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4.3 out of 5 stars64
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 January 2013
This U.S. blu-ray has three choices of audio
DTS- HD Surround,5.1 Dolby surround and original mono in english.french and spanish audio in 5.1 dolby digital only.
There are a choice of six languages with subtitles including english for the hard of hearing.
I found the picture quality to be a huge improvement on the original UK release which really was a disappointment. there are no colours bleeding all over the place and it still retains it's dark 70's look.even though this is a one BD set compared to the two disc original release most of the extras are on it,The Poughkeepsie Shuffle documentary and Friedkin's explanation for his changing the original colour are not included though.well worth getting if you like this movie and weren't impressed by the first blu-ray's also region free.just make sure it's the march 2012 release that you purchase.
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on 31 December 2008
I agree, with reservations, with the last reviewers comments: this is a great film (one of the very best of the '70s), but perhaps one not ever best suited to Blu Ray technology certainly when compared to newer films. Having said that, this film is over 37 years old now and was originally filmed in a grainy, washed-out semi-documentary style which suits the film perfectly and is indeed integral to its overall impact. The problem is partly that this look coupled with the age of the film itself doesn't transcend well to the high definition medium. This is by no means a restoration of this classic like say The Godfather films before it; as I understand it, its simply being cleaned-up for transfer to Blu Ray disc and the improvements over the previous releases on DVD are negligible at best. I've given this five stars purely because, as a film, its an absolute classic, featuring Gene Hackman at his very best and one of the pivotal moments on '70s American cinema. A essential purchase, but only if you don't already have it on DVD.
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on 21 March 2012
Let's get onto the blu ray review the transfer has been ruined with Friedkin's colour timing tinkering although over the last couple of years i got used to it but always wished the original un-tinkered version was released.

There are lots of special features on this 2 disc set which will please fans sound quality is also good on the disc.

Good news here for fans of the film Best Buy in the US has released a new blu ray of the french connection supervised by both William friedkin & Owen Roizman it is region free. I bought my copy off e-bay and the picture is miles better & worth importing.

Update i noticed amazon are now selling the new blu ray of the french connection it has William Friedkin's signature on it the disc was released in march 2012.

New Update the UK has released a steelbook version of the french connection and it has been confirmed it is the same transfer as the 2012 US signature series reviewed above.

My advice would be buy the UK steelbook or the US Signature series if cheaper but avoid the UK 2009 disc at all costs.
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on 20 July 2011
This film is one of the all time classics, a crime thriller that really breaks the mould.

Gene hackman spent months working with the real Detective who worked this case (who also appears in the film)

A second DVD of the making of and a Mark Kermode program about the film are included which are great and maybe worth a watch before the film to help you see more detail in the film.

Anything featuring Mark Kermode is always worth a good look at. In my opinion he is one of the great movie reviewers, knows his subject and is able to articulate a conversation that makes you also ask the same questions he does.

Like Bullitt, and the Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry films, this is an example of great 70's police drama.
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on 7 July 2010
The French Connection is a 1970's American crime thriller film starring Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider. The two cops get involved in a series of events that eventually lead to the uncovering of one of the biggest ever narcotics smuggling attempt.

The casual cop from New York "Popeye" Doyle and his partner Russo form an extraordinary team. They live casually and often go out together. One late evening they follow up the trail of a curious couple only to find out that in spite of their extravaganza night life they are the moderate owners of a cafe under disguise. They suspect foul play yet can not find any clue. After their superiors have given up on them the incidents begin to unfold.

The film is set on various places in New York and South France. The director William Friedkin wanted to give the audience the real deal so do not be surprised the typical street and alleys in the film. The grim scenery of the Big Apple revolves around the realistic plot of the story.

The most remembered scene in the film is the famous car chase which was mathematically calculated and edited, to be rewarded by an Academy Award for Film Editing. Gene Hackman and the stunt driver Bill Hickman did a brilliant job, making the chase maybe the best ever car chase in the modern films. The scrapping of a new car suspected of carrying narcotics by the elderly police mechanic, the detection of the purity of the drug by a young drug expert-junkie and the failed chase for the capture of Alain Charnier are the moments that will stay forever in my mind.

