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French Connection II, The (1975)

John Frankenheimer’s sequel to The French Connection (1971) may be less believable than its predecessor, but it’s still a cracking thriller.

Here, New York cop ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman brilliantly reprising his Oscar-winning role from the original) travels to Marseille in southern France in search of heroin-tsar Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) – who escaped at the end of the previous film – but blunders into the French operation to uncover his old adversary’s drugs ring.

There’s a disturbing sequence that details Hackman’s withdrawal after being forcibly addicted, but after that, it’s revenge and violence all the way.

The horror of drug addiction is vividly realistic and Popeye’s single-minded pursuit of Charnier becomes totally viable.

Detective Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle
Gene Hackman
Alain Charnier
Fernando Rey
Bernard Fresson
Raoul Diron
Jean-Pierre Castaldi
Charles Millot
Philippe Léotard
Brigadier Brian
Ed Lauter
Inspector Genevoix
Jacques Dynam
Dutch Captain
Raoul Delfosse
Patrick Floersheim

John Frankenheimer