Years & Movies: 1971

The best film in the world cinema of 1971, according to FilmGourmand, was named the film by William Friedkin "The French Connection".

The literary basis for the film was Robin Moore's non-fiction book "The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy". This book documents the grueling investigation of real-life New York detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso as they try to uncover the members of a major drug business. And the traces of this drug business lead to France.

The most remarkable feature of this film, noted by almost all film critics, was its maximum approximation to real conditions. Proximity in everything: filming on the streets of New York without the usual fences and preliminary preparation and dressing up in such cases, using real police slang and behavior, etc. This is understandable, since many real police officers were involved either in direct participation in mass filming, such as the aforementioned Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, or in consulting professional actors.

To some extent, semi-documentary, if not austere, style of filming was due to the scarcity of the film's budget, which amounted to only 1.8 million dollars (which is about 12 million dollars today). What then, what today, this amount does not cover the fee of even one average movie star. (For example, Scarlett Johansson's fee for "Avengers: Endgame" was $ 35 million, and two Chris', Evans and Hemsworth, received $ 15 million each for the same film.) For this reason, Paul Newman whom William Friedkin really wanted to see in the lead role refused to star in this film. But Gene Hackman, who agreed to a fee of 100 thousand dollars (or 656 thousand today's dollars), received an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a British BAFTA award for his role in this film.

The premiere of the film "The French Connection" took place on October 7, 1971 simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles. After 2 days, the film was shown all over America.

At the beginning of 1972, "The French Connection" received 4 Golden Globe nominations, of which it won three, including the most important: Best Motion Film - Drama and Best Director. Following this, Fridkin's film received 8 Oscar nominations, of which it won 5, including the most important: Best Picture and Best Director.

In the same 1972, "The French Connection" was noted at European film forums, receiving the Italian film award David di Donatello as Best Foreign Film. But a year later, in the competition for the British BAFTA awards in the nominations for Best Film and Best Director, "The French Connection" and its creator William Friedkin lost, respectively, to the film "Cabaret" and its director Bob Fosse. The company of relative "losers" to Fridkin's film was "A Clockwork Orange" by Stanley Kubrick and "The Last Picture Show" by Peter Bogdanovich.

The majority of film critics accepted the picture "The French Connection" with enthusiasm, but with a very specific enthusiasm. For example, Roger Ebert noted in his review: "Doyle himself is a bad cop, by ordinary standards; he harasses and brutalizes people, he is a racist, he endangers innocent people during the chase scene (which is a high-speed ego trip). But he survives. He wins, too, but that hardly matters. "The French Connection" is as amoral as its hero, as violent, as obsessed and as frightening." The film, characterized in this way, was rated by Roger Ebert with the maximum possible 4 stars. However, it should be noted that Ebert did not include in his list of "Great Movies", despite his own high assessment.

And British film critic Jeff Andrew of Time Out wrote about "The French Connection": "An urban crime thriller which won undeserved acclaim for its efficient but unremarkable elevated-railway chase and its clumsy, showy emphasis on grainy, sordid realism. The performances are strong, although Hackman has done far better than this portrayal of a hard-nosed cop obsessively tracking down a narcotics ring in New York, using methods disapproved of by his superiors. The real problems, however, are that Friedkin's nervy, noisy, undisciplined pseudo-realism sits uneasily with his suspense-motivated shock editing; and that compared to (say) Siegel's Dirty Harry, the film maintains no critical distance from (indeed, rather relishes) its 'loveable' hero's brutal vigilante psychology."

In other words, both laudatory and negative, the reviews equally boil down to singling out its protagonist - a cruel, brutal policeman - as the main "attraction" of the film. Somewhere close to this assessment is the opinion of the Russian film critic Andrei Malov: “In fact, Friedkin made a movie with a double bottom. Behind the eventful series, there is something unintentionally dangerous: the behavior of criminals and cops is equally aggressive and, as it were, abstracted from everyone else. It looks more like a two-sided battle, which is not always amenable to an explanation from the standpoint of common sense."

