Car movie of the day: ‘The French Connection’

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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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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. 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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