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The French Connection (1971)

1 rating: -3.0
Mystery & Suspense movie directed by William Friedkin

William Friedkin's classicpolicierwas propelled to box-office glory, and a fistful of Oscars, in 1972 by its pedal-to-the-metal filmmaking and fashionably cynical attitude toward law enforcement. Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle, a brutally pushy New York … see full wiki

Tags: Movies
Director: William Friedkin
1 review about The French Connection (1971)

Another poor recreation of history

  • Jun 21, 2007
As with most movies based on real life, this movie is a poor recreation of the original. The real French connection refers to a trans-Atlantic heroin trade with roots in the Cold War, organized crime and the CIA. The history begins in the 1950's. As the Iron Curtain descends on Eastern Europe, communist parties throughout the rest of Europe make gains in local and national politics. Their rise is most noticeable in France where they poll well in elections. In response, the US CIA allies itself with members of France's organized crime network to undermine the French communists in ways both illegal (by both French and American laws) and immoral. The CIA gets willing henchmen in France, and in exchange they turn a blind eye towards other illicit activities such as heroin smuggling. Some believe the CIA even aided the drug trade, but this is still a point of contention. The heroin smuggled from the Port of Marseilles arrives in East coast cities such as New York. One major effect is the corruption of the New York Police Department.

This movie leaves out the CIA, the Cold War fight, and even the police corruption, and focuses solely on the contact and ensuing conflict between several of the heroin smugglers and two US cops, Buddy and Popeye. The former is careful, by-the-books, and honest. The latter is reckless, brutal, violent, and a womanizer. When released, this movie was groundbreaking in the level of violence involved, bad language, its depiction of police life and police officers (Popeye's character), and was probably the first major movie to revolve around the international drug trade. Watching it now in the 21st movie, the movie is quite boring. The dialog is meager in quantity and poor in quality. The violence is actually tame. The car chase scenes were soon surpassed in excitement by those in the Blues Brothers (1980). The character development is minimal and the portrayal of the criminal life is also minimal. Even the archetypal relationship between the reckless cop and the by-the-books cop has been recreated better in movies such as Training Day and Lethal Weapon. In fact, the movie seems to be one long series of gunfights between good guys and bad guys. It sure says a lot about movie quality back in the early 1970s if this movie could get so many Academy Awards. Not worth the time to watch it or the money to rent/buy it.

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