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 Popeye Doyle: All right, Popeye's here! Get your hands on your heads, get off the bar, and get on the wall!

The tale of NYC cop "Popeye" Doyle and his partner, "Cloudy" Russo. One day, they stumble upon a huge shipment of heroin from France. The trail leads to notorious drug kingpin, Alain Charnier. Car chases ensue. A huge success and a classic piece of seventies Hollywod cinema. The film made a star of Gene Hackman and also starred Roy Scheider. Based on the true story of the two cops who would stop the drug trafficking between France and the US, it was a huge success, both financially and critically. The film won many Academy Awards, for Best Actor (Hackman), Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. Thus it would come close to winning the five big, but lacked a female main character. It also won for editing and the car-chase alone is worth it.

The film has examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: The final scene takes place in one.
    • Technically its an abandoned mental hospital.
  • Baby Carriage: A runaway carriage hampers the car chase.
  • Based on a True Story: The film actually used the real duo behind it as the consultants for the film.
  • Beard of Evil: Alain Charnier, AKA "Frog One".
  • Car Chase: One of the most famous in movie history. While Bullitt was the Trope Maker, this was the Trope Codifier.
    • The sequel, meanwhile, climaxes with a chase on foot that's pretty epic in its own right.
  • Catch Phrase: "Ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?" Also becomes Arc Words.
  • Chained to a Bed
  • Cowboy Cop: Doyle.
  • Crapsack World: Just like Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, this is set in the era of "Ford to City: Drop Dead".
  • Downer Ending
  • Flashed Badge Hijack
  • Fruit Cart: Popeye crashes through some garbage cans during the car chase.
  • The Informant
  • Ironic Echo: Non-verbal example. Charnier waves goodbye to Doyle after eluding him on the subway; later, Charnier runs into a police roadblock after making the drop on Ward's Island and Doyle, catching his eye, waves to him in the same manner.
  • Karma Houdini: The bad guys all had their charges dropped. The only one who got jail time was there for only 4 years.
  • Mad Lib Thriller Title
  • New York City Cops
  • New York Subway
  • Nice Hat: Popeye's porkpie hat.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Doyle is forced to drop the investigation by his superiors. One of the traffickers tries to assassinate him. Doyle gets the investigation re-opened.
  • Real Person Cameo: Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso (the real-life inspirations for Popeye Doyle and Cloudy Russo) appear in the film as Simonson and Klein, respectively.
  • Rule of Cool: The real "Popeye" Doyle (or "Popeye" Egan, rather--his name was changed for the film) thought at first that the famous image of Hackman shooting the criminal at the top of the steps was offensive since he would never actually shoot someone In the Back, but he realized later on how the moment worked on film and forgave it.
  • Sequel: 1975's French Connection II, which has Doyle traveling to Marseilles in pursuit of Charnier, finding himself a Fish Out of Water in the French city, and being forced into heroin addiction by Charnier's henchmen. Unlike the original, the sequel's plot is entirely fictional.
    • Then there was Popeye Doyle, a 1986 Made for TV Movie featuring Ed O'Neill in the title role.
  • Skeleton Key Card: Cloudy breaks into Popeye's apartment with a credit card.
  • Stop or I Will Shoot: 'Popeye' guns down the EL assassin as he turns to flee, despite the fact that a) he's now unarmed, and b) Popeye couldn't have been sure the man was the same guy who'd taken a shot at him earlier, as there was little opportunity to get a clear look at his face.
  • Spiritual Successor: 1973's The Seven-Ups, starring Roy Scheider as another New York City cop leading a special organized crime task force. It had the same producer and composer of The French Connection and also had a high speed car chase.
  • Star-Making Role: For Gene Hackman.
  • Throw It In: Tradition has it that the famous baby carriage moment was an accident during filming. In truth it was staged. However, earlier in the chase scene there's a moment where another car smashes into Hackman's at an intersection, and that was a genuine accident that was left in.
  • Translation Convention: Averted, with a lot of (subtitled) French dialogue.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
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