having had anything to do with this transfer, which I feel is atrocious."

    I feel for you, Mr. Roizman.

    I infinitely prefer the 2001 Five-Star Collection 2-disc DVD set, and wholeheartedly recommend it over this Blu-Ray. The remastering on the 2001 DVD is terrific (looking especially good upconverted via 1080p), the original cinematography is preserved, and its got hours of extras (in fact, its got virtually all of the extras found on the Blu-Ray incarnation); it's also far cheaper at around $8.00 brand new.

    If you must check out this Blu-Ray, rent before you buy.

    Perhaps its time for Mr. Friedkin to make a new film rather than waste time tinkering on his old ones (or, judging by his last film "Bug", maybe not)....more info