The French Connection (1971)

The time is just right for an out and out thriller like this.

Blu-ray, 1h 44min
Rating: 7.7
Votes: 103707
Languages: English, French
Country: USA
Director: William Friedkin
Music: Don Ellis

Plot outline

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Personal notes



A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. - Ian Pugh

William Friedkin's gritty police drama portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. An interesting contrast is established between 'Popeye' Doyle, a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hard-working and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis Alain Charnier, a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America. During the surveillance and eventual bust, Friedkin provides one of the most gripping and memorable car chase sequences ever filmed. - Tad Dibbern

Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy Russo are Brooklyn-based NYPD narcotics detectives who often work undercover. They make a lot of arrests, but they are all of small time users, busting who which makes no dent in the NYC drug trade. While the two are out for drinks one night at a club, Popeye sees a table of people which to him doesn't seem right, the people who include an unknown "big spender" out of his league next to known organized drug criminals. Just for fun, they decide to tail the big spender and his girl. Beyond the couple's obvious suspicious activity, they find out that they are Sal and Angie Boca, small time crooks who own and operate a Brooklyn newsstand/luncheonette. Based on other evidence including information from one of their snitches of rumors of a major drug shipment entering New York, Popeye and Buddy get the official albeit reluctant OK from their superior to surveil Sal to find if he leads them to the incoming drug shipment, that surveillance including authorization for wiretaps. That surveillance does show that Sal is connected and that the probable persons selling the drugs are two Frenchmen having recently arrived in the city. It then becomes a game of cat and mouse as Sal and the two Frenchmen, Alain Charnier and his muscle Pierre Nicoli, are aware that they are being tailed, the two Frenchmen in particular who are willing to go to any lengths to protect their investment, estimated street worth of approximately $32 million. Popeye, Buddy and their third, Mulderig, who has an antagonistic relationship with Popeye due to Mulderig's belief that Popeye's police work led to the death of a colleague, have to learn when the lead is not the three men but the locale of the drugs themselves. - Huggo

Popeye Doyle and Buddy Russo get wind of a big shipment of heroin and begin a tail of the suspects, and their French Connection, two French nationals who are the european link. As money troubles begin for the hoods they decide to kill Popeye and Buddy to give them enough room to bring in the heroin. A combination of police procedural and action/car chase. - John Vogel

Police partners Doyle and Russo put a candy store under surveillance based on a hunch that something fishy was going on. Eventually it turns out that the proprietors are involved in one of the biggest narcotics smuggling rings on either side of the Atlantic, and the cops go to work. - Philip Brubaker

Alain Chanier is a dapper businessman from Marseilles, France, who is in reality a drug lord working on a big score - to sell $32 million worth of 89% pure heroin to New York City. But his potential buyer - small-time hood Salvatore Boca - is being tailed by two undercover NYC cops, James "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo. The more Popeye and Cloudy dig, the closer they get - to where Chanier agrees to an attempt on Popeye's life that results in a brutal train hijacking and automobile pursuit, and eventually to a showdown between police and mobsters outside the city. - Michael Daly