Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The French Connection
The French Connection is a 1971 Hollywood film directed by William Friedkin which tells the story of two New York City policemen who are trying to intercept a heroin shipment coming in from France, coming from the infamous "French Connection" trafficking scheme. It stars Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco and Eddie Egan (the real-life policeman on whom Hackman's character was based.)
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, (Gene Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roy Scheider), Best Cinematography and Best Sound.
The French Connection is the first R-rated movie to win Best Picture. Midnight Cowboy had won in 1969, but it was X-rated at the time. The film is often cited as containing one of the greatest car chase sequences in movie history, and car chases, with elaborate stunt work, became de rigueur afterward. This car chase was parodied in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers.
The movie established Friedkin's career and was instrumental in ushering in the era of directors in Hollywood.
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