The French Connection (1971)
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I was expecting more of a crime thriller with some twist or something. It was slow and straight. It was like a long cat and mouse game with bits of action sprinkled in.
Watched it yesterday. Great movie, the only thing I noticed was just how grainy it was. Turns out that the Blu-Ray version was butchered by the director for the re-release. The DP was outraged by this change and disowned the movie.
For a 2009 reissue on Blu-ray Disc, William Friedkin controversially altered the film's color timing to give it a "colder" look. Cinematographer Owen Roizman, who was not consulted about the changes, dismissed the new transfer as "atrocious".
Anyways if you want to buy it, buy it on DVD.
Based on true events and people, this cinema vérité classic juggles procedural and action beats and gives Gene Hackman in particular the chance to play the ultimate cop on the edge, very much the Captain Ahab of crime drama. It's also, I found, a film about people following other people. Not so much a chase movie - though they did try to outdo Bullitt at some point - as it is a tail movie. There's a great tailing sequence between Hackman's Popeye Doyle and supposedly-French villain Alain Charnier (Spaniard Fernando Rey has a terrible accent, I'm sorry), and later, the iconic car-train chase sequence, with more besides. It all ends ambiguously, a tribute to both true events and a particular 70s bleakness.
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In 22 official lists
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This movie ranks #8 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
This movie ranks #41 in Time Out's The 101 Best Action Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #45 in Academy Award - Best Picture
This movie ranks #45 in Time Out’s The 100 Best Thrillers
This movie ranks #54 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
This movie ranks #57 in 101 Gangster Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #66 in Akira Kurosawa's A Dream Is a Genius
This movie ranks #93 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
This movie ranks #150 in Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #281 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #298 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #304 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office
This movie ranks #318 in Mark Cousins's The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #332 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #374 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #439 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #485 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #496 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #521 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #529 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #532 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #731 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?