The French Connection (1971) Review

Two NYC cops Jimmy Doyle and Buddy Russo are with the Narcotics Bureau and stumble upon a drug smuggling job with a French connection. Plenty of chasing will go on as they attempt to find the man in charge Alain Charnier.


To begin with we see things unfolding in Marseille as an undercover detective follows Alain Charnier who runs the world’s largest heron smuggling syndicate. His plan is to smuggle $32 million worth of heroin into the United States by hiding it in a car of his friend who has no idea what is going on, TV personality Henri Devereaux as he travels to New York by ship.

As we then head to New York we find Jimmy Doyle aka Popeye and Buddy Russo aka Cloudy beginning to tail a couple who are entertaining mobsters that are involved in narcotics. They begin to establish links between these people, as well as information about the massive heroin shipment due to arrive on US soil within the next two weeks.

The French Connection is a truly fantastic film to watch, that really manages to captivate you as a viewer. It certainly manages to keep a very European feel to it despite being set in New York. I actually have to admit that I forgot at one point that we were in New York City and I felt as though that was a very strange yet unique feeling when watching a film. Not very often that you are fully lost within it and engrossed to forget a detail like that.

My favourite scene was easily with Charnier and Popeye on the subway platform at Grand Central Station, a true game of cat and mouse that really did manage to generate so much suspense and tension that I throughly loved it. Even though you could see what the outcome was going to be and Popeye was going to left all alone and outwitted by Charnier seeing it unfold really was a special moment within the film. Especially with the cheeky little wave that he gives Popeye as he is left stranded on the platform and then begins to ru after the train.

A Best Picture winning film and it really did more than deserve that, along with Gene Hackman for an actor in a leading role. Again something he truly deserved to get, everything about his performance is just fantastic. Considering he usually takes on the role of a bad guy, I actually really enjoyed seeing him as a cop a very different approach and made the film even better in my personal opinion. Roy Scheider is good in the supporting role and he is an actor I appreciate each and every time I catch up with one of his films. Fernando Rey was naturally a scene stealer, this was just perfect for his role as the rather mysterious mastermind.

The score was utterly brilliant mixed together with the action scenes that were unfolding, really creating the perfect balance for such a well rounded film. Another film where I am left wondering why and how I had not watched it before but also very happy to have caught up and ticked this off the Best Picture Project list!

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