Regarding the evaluations of film critics of the film "The French Connection" and, in particular, its main character - Doyle and his cruelty, the following considerations suggest themselves. First, as mentioned above, real police officers were most actively involved in advising actors about behavior. And it is unlikely that they were interested in, so to speak, "thickening the colors." Rather the opposite. In addition, for a month before filming began, Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider were literally real partners of Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso in their police activities, accompanying them on all patrols and taking part in all operations. All this gives reason to believe that the behavior of the main characters of the picture was not much different from the behavior of real New York police officers.

And, secondly, as they say, everything is learned in comparison. It seems to me that against the background of the so-called "law enforcement officers" in Belarus, brutally thrashing civilians with clubs, regardless of the gender or age of those who were beaten, and not even some drug dealers, but simply expressing a peaceful protest against the rigged elections, the main character of "The French Connection" looks just like Mother Teresa.

By the way, Eddie Egan, who served as the prototype for the protagonist of the film "The French Connection" and actively collaborated with the film crew, literally "fell ill" with the cinema and wanted to become a film actor upon retirement. It is difficult to say whether this decision played a role or something else, but it is known that his bosses discovered violations of certain formalities in some of his reports and dismissed him literally a few hours before retirement. As a result, Egan was deprived of his pension rights. Fortunately, justice was restored in court. William Friedkin and Roy Scheider actively testified in support of Eddie Egan at the trial.

The film "The French Connection" was shown in cinemas with age restrictions. In the United States, for example, it had Certification R. And yet, in its first year, it was watched by 31.3 million American moviegoers, or 15% of the country population. The film grossed $ 51.7 million, 29 times the cost of production. 61% of IMDB and Kinopoisk users rated this movie from 8 to 10.

Taking into account the above, the rating of the film "The French Connection" by William Friedkin according to the version of FilmGourmand was 8.984, making it 162nd place in the Golden Thousand.

In addition to the film by William Friedkin "The French Connection", the following films were included in the "ten" best films of world cinema of 1971:

- A Clockwork Orange. Director Stanley Kubrick, UK. Movie's Rating - 8,823; 201st Rank in the Golden Thousand. - Johnny Got His Gun. Director Dalton Trumbo, USA. Movie's Rating - 8,617; 273rd Rank in the Golden Thousand. - Джентльмены удачи (Gentlemen of Fortune). Director Aleksandr Seryj, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,525; 312th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - Офицеры (Officers). Director Vladimir Rogovoy, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,444; 345th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - The Last Picture Show. Director Peter Bogdanovich, USA. Movie's Rating - 8,394; 365th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - The Devils. Director Ken Russell, UK. Movie's Rating - 8,304; 407th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - 12 стульев (The Twelve Chairs). Director Leonid Gayday, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,247; 449th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - Fiddler on the Roof. Director Norman Jewison, USA. Movie's Rating - 8,086; 600th Rank in the Golden Thousand. - Проверка на дорогах (Trial on the Road). Director Aleksey German, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,073; 620th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

And in the world in this 1971 year, the following events took place:

- The US Air Force carried out massive bombardments on the territory of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Under the cover of the bombing, the army of South Vietnam invaded Laos and Cambodia. - In the USSR, cosmonauts Dobrovolsky, Volkov, and Patsayev died when landing after a space flight. - In the cities of the United States, anti-war rallies and demonstrations with hundreds of thousands participants took place. - War between India and Pakistan broke out. The war lasted 13 days. The result of the war was the capitulation of Pakistan and the separation of the eastern part from it in the territory of which a new state was formed - Bangladesh. - In Turkey, the highest military command forced government resign. - The commander in chief of the Ugandan armed forces, Idi Amin, carried out a coup d'etat and seized all power in the country. - In Chile, the government of Salvador Allende began to nationalize mining companies. The opposition immediately responded with protests. - In South Korea, an unsuccessful attempt on the life of President Park Jong Hee was carried out. - Authorities of China suspected Defense Minister Lin Biao of organizing a conspiracy. Lin Biao and his family tried to escape to the USSR by plane. Over Mongolia, the plane under mysterious circumstances suffered a disaster. All passengers died.

- Winona Ryder was born