Arguably the greatest American crime film ever made, THE FRENCH CONNECTION stars Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as two NYPD detectives doggedly pursuing the ringleader of a global heroin smuggling syndicate (Fernando Rey). Based on real characters and loosely mimicking real events, the film rebuffs political correctness to portray a grungy, streetwise view of the mean streets of 1970s New York. Distinguished as the first R-rated film to win the Oscar® for Best Picture, it also took home trophies for director (William Friedkin), best actor (Hackman), adapted screenplay (Ernest Tidyman) and editing (Gerald B. Greenberg). In addition to the Oscar® haul, the film is famous for the most relentless and brain-jangling car chase in cinema history. Also featuring Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, who were the real-life inspiration for the Hackman and Scheider characters, as well as Tony Lo Bianco, Luis Bunuel and Bill Hickman, who also doubled as the film’s fearless stunt driver.
35mm print courtesy of the ConstellationCenter Collection at the Academy Film Archive