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The French Connection Blu-ray

United States
Filmmakers Signature Series 20th Century Fox | 1971 | 104 min | Rated R | Mar 18, 2012

The French Connection (Blu-ray)

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (33.37 Mbps)
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 kbps)
English: Dolby Digital Mono (Original) (224 kbps)
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Note: All 5.1 are 448 kbps, Eng...

English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Russian

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $19.99, Price history

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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 4.2 of 54.2
Audio 3.5 of 53.5
Extras 3.8 of 53.8
Based on 8 user reviews

Movie appeal


The French Connection


The French Connection Blu-ray delivers great video and decent audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

Tough-talking New York City detective Popeye Doyle and his partner uncover an international drug smuggling ring, but it's Doyle's feverish and relentless pursuit of the suspects that drives the investigation forward.

For more about The French Connection and the The French Connection Blu-ray release, see the The French Connection Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frederic de Pasquale
Director: William Friedkin

» See full cast & crew

The French Connection Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

There are probably as many personal idiosyncrasies as there are Blu-ray viewers, idiosyncrasies which can be reflected in screen size, display style, settings tweaks, viewing environments, and a whole host of personalized likes and dislikes. But despite slight difference in personal preferences, most Blu-ray viewers can probably be lumped under the general umbrella of one of two very different fundamental camps: videophile purists who demand a picture as close to the original presentation as intended by the filmmakers prior to the picture's theatrical (or, in a few rare cases, maybe, home video) premiere, and viewers who want the shiniest and most crisp HD material, regardless of whether "shiny" or "crisp" reflect the filmmakers' original intent. Of course there's the ultra-casual viewers who don't care, or even know, about "DNR" and "grain" and "filmmaker intent" to begin with, those who see no difference between DVD and Blu-ray because "you just shove the disc in the slot" (real quote), though from personal experience, anyway, these people usually seem to fall into the "shiny" and "crisp" grouping. On that note, there are a handful of Blu-ray discs with wildly different transfers out there, one or the other appealing, often, to the two distinct groups. The first and second versions of Gladiator spring to mind, as do the two grossly distinct editions of Predator, one slathered over with noise reduction, the other more filmic, grainy, and true to the original projected source. Oddly enough, the first Gladiator was the pasty, processed version, but it was the second release of Predator that's the less desirable of the two, from a videophile's perspective anyway.

The French Connection, however, is a whole different ballgame. The 2009 Blu-ray release of the film featured a transfer supervised by Director William Friedkin himself, which should rightly excite any fans hoping to see a picture of The French Connection's calibre as it was meant to be seen on the home video format that comes closer than any other to recreating the theatrical, director-intended experience for home viewing. Friedkin opened that Blu-ray by touting the format and saying that that transfer represented "the very best version of this picture that exists," the transfer delivering an image "sharper, clearer, and much truer to [his] original vision of the film than any print ever was." That disc even contained a supplement explicitly focusing on the color timing of the release where Friedkin specifically stated that his vision for The French Connection on Blu-ray consisted of "less color" with only "a little bit of the color bleeding in," the result a picture feeling colder and built around pastel shades. So audiences were presented with a transfer Friedkin himself not only approved, but meticulously designed right down to using a rather unique process of blending a grossly over-saturated colored version with a black-and-white version of the film to reach the final product. What was released to the marketplace was met with outcry from the videophile purists, angered over Friedkin's color timing despite a general consensus amongst purists that director intent trumps all else, an odd juxtaposition to be sure but this is a multiple Oscar-winning picture, not some random movie that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of the cinematic landscape. The transfer was also rough-around-the-edges, not shiny-smooth like a Pixar movie, which likely alienated many of those viewers hailing from that "shiny" and "crisp" camp. Sadly, Friedkin found himself in a rare lose-lose situation, having angered the majority of viewers with the release, even if at least the "director's vision above all else" crowd should have been happy with the result. Like Paramount with Gladiator, 20th Century Fox listened to fans and went back to the drawing board. Unlike Paramount, this new transfer with the "corrected" color timing was released clandestinely to Best Buy stores, basically just popping up on shelves with absolutely no fanfare. Nevertheless, here it is, and apparently, this transfer has also been "supervised" by William Friedkin, is "true to the director's vision" according to the back of the box, and confirmed by What are the differences? What are the similarities? What to make of two different "director supervised" transfers of the same film on the same format?

