The French Connection

When this film came out in 1971 it was rated R, mostly for violence and the use of some very salty language. These days it is not shocking at all, Marvel films have a lot more violence (but no salty language). Times have changed, and film making has too.

The story is quite simple, Gene Hackman (now 86 years old) is a renegade narcotics detective who loves busting drug dealers, and along with his partner played by Roy Scheider, they latch onto a big time French heroin dealer who wants to sell a large amount of heroin in New York. The rest of the film is basically just Gene and Roy tailing the drug dealers and waiting for the big deal to go down so they can swoop in a bust asses.

This was actually based on a real story about two real NYPD detectives by the names of Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, both of whom went on to work in TV and film.

The story is gritty stuff, and the locations in New York are dirty, run down, and rough. What a place New York was back then, it looked like a dump in places, but it also had character.

The centrepiece of the film is a car chase where Gene chases a train on which an assassin is trying to escape. There is a good write up about the chase here, and watch the video at the 2:41 mark where a guy unsuspectingly drives into filming of the chase and his car was smacked hard.

“Why you stupid assho… Hey! That’s Gene Hackman!”

Today this film is considered a classic, which I did not really think when I was watching it, although I did like this film a lot. But, after reading about it on the internet, especially Roger Ebert’s review, I can see why.

Very much well worth watching.

Date watched: January 27th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2017: 20


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