Car movie of the day: ‘The French Connection’

Perhaps the most violent, and frightening, chase scene ever filmed highlights this Oscar-winning crime film

Editor’s note: Car guys, and even car girls, can take only so much of those Hallmark holiday movies that fill the airwaves and cable systems this time of year. As an automotive alternative, we’re offering our own suggestions of our favorite car movies for your viewing pleasure. Check out more of our favorite car movies here.


In a groundbreaking chase scene, New York detective Popeye Doyle (played by the incomparable Gene Hackman) makes mincemeat of a Pontiac while pursuing a shanghaied elevated train at high speed through heavy traffic, wrecking everything that gets in his way.

The car chase in The French Connection shocked audiences when it premiered. | 20th Century Fox photo

The car chase in The French Connection shocked audiences when it premiered. | 20th Century Fox photo

The 1971 crime feature, directed by William Friedkin, stands as a terrific movie on its own — it was the first R-rated film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, among other Oscars — but the iconic chase was a shocker at the time and remains perhaps the best ever.

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  • Ryan Corman
    December 11, 2018, 6:59 PM

    No, no, no- "Ronin" still has the best car chase, but "French Connection" is a very close second. And a Pontiac protagonist, too! (I’m a lifelong GTO guy).
    Saw this as a kid when it first hit the theater; awesome, and sawing up the Lincoln to find the dope was worth a laugh, as many of my buddies loved those barges (I belonged to the "Cannon"fan club, largely- see what I did there?- because of Bill Conrad’s Lincoln Mark xx).
    "French….", yeah, cool, but not "Ronin".

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