It's amazing to see how well The French Connection holds up almost 50 years after its original release date. This intense crime thriller, based on the non-fiction book by author Robin Moore (itself based on the real-life "French Connection" scheme), became one of several critical and commercial hits by acclaimed director William Friedkin, whose follow-up project would be a little smash hit known by the name The Exorcist.
A winner of several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, The French Connection tells the story of two police detectives "Popeye" Doyle (Hackman) and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo (Scheider). Two rough-around-the edges cops, they work for the drug enforcement division in downtown New York, tracking down targets involved in drug connections and other schemes throughout town. They soon hear, however, of a large-scale operation stemming from Italy about to take place, led by crime lord Alain Charnier (Rey). The race is on for Popeye and Cloudy as they try to uncover the mysteries behind this operation and put an end to it before all hell breaks loose.