Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#16 – The French Connection
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
Popeye Doyle is one of the great ones. One of the great cops. One of the great men. One of the great characters in film history. Gene Hackman is great and has been for his entire career and this is right up there with the best of his best. William Friedkin at his peak, the golden age of police movies in full bloom, everything was lined up. This is that rare film that lined up critical and commercial success in a way few in the genre have. It’s a resoundingly great movie and features phenomenal support from Roy Scheider (RIP), Fernando Ray (RIP), and Tony LoBianco (Career RIP). And that car chase is still aces. Picking toes in Poughkeepsie has never been better.
Moments to savor:
The chase. Popeye Doyle gets stubborn. The first usage of car doors for drug transport. The way he kills Rey. Roy Scheider doing was he does best.
Moderate. It has aged a bit.
This movie opened the door for so many.