Talk about your original chase movie! Wow! Definitely another great movie on this list!
William Friedkin's gritty police drama portrays two tough New York City cops trying to intercept a huge heroin shipment coming from France. An interesting contrast is established between 'Popeye' Doyle, (Gene Hackman) a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hard-working and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis Alain Charnier, a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America. During the surveillance and eventual bust, Friedkin provides one of the most gripping and memorable car chase sequences ever filmed.
What stood out to me the most about this movie was the amount of suspense and drama that was created just through the screen play. They didn't need huge million dollar explosions to capture the audiences attention. The action in the movie was actually more realistic which made it more thrilling. Some action movies these days, (I'm looking at you Tom Cruise..and your aliens) spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create these elaborate and intricate scenes that at the end of you ust turn to the person next to you and say, "Yea, that could never happen." Is it entertaining? Yes! Of course it is! You just saw Bruce Willis jump from a building to a helicopter where a terrorist is holding his daughter hostage, that's incredible. But could a man his age, and in his shape really do that? I mean, I know some adrenaline must be pumping to have helped him... but come on... With The French Connection, you don't need all of the flash.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Popeye Doyle follows Alain Charnier into a subway tunnel. You think Alain is unaware of Popeye's presence until Alain initiates a game of cat and mouse by hoping on and off the train, and eventually ending up on the moving train waving goodbye to Popeye standing on the platform. Here is a little clip of the movie (I think this is a good idea to start adding these..) where you can see a bit of this scene.