The French Connection - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The French Connection Reviews

Page 1 of 115
June 14, 2017
To quote DiCaprio in Django Unchained, "gentlemen, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention". As the 1971 best picture and director winner, it had my curiosity, and 10 minutes in it had my attention. The New York streets have a picture perfect Atmosphere, and the train chase sequence was one of the most memorable scenes in any crime movie. If I had to make a list of the 50 best picture winners, this would be in it.
June 9, 2017
I hoped to like this movie more than I did--maybe I happened to be in a distracted state of mind, but The French Connection didn't hold my attention (minus the car chase/train scene). The storyline isn't as fresh in 2017 that's for sure; I suspect I would have rated this much higher had I watched in 1971. Not one to re-watch.
½ May 28, 2017
boring 70s movie. it needs a remake
½ April 14, 2017
Well directed and authentic.
April 9, 2017
There's no denying how influential Friedkin's brilliant cop thriller is, and the stark imagery that accompanies it. I could continue to comment on the positive values on the film, of which there are many, but then it'd leave you asking why I didn't give it a 'masterpiece' rating. Well firstly, I saw this film for the first time many years ago, and it was due to a small clip of the famous car chase that made me want to watch it so much, and let's face it, that car chase is utter brilliance, the pace, the action, the thrills throughout, and of course that final image where Doyle finally incapacitates the antagonist on the stairs.

Gene Hackman also couldn't have played Doyle any better than he did here, his role as an at-times sadistic cop with a personal chip on his shoulder, thrust within in a gritty, crime-embroiled New York City. But the problem is, there is little-to-no character development, to the extent that despite our longstanding adventure with Doyle, we don't actually care too much of his outcome, this goes likewise with the villains and for Roy Scheider's character. In a movie that's about good versus evil, it's usually vital to give us a character we can relate to, so we can actually distinguish the difference between the good and the evil, so we can actually root for a character's succession. But it never happens, we are presented with the basics of Doyle and that's it, from there on it's about the job.

But as I've previously mentioned, this film is revolutionary in the crime genre, and in cinema as a whole, and I enjoy the experience every time I watch it, the thrilling chase scenes, the gruff embodiment of hate that is Doyle, to the paranoia-clad villains, Friedkin's achievement can't be diminished.
½ March 26, 2017
This movie sucks. How did it win any awards. The lowest ranking allowable is a half start. I wish I could give it negative for taking an hour and forty-four minutes of my life away from me.
½ February 28, 2017
Thrilling and engrossing can't even begin to describe "The French Connection."
February 23, 2017
Spoiler alert: I could tell you how great this movie is but I just wanna talk about Gene Hackman's acting. It was unbelievably good. And I didn't understand that until the final scene. His performance is a masterwork in subtlety and underplaying big themes. Throughout the movie, it's clear that he's tough, a little obsessed with his job, and a bit reckless. The final scene though really makes it clear that Gene Hackman wasn't just delivering a solid performance, but a real and extraordinary performance. When he shows no remorse for accidentally shooting the wrong guy in the end (and I mean not even a flinch, or anything signifying regret) you almost begin to question why you've been rooting for him all along. Has his obsession with the job overridden everything else? This is a portrait of a man who is shallow, trying to fulfill all his basic drives, who doesn't question whether he's a good man or not, but rather assumes it on the basis that he's a policeman and therefore the good guy. He's narcissistic and only cares for catching the 'bad guy' even at the cost of innocent life. Other than this, his performance is just iconic. His voice, face, and hat come together perfectly to show the ideal version of the tough, smart cop. Just an exciting movie all around. Also his partner did great acting. No need for dishonest displays of emotion or overacting of any sort. This is a great film, though slow moving at points in my opinion.
½ February 9, 2017
It's hard to follow mostly because it is so boring. Yet another overrated and terrible film that won Academy Awards. (First and only viewing - 3/3/2011)
½ February 5, 2017
Great movie about real life story.
½ January 25, 2017
This movie is amazing. It is very unique and very intense. Gene Hackman was amazing.
½ January 5, 2017
I had never seen this much lauded movie from 1971 about New York City police detectives intercepting a heroin shipment from France.
The first thing that struck me when watching the film was the grimness of 1970s New York City, its highways, streets and subway are excellently captured by the director with its sounds of street horns replacing the need for a soundtrack.
The main characters are police officers Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his slightly younger partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider).
Hackman and Scheider both look so young when I consider there later roles in films such as Jaws (Scheider) and the Superman franchise (Hackman).
Popeye (not the cartoon character!) is an overtly racist, streetwise cop whilst Russo is the calming influence in the partnership!
The drug side is led by Marseilles entrepreneur Charnier (Fernando Rey), the late Spanish Rey is perhaps best known for his work on some of Luis Buñuel films and has a filmography as big as anyone!
Tony Lo Bianco who I only watched last week in the cult classic The Honeymoon Killers also has a role.
The grime of New York is contrasted with the opulance of Marseilles and a brief scene in Washington DC.
A chase sequence featuring a gas guzzling car of the era against an overhead Subway train is memorable for its editing and realism.
The film won Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Hackman) and editing Oscars.
Whilst good I don't actually rate it as good as Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood. Again perhaps its is the grime of a cold, winter New York versus the relative sunshine of San Francisco?
Also the film ends pretty downbeat with drugs being smuggled into New York via a Lincoln car, Charnier escaping the law and a ruined building scene.
January 2, 2017
The release of "The French Connection" more than anything, seems very timely. Nixon first used the term "the War on Drugs" to describe the systematic (and subliminally racial and politically focused) crackdown on the illegal drug trade at a press conference in June 1971. "The French Connection" had a release date a mere four months later. It doesn't seem coincidental that the film portrays the police as a staunch force for good pitted against a Black drug-consuming underbelly and an encroaching foreign presence trying to taint the American way of life. On the surface, this seems like a Nixonian wet dream, and it's probably one of the reasons it was so devoured upon its original release.