A newly but lately found gem worth watching over and over again.
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on 7 March 2009
Both the first film, winner of 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture 1971 -directed by William Friedkin ('The Exorcist', 'Cruising' The Exorcist - Director's Cut [DVD] [1974]Cruising [DVD] [1980]) and the second, directed by John Frankenheimer ('I Walk The Line', 'Ronin') I Walk the Line [DVD] [1970] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] are here presented in lovingly restored anamorphic letterbox presentation, together with a treasury of archival material, extras, trailers, production notes, cleaned up sound mixes and detailed commentaries, not only from the directors and crew, but also from the actors themselves.

The first film offers the most 'meat', and Friedkin clearly enjoyed making this film as detailed in the interviews on the disc plus an extended 53 minute BBC 'making of...' documentary that goes into fascinating detail about the criminal case, based fairly closely upon a true story with real police detectives.

The second film is a different animal entirely, that demonstrates Frankenheimer's clear affection for France, in this case the port of Marseille - throughout. What is notable for this film is its infamous, harrowing, and almost unbearable scenes involving a particular aspect of the Heroin criminal underground -which I won't spoil for you here- in which which actor Gene Hackman plays the driven, resolute 'Popeye' Doyle in a convincingly real and desperate scene.

Yes, they are a little long in the tooth, being made in the early 1970's - nevertheless, these two films have not lost one iota of their seedy rawness, or indeed, as grit and grime dioramas of a squalid, deeply unglamorous criminal drug underworld while detailing the workaday aspects of routine police work via the unconventional but dedicated methods of two tough cops, 'Popeye' Doyle and Eddie Regan, who are determined to expose it. Modern flicks such as Lock, Stock... and their ilk have nothing on these two films.

Buy with confidence.
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I'm afraid I have to agree with other reviewers of this Blu Ray version of William Friedkin's masterpiece. It looks awful a large part of the time, which completely ruins the other times when it shines.

Ironically, the problem lies in the film's strength - its gritty portrayal of New York and the drug culture taking a grip of it in the early Seventies. The Director wanted realism - not just in his actor's performances, but literally how their New York playground looked - so he went for that. Movements are blurry, alleyways are hazy, characters are observed from an out-of-focus distance (aping what Popeye Doyle sees) - everything's grimy and washed out - matching the film's down and dirty feel.

Unfortunately when you get outside of the sunny Marseilles sequences and into the seedy bars and restaurants of the Big Apple - the Blu Ray picture resembles worn out videotape - it's really awful. Which is such a shame, because as you watch it again - but this time on the big screen - you realize what a blindingly fabulous film "The French Connection" is - and how it deserved so much better than this (the superb sequel is squeaky clean on Blu Ray - a joy to look at).

In fairness to Fox, the opening credits are squeaky clean - no lines, no scuffs, nothing - no print remains that clean after 38 years, so some restoration has to have been done - unfortunately when you get to the street action - instead of enhancing the watch - the Blu Ray only makes the deliberately grainy effect look even worse.

Half way through it - I couldn't stand to look at it anymore - I turned it off...

Unless you absolutely must own this, rent it first before wasting your hard-earned on yet another dog on this increasingly frustrating format...

