The French Connection (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Shop


Featured:

Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Enlarge
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The French Connection is a 1971 American action thriller film directed by William Friedkin. The screenplay, written by Ernest Tidyman, is based on Robin Moore's 1969 non-fiction book The French Connection. It tells the story of New York Police Department detectives Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, in pursuit of wealthy French heroin smuggler Alain Charnier. The film stars Gene Hackman as Popeye, Roy Scheider as Cloudy, and Fernando Rey as Charnier. Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi also star. The Three Degrees feature in a nightclub scene.

At the 44th Academy Awards, it won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Director (Friedkin), Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Tidyman). It was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Scheider), Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing. Tidyman also received a Golden Globe Award nomination, a Writers Guild of America Award and an Edgar Award for his screenplay. A sequel, French Connection II, followed in 1975 with Gene Hackman and Fernando Rey reprising their roles.

The American Film Institute included the film in its list of the best American films in 1998 and again in 2007. 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".

Plot

In Marseille, an undercover police detective follows Alain Charnier, who runs the world's largest heroin-smuggling syndicate. The policeman is assassinated by Charnier's hitman, Pierre Nicoli. Charnier plans to smuggle $32 million of heroin into the United States by hiding it in the car of his unsuspecting friend, television personality Henri Devereaux, who is traveling to New York City by ship.

In New York City, detectives Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo go out for drinks at the Copacabana. Popeye notices Salvatore "Sal" Boca and his young wife, Angie, entertaining mobsters involved in narcotics. They tail the couple and establish a link between the Bocas and lawyer Joel Weinstock, who is part of the narcotics underworld.

Popeye learns from an informant that a massive shipment of heroin will arrive in the next two weeks. The detectives convince their supervisor to wiretap the Bocas' phones. Popeye and Cloudy are joined by federal agents Mulderig and Klein.

Devereaux's vehicle arrives in New York City. Boca is impatient to make the purchase—reflecting Charnier's desire to return to France as soon as possible—while Weinstock, with more experience in smuggling, urges patience, knowing Boca's phone is tapped and that they are being investigated.

Charnier realizes he is being observed. He "makes" Popeye and escapes on a departing subway shuttle. To avoid being tailed, he has Boca meet him in Washington D.C., where Boca asks for a delay to avoid the police. Charnier, however, wants to conclude the deal quickly. On the flight back to New York City, Nicoli offers to kill Popeye, but Charnier objects, knowing that Popeye would be replaced by another policeman. Nicoli insists, however, saying they will be back in France before a replacement is assigned.

Soon after, Nicoli attempts to shoot Popeye but misses. Popeye chases Nicoli, who boards an elevated train. Popeye commandeers a car and gives chase. Realizing he is being pursued, Nicoli works his way forward through the carriages, shoots a policeman who tries to intervene and hijacks the motorman at gunpoint, forcing him to drive straight through the next station, also shooting the train conductor. The motorman passes out and they are just about to slam into a stationary train when an emergency trackside brake engages, hurling the assassin against a glass window. Popeye arrives to see the killer descending from the platform. When the killer sees Popeye, he turns to run but is shot dead by Popeye.

After a lengthy stakeout, Popeye impounds Devereaux's Lincoln Continental. He and his team take it apart searching for the drugs, but come up empty-handed. Cloudy notes that the vehicle's shipping weight is 120 pounds over its listed manufacturer's weight. They remove the rocker panels and discover the heroin concealed therein. The police restore the car to its original condition and return it to Devereaux, who delivers the Lincoln Continental to Charnier.

Charnier drives to an old factory on Wards Island to meet Weinstock and deliver the drugs. After Charnier has the rocker panels removed, Weinstock's chemist tests one of the bags and confirms its quality. Charnier removes the drugs and hides the money, concealing it beneath the rocker panels of another car purchased at an auction of junk cars, which he will take back to France. Charnier and Sal drive off in the Lincoln, but hit a roadblock with a large contingent of police led by Popeye. The police chase the Lincoln back to the factory, where Boca is killed during a shootout while most of the other criminals surrender.

Charnier escapes into the warehouse with Popeye and Cloudy in pursuit. Popeye sees a shadowy figure in the distance and opens fire a split-second after shouting a warning, killing Mulderig. Undaunted, Popeye tells Cloudy that he will get Charnier. After reloading his gun, Popeye runs into another room and a single gunshot is heard.

Title cards note that Weinstock was indicted but his case dismissed for "lack of proper evidence"; Angie Boca received a suspended sentence for an unspecified misdemeanor; Lou Boca received a reduced sentence; Devereaux served four years in a federal penitentiary for conspiracy; and Charnier was never caught. Popeye and Cloudy were transferred out of the narcotics division and reassigned.

Cast

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The French Connection (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools