Tough New York street detective “Popeye” Doyle stumbles upon a ring of drug runners planning to import heroin from France.
Director of The Exorcist William Friedkin uncompromisingly directs one of the great hard-boiled cop dramas of the 1970’s in what can be seen as the granddaddy of popular TV series The Wire. Gene Hackman shines as the flawed cop with a two fisted approach to investigation who is constantly wrong footed and outsmarted by his wily opponent. The gritty, documentary approach has a visceral realism and makes for some of the most memorable action sequences of the era, especially the El-train car chase in which Doyle virtually destroys his commandeered automobile. Tautly directed and breathlessly paced, there is no room for soapy personal relationships or love interests, just a single investigation from inception to shaky conclusion.
The film ends a little abruptly and there is little time to invest any personal attachments to the characters but as cop dramas go, The French Connection is as hard-nosed as a head butt to the face. Classic stuff.