First of all, this disc has also, if the packaging is to be believed, been approved not only by Friedkin, but also by The French Connection Cinematographer Owen Roizman. Indeed, lengthy A-B comparisons reveal a fairly drastic difference in tone and feel. Gone is the previous disc's -- and Friedkin's preferred, apparently -- colder, pastel image that he believed better suited to a picture of this style. It's been replaced by a transfer that's richer with deeper and more pronounced and natural colors, a style he himself described as better suited to lighter cinematic fare. The difference is dramatic. Pretty much any object of any color -- yellows, greens, reds -- appear warmer and more natural. The image plays with a more standard-looking palette, neither too cold nor too hot. Additionally, some bouts of color bleeding have been corrected. There's even been color added. Around the 20:30 mark is a shot of water, a rocky island on which sits a manmade structure, and a small boat in front of the island (see screenshot 26). In this version, it's clear that there are three people in the boat, two wearing red and one wearing yellow. In the other version, the "yellow" person wears white and the "red" people appear to be wearing dark brown or black. It's a distant shot, insignificant, but evidence of minor tinkering. On a more general analysis, much of the image has remained largely the same. Black levels are very deep, sometimes to the point of crush. This transfer is still grainy to an extent that some might be bothered by it. It's spiky and heavy but appears a little less pronounced in a few scenes in this release, certainly not any heavier. Minor noise and light speckling remain as well. Detail is fine. This is not and will never be a razor-sharp image. Skin textures, rough building faades, and the like never offer that absolutely crisp and lifelike definition, but the somewhat worn-down texturing actually seems to aid the movie's gritty tone, which Friedkin was aiming for with the washed out, toned down cold and pastel colors. The more natural colors and reduced bleeding do seem to help bring out a little bit more in terms of fine details in sharper scenes, though by no extraordinary amount. It's a real shame Friedkin doesn't answer for these changes on this release as he answered for those changes on that release. In a case like this, then, with an argument existing for one side and none, really, for the other, it comes down to personal preference. The majority seems to prefer, or at least has demanded in the past, a transfer more in-line with what this release offers. At the end of the day, it makes for a fun little comparison but serious viewers have certainly been put in something of a pickle with this one. Considering Friedkin's rather passionate and convincing argument on the old release, however, it's difficult to argue against it, especially considering that there's no such explanation here save for a blurb on the box proclaiming the approval of both the director and the cinematographer for the new transfer.

Note that screenshots 1-19 have been captured and situated in the review for easy comparison with the original release. Several new captures have been added at the end for perusal.

The French Connection Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.0 of 5

20th Century Fox unravels The French Connection on Blu-ray with both the film's monaural soundtrack as well as a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. The lossless mix offers a bit of improvement over the mono track, creating a wider sound field and lending more precision to the music and effects, but it's not head-and-shoulders above the single-channel track, either. The lossless 5.1 mix certainly grabs one's attention form the get-go. It blares through the speakers with alarming presence at reference volume over the opening title sequence. Adjusting the volume a bit downward, the track becomes a mostly enjoyable experience; effects pan nicely around the speakers, primarily up front. Sound effects play with decent authority, particularly gunshots. The film's climactic shootout fills the entire soundstage with the thunderous booms of shotguns and the lesser report of the snub-nosed revolvers. Ambience is also sufficient; the sounds of a noisy club -- the music and the patron chatter -- come through with decent clarity. A subtle hiss accompanies the track. Dialogue seems a bit low in volume compared to the rest of the elements. It's occasionally a strain to hear, and it doesn't match the intensity or volume of other parts of the track. The track features something of a harsh edge and lacks much in the way of fine definition. It definitely fails to encapsulate all the best features of a modern action extravaganza soundtrack, but it's certainly sufficient for what it is.

The French Connection: Other Editions

2-disc set


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The French Connection Blu-ray, News and Updates

The French Connection Gets a New Blu-ray Release, New Master - March 7, 2012 has been informed that 20th Century Fox Entertainment has issued a new Blu-ray release of director William Friedkin's 5 Oscars winner film The French Connection (1971), which is currently sold exclusively at Best Buy. also been able to confirm ...

The French Connection Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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