The French Connection
Classic / Crime
Directed by William Friedkin
Gene Hackman as Det. Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle
Fernando Rey as Alain Charnier
Roy Scheider as Det. Buddy 'Cloudy' Russo
Tony Lo Bianco as Salvatore 'Sal' Boca
Marcel Bozzuffi as Pierre Nicoli, Hit Man
Frederic de Pasquale as Henri Devereaux
Bill Hickman as Bill Mulderig
Ann Rebbot as Mrs. Marie Charnier
Harold Gary as Joel Weinstock
Arlene Farber as Angie Boca
Eddie Egan as Walt Simonson
Andre Ernotte as La Valle
Sonny Grosso as Bill Klein
Benny Marino as Lou Boca
Patrick McDermott as Howard, Chemist
Alan Weeks as Willie Craven, drug pusher
Andre Trottier as Wyett Cohn, weapons specialist
Sheila Ferguson as The Three Degrees
Eric Jones as Little Boy
Darby Lloyd Rains as Stripper
Jean Luisi as French detective
The film centers on the illegal importation of drugs in France and New York. In France, a policeman is out on duty keeping his eye on Alain Charnier, a French convict who is importing heroin to the United States. Unfortunately, the policeman is killed by Charnier’s associate, Pierre Nicoli.
Meanwhile, in New York, James Doyle and Buddy Russo are in charge of an undercover surveillance in Brooklyn. Buddy steps ahead to arrest a man after witnessing a drug negotiation happen at a bar, but the man runs away. He ends up cutting Buddy on the arm with a knife, but is captured and beaten. They question him about where he got the drugs and force him to tell them where it is coming from.
Once Buddy's injury is taken care of, James persuades him to go out to the Copacabana for a drink. There James notices Salvatore Boca and his wife Angie trying to please some Mob members associated with the drug world. James convinces Buddy to follow the couple. Even though they run a nice restaurant, they have criminal records. Supposedly Sal tried to rob Tiffany and murdered a guy by the name of DeMarco. His brother went to prison as well for assault and robbery, while Angie was caught stealing. They start to become more suspicious of them when they notice them making several trips to all kinds of nightclubs and driving around in many brand new cars. More things start to show up on them and they are on their way to finding the source of everything in this risky and dangerous world of drugs.
The French Connection was the first R-rated movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since the introduction of the MPAA film rating system. It also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ernest Tidyman). It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roy Scheider), Best Cinematography and Best Sound. Tidyman also received a Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award and an Edgar Award for his screenplay.
In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."