What a disappointment.
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on 10 December 2008
This is without a doubt the most horrible picture I have seen on a Blu-ray movie. I already have the Five Star Collection region 1 DVD and the picture quality on that DVD is far superior to this Blu-ray.
First I start with the contrast of the picture. The contrast level is so high that everything has so much blooming effect that the it is hard to watch the movie without squinting. For the record I have calibrated by Sony 40 inch full HD TV using the Video Essentials Blu-ray. I tried to watch the movie using my new Sony BDP-S550 and my PS3, and both showed the same horrible picture. The DVD has the contrast in check and much lower without the loss of picture detail.
Second are the colours. All colours bleed like hell. You can clearly see this in the scene at the villain's mansion when he meets his wife. The red colour in his wife's red hat bleeds all over the wall behind her at 9:38. The DVD's colours are so much better. They don't bleed and the same scene at 9:38 has the red colour of the wife's hat totally in check and no bleeding at all. This bleeding can be seen at all times in the entire movie on the Blu-ray.
Third is the level of film grain. I can accept film grain from old movies, but the picture on this Blu-ray contains such high levels of film grain it almost seems to be a, at least, 5th generation duplicate, perhaps even more.
So with the extreme high contrast, colour bleeding and such high levels of film grain, I have to just warn all people that is even considering buying this Blu-ray to stay clear away.
In the introduction to the movie the director of the movie, William Friedkin, says that this Blu-ray shows the movie as close to his original vision as any release ever has. I just don't know what to think about this. All I keep thinking "Has he seen the movie on the Blu-ray at all?", and if this picture is what he envisioned originally I cannot help but be even more complexed and confused because of the fact that it looks truly horrible. It is so frustrating that the picture was so bad since I truly think that this movie is one of the best crime movies ever made. I will be returning my copy and wait to see if Fox will issue it again with the picture quality that the movie deserves.
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on 19 August 2009
Detective Jimmy Doyle (Hackman) begins an investigation into the supposed dealings of a big drugs deal.

Winner of 5 Oscars and officially the first picture with an 18/R certificate to win the coveted prize, the legendary The French Connection has sparked hefty conversations and still remains as strongly realistic and powerful almost 40 years on.

Gene Hackman's Oscar winning leading role is as perfectly hard and edgy as you want for a tough nut cop who is out to prove his point. The bravado and swagger of the Bonnie and Clyde actor is a scene stealer that generates that great feeling of tension and action, complete male adrenaline that adds tension and spice to a well depicted plot.

The plot centres on Doyle's suspicions about a couple of unusual looking guys behaving strangely. After debating this with his chief the real action starts as Popeye and Cloudy pursue the bad guys. The interesting aspect of this close observation is that it is built completely around speculation rather that hard core evidence and therein lies the deep meaning of this film, what is behind closed doors so to speak. The passion and drama denoted through the debates and speculation adds to the tension within the force and adds a spice to the drama amongst the heavy crime ideologies.

As the tension and the forgettable bad beginning subside does the film settle down with a moderate stakeout and more conversational scenes but then the action picks up with the numerous inclusions of car chases, heavy deception and a finale to remember.

The big car chase was one of the most renowned when filmed in the early 70's. Taking an apparent 5 weeks to get accurate, the chase sees Hackman taking a small wound from a sniper and following the assassin as the mystery man gets on a train and Hackman steals an unsuspecting guy's car, much like he does in Enemy of the state only with more passion and excitement.

As the train flies overhead we see Popeye diverting the traffic and speeding through lights, past the oblivious road users in determination to get his first proper hold on the case. This chase is certainly remarkable as the close calls and shifting camera angles really add to the realism of the moment, in contrast to some of the obviously staged Bond chases. With as much action and intrigue as the Bourne chases, this is a highlight.

Regarding the French mastermind there is a finely staged deception on the train station when the on and off hopping proves to be more than deceiving the other. It is a highly contested battle of minds and a wonderful wave to finish off the sharp war.

The ending is sharp and so sudden you can't believe it. With an accidental shot and a montage of the after effects, the French connection rounds off in a sharp and realistic way, makes this a true crime with wonderful acting and charisma.

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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2008
Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider in early 70's New York City. Dirty, dangerous and gritty NYC. They are narcotic cops after the drug lords who import heroin into NYC via France. The methods and language used by these cops is far from PC but they get the job done!

Oh and it includes one of THE great car chase sequences. What's great about the car chase is that it's just long enough - not a second is wasted.

Much of this film set the way for other such crime films/TV shows and pretty much the standard for car chases in films.

A strong 7/10.
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