Movie: The French Connection
Release Date: October 7, 1971
Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi
Personal History: Never Watched Before
Rating: 8 Oscars out of 10
I (we) have finally reached the year when I laid my eyes on this planet for the very first time. When ‘The French Connection’ was released on October 7, 1971, I was only a little over six months old, so I did not see it when it was in theaters. Forgive me. However, until now, I had not seen this neo-noir crime action drama that thrilled audiences in the year of my birth. Shame on me.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards and winning five, including Best Picture, ‘The French Connection’ was both a commercial and critical success. It is often hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. A gritty crime drama with explosive action, including that now infamous car chase, ‘The French Connection’ is an entertaining and non-stop thrill ride.
Starring both Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, two of my favorite actors, the movie is extremely well crafted. The directing, screenplay and (especially) the acting kept me riveted to my seat the entire time. Mr. Hackman, who won a deserved Oscar for this role, plays “bad cop” so believably, yet sympathetically you can’t help but root for him to succeed. That is a difficult task to pull off, but he does so marvelously, with a very competent Mr. Scheider by his side.
Directed by William Friedkin, the man who would a few year’s later bring us ‘The Exorcist,’ definitely had a vision and executed it perfectly throughout the movie’s less than two hour run time. It has such a raw look to it and the viewer can’t help but feel thrusted into the action in this thrilling production. I mean, that car chase, filmed over fifty-two years ago, could go head to head with any action sequence produced today.
‘The French Connection’ is that rare action movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture. I think the reason why this film in an often overlooked genre was so honored was for the simple fact that it’s a great film. A film that I can now proudly say I have not only seen, but thoroughly enjoyed.