Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Harry Caul (Hackman), a paranoid surveillance expert, has the task of monitoring a couple's conversation and activities. Though Caul may be expert at surveilling others, there is ample evidence that he has not taken basic measures to secure his own life from surveillance. A similar theme -- securing one's life from surveillance -- occurs in a later film in which Hackman stars, Enemy of the State.
The film was released shortly after the Watergate scandal broke, and deals with issues of personal responsibility and the encroachment of technology on privacy.
The film is consistently listed on the Internet Movie Database's list of top 250 films, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. It won the 1974 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for the year of 1973:
- Academy Award for Best Picture (Francis Ford Coppola)
- Academy Award for Best Sound (Walter Murch & Art Rochester)
- Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay (Francis Ford Coppola)
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