Under the surface, though, we see the toll this takes upon law enforcement and the public at large. In pursuit of a $31 million heroine deal, Gene Hackman's Det. "Popeye" Doyle slowly loses his sanity and perspective of what his role as a police officer is in the first place. During the iconic train pursuit, he steals a car, wrecks it several times, and puts the Brooklyn pedestrian population in needless danger. His mind focuses only on the bust and everything else is consequential. That alone makes the final seconds of the film that more psychologically brutal.

We can take Doyle's struggle and superimpose it on the War on Drugs itself. What is the cost to reward ratio in outlawing narcotics and targeting minority and liberal communities by proxy? No one at the time had that much foresight, but in retrospect "The French Connection" makes a poignant commentary. 7.9/10
September 22, 2016
10 out of 10:

Great action and acting makes The French Connection a tense police thriller.
September 18, 2016
Gritty and seriously entertaining classic!
August 29, 2016
The 70s political, action classic that has a awesome car chase with Gene Hackman being himself, The French Connection is nowhere as great of any action film ever
August 3, 2016
Some of the best car chases you'll ever see on film and an unforgettable character in "Popeye" Doyle. Amazing movie.
½ July 13, 2016
A police thriller which has stood the test of time and showed other moviemakers how it should be done, The French Connection was a film that excited me at times and frustrated me at others. The highlights include the raw, passionate central performance from Gene Hackman as the play-by-his-own-rules cop, sometime before it became a cliché, the steady build of the first half, but most of all the now-legendary car chase through the streets of New York. It's tense, fast-paced, shot beautifully and has a brutal, kinetic energy that had me on the edge of my seat throughout. The drawbacks include an unnecessarily long runtime and a very meandering plot, with several parts of it feeling directionless. It has a pretty sporadic musical score too, with some scenes having no music at all and others having too much. Ironically it's the scenes with no music which I found the most enjoyable, as they rely on all natural sounds, creating a much more realistic atmosphere. It's a seminal movie that ruled the genre at the time, and dictated how future films would be made.
½ July 11, 2016
Visually engrossing with its documentary-style cinematography of 1970 New York, with all its cold but oddly beautiful urban realism.

The long and silent stakeout and foot pursuit scenes commanded my rapt attention.
July 10, 2016
"The French Connection" is a gritty, hard-edged, tough as nails, and savagely smart police thriller led by the thrilling direction of William Friedkin and a superb performance from Gene Hackman. When the chase scene comes, this one holds nothing back.
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