William Friedkin directs Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider and Fernando Rey in this fictionalised retelling of NY cops taking down a massive narcotics ring.
Taut, documentary style grit gives way to white knuckle action movie manna as determined but unsupported cops grind down an efficient and intelligent gang of drug runners. This is sterling, superlative work all round; whether in the staggeringly unvarnished attention to detail of the police procedural, the evocative capturing of a time and a place, the persuasive and appropriately economic score, or the daring assembling and editing of the big, relentless chases. Hackman’s toweringly impressive alternative and engrossing take on a rule bending but dedicated cop is the granite rock on which this evergreen classic is built around and held up. Hard boiled cinema heaven.