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The Conversation [DVD] [1974]

Gene Hackman    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
Price: 8.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Conversation [DVD] [1974] + Parallax View, The [1974] [DVD] + 3 Days of the Condor
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Product details

  • Actors: Gene Hackman
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Oct 2011
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,946 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The Conversation is regarded as one of Francis Ford Coppola’s greatest films. 

Two-time Academy Award® winner Gene Hackman (Unforgiven, The French Connection) plays a paranoid and personally-secretive surveillance expert who has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.  This tense thriller makes some remarkably advanced arguments about technology's role in society that still resonate today.

In addition to Apocalypse Now, The Conversation was Coppola’s only other film to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Special Features:

  • Collectible Booklet “The Conversation on The Conversation” – Includes First Reviews of the Movie After its Release in 1974
Over 5.5 Hours of Bonus Material:
  • Never-Before-Seen Archival Audio of Director Francis Ford Coppola Dictating the Original Script
  • Audio Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola
  • Audio Commentary with Supervising Editor Walter Murch
  • Never-Before-Seen Interview with Francis Ford Coppola and Composer David Shire
  • Never-Before-Seen Archival Screen Tests
  • Archival On-set Interview with Gene Hackman

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Orwell warned us.... 26 Sep 2005
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Most of us know at least one person who can compartmentalize her or his life, separating business from pleasure, career from family, etc. Such people have exceptional focus and determination. Brilliantly portrayed by Gene Hackman, Harry Caul is such a person. (Even his girlfriend Amy, played by Teri Garr, does not know where he lives.) Harry is an expert technician who is retained to conduct electronic surveillance of those identified by his clients. In effect, he is a high-tech private investigator. What he records becomes evidence of illegal, unethical, or immoral behavior. Harry has no personal interest in the private lives he invades surreptitiously. But then he accepts an assignment and begins to suspect that the subjects of his surveillance will be murdered. The "compartments" in his life which Harry has so carefully separated begin to merge (albeit gradually) and he begins to have second thoughts about how he earns a living. Of course, he is better qualified than any other character in the film to understand (if not yet fully appreciate) the implications of an invasion of privacy. Under Francis Ford Coppola's brilliant direction, Harry begins to feel paranoid.

I view The Conversation as a dark film because its raises so many questions which seem even more relevant today than they were in 1974. How secure can any life be? Who is accumulating personal as well as professional data about whom? Why? Satellites convey camneras thast can take photographs of a license plate. All of the data on computer hard drives can be recovered. DNA tests can determine whether or not a monarch was poisoned hundreds of years ago. In so many ways, "there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide" from modern technologies.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
'The Conversation' concerns Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a saxophone playing surveillance expert, who records a conversation between two people in a busy San Francisco square. It should have been a routine job for him but its contents haunt him and he gradually descends into paranoia.
The film appears to be a classic 70s thriller in the vein of 'The Parallax View' or 'The French Connection' but is, in many ways, more similar to European art films, particularly Antonioni's 'Blow Up'. It is a consideration of the morality of surveillance and a study of the crippling of a man overcome with guilt and fear.
The film deserves considerable re-viewing not only because of the elaborate growth of Coppola's screenplay but also to consider his sparse images of despair that constantly enforce the invasion of privacy. Gene Hackman delves so deeply into Harry's character that it is almost stifling while David Shire's score is constantly unsettling. Walter Murch provides the innovative sound design and also helps to create the film's atmosphere with his beautiful editing.
The film was the basis for the recent Tony Scott film 'Enemy of the State' and even features Gene Hackman as a Harry Caul like character but the Hollywood update pales in comparison with the original.
This is a considered, intelligent and crafted film and seems more personal than the other, more familiar Coppola classics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Conversation is about a private surveillance expert called Harry Caul (played by Gene Hackman) who gets personally involved in a case after being hired to record a conversation between two people. Caul begins to suspect that the couple may have murder in mind............

