Part of A Tribute to William Friedkin
Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner (Roy Scheider) are New York City police detectives on narcotics detail, trying to track down the source of heroin from Europe into the United States. THE FRENCH CONNECTION broke plenty of new ground for screen thrillers — Popeye Doyle was a highly unusual “hero,” an often violent, racist and mean-spirited cop whose dedication to his job fell just short of dangerous obsession. The film’s high point, a high-speed car chase with Popeye tailing an elevated train, was one of the most viscerally exciting screen moments of its day and set the stage for dozens of action sequences to follow. This gritty, fast-paced and innovative police drama earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor.
"Friedkin constructed THE FRENCH CONNECTION so surely that it left audiences stunned… As amoral as its hero, as violent, as obsessed and as frightening.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times (Jan 1, 1971)