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The Conversation
- Gene Hackman

Overview - Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION is a towering achievement, a masterfully constructed portrait of one man's descent into madness. Gene Hackman delivers a devastating performance as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who gets paid to invade the privacy of strangers.  Read more...

 
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More About The Conversation - Gene Hackman
 
 
 
Overview

Francis Ford Coppola's THE CONVERSATION is a towering achievement, a masterfully constructed portrait of one man's descent into madness. Gene Hackman delivers a devastating performance as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who gets paid to invade the privacy of strangers. The film's classic opening shot is a long, slow zoom into Union Square in San Francisco, as a young couple, Mark (Frederic Forrest) and Ann (Cindy Williams), are having what seems like an otherwise mundane conversation. However, when it is revealed that Harry and his assistant Stanley (John Cazale) are eavesdropping from a nearby van, it becomes clear that something more serious is happening. Later, after Harry painstakingly reconstructs the conversation from several different audio sources, he uncovers a snippet of dialogue that unsettles him. Suspicious of his client's motives for wanting the tape, Harry becomes uncharacteristically worried about the people he may have endangered, sending him into a dangerous mental tailspin. With Harry Caul, Coppola and Hackman have managed to create one of cinema's most unforgettable characters, a man who appears to be in control on the outside but who is, in fact, crumbling on the inside. Though Teri Garr, Harrison Ford, and Allen Garfield deliver standout supporting turns, THE CONVERSATION is Hackman's show. Inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's BLOW UP (1966), THE CONVERSATION in turn went on to influence Brian De Palma's own surveillance thriller, BLOW OUT (1981).

Awards:
1974 - Cannes - Palme d'Or Winner

Cast List

Michael Higgins - Supporting Actor/60s-70s
Allen Garfield - American Actor
Allen Goorwitz - American Actor
Allen Gurevich - American Actor
Walter Murch - Editor, JARHEAD (2005)
Francis Ford Coppola - American Director, THE GODFATHER SAGA
Teri Garr - American actress, TOOTSIE
Frederic Forrest - American Actor
Gene Hackman - Oscar-winning actor, THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Eugene Alder - Oscar-winning actor, THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Cindy Williams - American television actress, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY
Art Rochester - Sound Designer
Robert Duvall - American Actor/Director
Bodge - American Actor/Director
David Shire - American Composer
Richard Chew - Editor
Fred Roos - Producer
Aggie Guerard Rodgers - Costume Designer
Aggie Guerard - Costume Designer
Aggie Guerard Rodgers - Costume Designer
John Cazale - American Actor
Harrison Ford - American actor, STAR WARS series/INDIANA JONES series
Elizabeth MacRae
Dean Tavoularis - Production Designer
Bill Butler - Director of Photography, THE PLAGUE (2006)

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 113
  • Color Format: Color
  • UPC: 031398125020
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: PG (MPAA)
  • Release Date: August 2010

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Detectives
Classic
Mystery
Psychodrama
Suspense
Thriller
Murder
Recommended
Disturbing
Theatrical Release
Essential Cinema

 
Movie Reviews

More Details

Notes:
Theatrical release: April 7, 1974 Shot on location in San Francisco, California. THE CONVERSATION was made by Francis Ford Coppola in the time between THE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER PART II. The film was written over five years before production began. Tony Scott's 1998 film, ENEMY OF THE STATE, makes numerous references to THE CONVERSATION. Gene Hackman's character in Scott's film, Brill, is essentially an extension of Harry Caul character. THE CONVERSATION was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1995. In 1975, Coppola became the first person to ever receive two Oscar nominations for Best Director in the same year (the other film being THE GODFATHER PART II).

Reviews:
"...Subdued, wrenching, beautifully calibrated....Thrillingly uncompromised..." -- Rating: A - 01/05/2001 Entertainment Weekly, p.53


"...A taut, intelligent thriller..." - 02/04/2001 Chicago Sun-Times, p.5


"...Too few movie lovers have seen Francis Ford Coppola's cult masterpiece THE CONVERSATION..." - 12/15/2000 USA Today, p.13E


"...Coppola's spare thriller works as a brilliant deconstruction of the medium..." - 12/01/2003 Total Film, p.50


"Francis Ford Coppola's conspiracy thriller stands up well 30 years on." - 01/01/2005 Uncut, p.82


"Gene Hackman gives a perfect performance as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who stumbles on an ominous conversation that wasn't meant for his ears or anyone else's." - 06/12/2009 Wall Street Journal


"Hackman's intensely withdrawn performance, the hardest kind for a leading actor to bring off...comes to animated and enthusiastic life when Caul is discussing technology and technique..." - 02/01/2012 Sight and Sound

 
Customer Reviews