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The French Connection
Directed By
William Friedkin
Produced By
Philip D'Antoni
Written By
Ernest Tidyman
Gene Hackman
Fernando Rey
Roy Scheider
Tony Lo Bianco
Marcel Bozzuffi
Edited By
Gerald B. Greenberg
Music By
Don Ellis
Distributed By
200px-Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg.png
Release Date
October 9, 1971
104 minutes
Rating R.gif
$1.8 million

The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It starred Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey and Roy Scheider. The film was adapted and fictionalized by Ernest Tidyman from the non-fiction book by Robin Moore. It tells the story of New York Police Department detectives named "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso. Egan and Grosso also appear in the film, as characters other than themselves.

It 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."


The tale of NYC cop "Popeye" Doyle and his partner, "Cloudy" Russo. One day, they stumble upon a huge shipment of heroin from France. The trail leads to notorious drug kingpin, Alain Charnier. A huge success and a classic piece of seventies Hollywod cinema. The film made a star of Gene Hackman and also jettisoned Roy Scheider. Based on the true story of the two cops who would stop the drug trafficking between France and the US, it was a huge success, both financially and critically. The film won five Academy Awards, for Best Actor (Hackman), Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. Thus it would come close to winning the five big, but lacked a female main character. It also won for editing and features the best car chase of its time.


  • 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 Nicol
  • Frédéric 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
  • André Ernotte as La Valle
  • Sonny Grosso as Clyde Klein
  • Benny Marino as Lou Boca
  • Patrick McDermott as Howard
  • Alan Weeks as Willie Craven
  • Andre Trottier as Wyett Cohn
  • The Three Degrees (singers)
  • Randy Jurgensen as Police Sergeant
  • Eric Jones as Little Boy (uncredited)
  • Darby Lloyd Rains as Stripper (uncredited)
  • Jean Luisi as French detective (uncredited)


Critical response

The film has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus saying, "Realistic, fast-paced, and uncommonly smart, The French Connection is bolstered by stellar performances by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, not to mention William Friedkin's thrilling production."