THE CONVERSATION (15)
D: Francis Ford Coppola
Paramount (Francis Ford Coppola)
USA 🇺🇸 1974
W: Francis Ford Coppola
DP: Bill Butler
Ed: Walter Murch & Richard Chew
Mus: David Shire
PD: Dean Tavoularis
Gene Hackman (Harry Caul), John Cazale (Stan), Allen Garfield (Bernie Moran), Frederic Forrest (Mark), Cindy Williams (Ann), Michael Higgins (Paul), Elizabeth MacRae (Meredith), Teri Garr (Amy), Harrison Ford (Martin Stett)
An exceptional thriller clearly born in the wake of the paranoia following the Watergate scandal.
This is easily Gene Hackman's finest performance as a surveillance expert, Harry Caul, almost religiously meticulous with his profession and equally as fastidious of his own personal privacy.
Caul is hired to record what turns out to be a very cryptic conversation between an ordinary-looking couple in a park but when his employers start to act sinister he becomes obsessed with the voices on the tape, developing a conscience and becoming drawn into a puzzle he didn't bargain for.
The tension builds throughout the film from a relatively slow beginning to reach one of the finest crescendo's ever captured on film.
Francis Ford Coppola was arguably the best auteur of the 70's and there's no surprise this movie was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (it lost to The Godfather part II, also by Coppola), but this movie is all about Gene Hackman. Good support is also provided by John Cazale & Harrison Ford, in the creepiest performance of his career.
While a lot of people may switch off before the hour mark, I emplore you to stick with it. It is classic cinema!