The film begins in a straightforward manner, but soon becomes a tricky state of affairs and delves deeply into Caul's personal psyche. This makes it a gripping character piece revolving around loneliness and paranoia; a familiar subject of 70's filmmaking. You only have to witness the likes of Taxi Driver and Serpico to recognise the value of such a theme and ironically, such themes are still important now as they were then.

With it's less than two hour running time, the film still demands patience as Coppola's European `art house' direction ensures a slow burning and absorbing thriller, where he deliberately pans from scene to scene to give that CCTV camera effect. There are also good cameos from a young Harrison Ford and it's nice to see the late John Cazale make another rare appearance.

Francis Ford Coppola directed The Conversation between the two Godfather movies and since he went on to make Apocalypse Now; it's obvious that he was at the height of his creativity. As usual we get a passionate and informative audio commentary from Coppola where he admits the complications surroundings the film and also dedicates his brave attempt at suspense to the Great Alfred Hitchcock. However such complications do reveal a handful of plot holes, but don't let that put you off - as ultimately the film is about personal interpretation and there are no right or wrong answers. At certain stages in the film, Caul is highly paranoid and deep into his own thoughts.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow-burn genius 25 Feb 2004
By Andy Millward VINE VOICE
Forget the fact that The Conversation didn't get the headlines or awards of the Godfather. No flashy razamatazz, just quality writing, directing and acting, not least the finest performance of a glittering career by Gene Hackman as the intensely private and paranoid sound recording expert Harry Caul, who uncovers a plot, but finds himself digging too deep and losing control. The subtlety of Hackman is evident from the spare dialogue - he says little, but expresses his character's thoughts and emotions as though you could read his mind.
This is an intense, smouldering character study with a brilliant twist, fully deserving its place in my personal top 10 films of all time. As with all the best films, it stands repeated watching to appreciate the hidden depths within its apparently simple architecture.
Furthermore, at this price it is an absolute bargain. Buy and enjoy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A paranoid masterpiece - Coppola's most perfect film
Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 psychological thriller The Conversation is without question a masterpiece. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Film Buff
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to know what happens when you start hacking phones?
Fantastic performance by Gene Hackman. Surveillance and intrusion on privacy damages the intruder at least as much as the person intruded on. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Prof Robert J. Pooley
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, dull, ponderous...
Not one of Gene Hackmans' finest. It was like watching treacle dry. Long patches of moody silence and seemingly endless periods of introspection; The subject matter had the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sarah Irvine
5.0 out of 5 stars Cautionary tale
Gene Hackman at his best in the era of film-making when films were not only stylish they were thoughtful and well written.
great performance from the late John Cazale. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Maxine Jarrett
5.0 out of 5 stars So clever!
This film was put together in a time when most of us had not heard of computers, we were not watched all of the time by CCTV cameras, reel to reel tape recorders were normal as... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Petersen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Conversation Like No Other!
This dark, disturbing and sheer brilliant mystery from "The Godfather Trilogy" director Francis Ford Coppola is perhaps often forgotten. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Andrew Stokes
2.0 out of 5 stars what a let down.
It was nobody's fault but my own I assumed that because of the star cast and great director it could'nt fail .it was abysmal. Read more
Published 13 months ago by thelma a o'brien
4.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares And A Guilty Conscience
Gene Hackman has long been an actor I admire. In this 1974 film written and directed by Francis Fird Coppola, he rises to the level of greatness. Read more
Published 13 months ago by prisrob
1.0 out of 5 stars Too slow, too dated!
I saw a write up for this when they showed it on tv recently, and it sounded very good and I like Gene Hackman too so thought this would certainly be worth watching. Read more
Published 15 months ago by I. S. Dixon
3.0 out of 5 stars The story of a surveiilance specialist
This film was written, directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Some of the films of his that I have seen (e.g. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Dr. H. A. Jones
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