Directed by: William Friedkin
Starring: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
The French Connection is famous for having a cool and involved car chase, and the fact that a movie can be renowned for something like a car chase is really telling. Nothing against it, because it is neat, but… a car chase? Jesus Christ.
A pair of cops, a normal one and a crazy one, are trying to bust a drug deal in the streets of New York, but it turns out that busting decently-organized criminals is fuckin’ hard. Stupid jerks and their evading the law.
How is this different than Lethal Weapon? Let me count the ways. The characters are dynamic, interesting, and they evolve noticeably in only an hour and a half. There is actual tension and you aren’t sure if the good guys are going to catch the bad guys because, instead of one-dimensional catch phrases and puns, there is an exciting back-and-forth between the views of the heroes and the villains. Also, Gene Hackman’s crazy cop character? I’m not really sure if he qualifies as a “good guy”, but you root for him anyway, and that’s just wonderful.