Review by Brian Koller|
3½ stars out of 4
"The French Connection" is probably the most famous and heavily
praised of all buddy-cop films. It is an excellent film
with much action and dramatic tension.
Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider play cynical but determined
New York City cops out to bust a big heroin ring. Stake-outs
and hunches lead to encounters with the criminals, who vary
from dangerous assasins to wealthy businessmen to streetwise
hoodlums. There is a famous "chase" scene which has Hackman
driving a car, recklessly weaving through traffic, following
a sniper who has commandeered a train.
"The French Connection" won a mountain of Academy Awards.
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Film
Editing, and Best Writing. The Academy must have been
impressed by the film's gritty edge and realism, and forgiven
its excesses (Hackman engages in violence, threats and racial
slurs; He accidentally kills a cop which is given trivial
treatment; In one scene his young blonde one-night-stand
has handcuffed his leg to a bedpost; There are the usual
dramatic arguments between the "rogue" cops and their
There are some great moments besides the chase sequence.
Hackman tries to follow criminal mastermind Fernando Rey,
who plays cat and mouse games to escape. Another great scene
has Hackman and Scheider tapping a criminal couple's home phone,
and falling over laughing after hearing the wife lay down
The Three Degrees appear as nightclub performers. They are
best known for the hit "When Will I See You Again."
Is "The French Connection" the best buddy-cop film ever?
Perhaps it doesn't qualify, since Scheider has a lesser part.
Maybe "48 HRS. (1982)" is a better movie. But it avoids
the pitfalls of later police dramas, which are too heavily
cynical or have unrealistic portrayals of the cops
Copyright © 1999 Brian Koller