Dir. William Friedkin (1971).
Fraught with urban decay and racial tension, this bang-bang procedural created a paradigm for the tell-it-like-it-is cop drama, grounding the fantastic exploits of Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle in a gritty naturalism. With its disaffected cops and adrenaline-pumped action montage, The French Connection originally seemed like glorified Don Siegel; but while Siegels Dirty Harry provided an anti-establishment legal vigilante, The French Connection swept the Oscars with its portrait of a heroic working-class narc.
Fri., March 5, 6:15 p.m., 2010