The French Connection (1971), the William Friedkin film, has a potent New York City flavor and is good at presenting the determination of drug traders to acquire a lot of dough.  Gene Hackman is perfect as Detective “Popeye” Doyle, but there is virtually nothing admirable about the man.  He stinks.

The movie is not as witty as some have believed.  The talk can be coarse and sophomoric, and it sometimes seems insufficient.  The urgent music is a bit overused, and . . .well, other blemishes in this demotic film are well catalogued.  On the other hand, it is a thrilling thriller.

Cover of "The French Connection"

Cover of The French Connection