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I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

The Conversation


The Conversation (1974)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Harrison Ford

I decided to watch this movie for a number of reasons. First of all, Francis Ford Coppola is behind some of the greatest movies ever made. From Apocalypse Now to The Godfather trilogy, his work has heavily fed my love of cinema. My second reason for watching this one is the performance I hoped to see from John Cazale. He put together an incredible list of roles in the short time he was acting. From The Godfather films to Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter he was one of the great actors of his time. Finally, it’s hard to ignore the rest of this cast. Gene Hackman (Unforgiven), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games)and an uncredited Robert Duvall (Witness) were too much to pass up.

In addition to all of the reasons above, this movie was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Director at the 1975 Academy Awards.

Harry Caul (Hackman) is a secretive man who has spent his entire career listening to other people’s secrets. On his newest assignment he’s heard a conversation that could get someone killed. As he struggles to get answers he begins to isolate himself even further. With his trust failing, he’s going to have to keep listening for the truth.

This movie really blew me away. I don’t know if I’d even heard of this one before recently. Thank goodness for friends that love movies, they’ve shared so many good ones with me. This movie was a wonderful psychological thriller, with great acting carrying the story. Coppola did a wonderful job both writing and directing this movie. I think it was a bit easier with the wonderful actors he cast. Gene Hackman is definitely the star, showing a huge range throughout the film. Cazale and Garfield are also wonderful in their supporting roles.

The score for this film is unique and powerful. It seems to be perfectly worked into the imagery and the story itself. Combined with Coppola’s instinctive direction, this movie comes together so nicely. It’s no wonder the Oscar nominations came for this movie. Perhaps the only reason it didn’t win Best Picture was the fact that it came up against another Coppola masterpiece, The Godfather: Part II.

I loved this movie. It isn’t perfect, and it hasn’t aged as well as some of the films Coppola has put together. Still, the story is told through powerful images and a great dialogue that seems to say just enough. If you’re a fan of suspense you should see this one. I would also recommend this one for anyone who loves any of the actors in the movie. Together they bring the script to life and it’s fun to see. I give this one 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 113 minutes

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11 Comments on “The Conversation”

  1. ckckred October 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM #

    I love this one and think it deserves a lot more attention. It’s one of the best thrillers ever made in my opinion, and everything is fantastic, from Coppola’s direction to Hackman’s performance. Nice review.

    Like

    • jeffro517 October 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM #

      Thanks. I think that this is an example of a director who was almost too good in a small period of time. Now people focus on The Godfather and forget that he made other films.

      Like

  2. AndyWatchesMovies October 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM #

    I loved this one too – Great write-up!

    Like

    • jeffro517 October 15, 2012 at 11:56 PM #

      Thanks, I stand by my thoughts that this one was Best Picture winner in any other year.

      Like

      • AndyWatchesMovies October 16, 2012 at 6:07 AM #

        I would stand by that too. I hate when movies like this come out in a crowded year and get all but forgotten.

        Like

      • jeffro517 October 16, 2012 at 2:51 PM #

        What’s truly frustrating is the fact that when you’re alive for these years you get to know all the films. But when you’re not around you only get to know the movies the way other people want you to, until you start to dig.

        Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Godfather. During his career he starred opposite Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, Gene Hackman in The Conversation, and Robert DeNiro in The Deer Hunter. Those are just some of the big names he starred with, but […]

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    […] Africa). The cast includes Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Gene Hackman (The Conversation), and Ed Harris (Gravity). The film also features Holly Hunter (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?), […]

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  3. The Godfather | Did You See That One? - August 10, 2014

    […] The novel The Godfather was written by Mario Puzo (Superman) in 1969, eventually becoming a best-seller in the United States. Before the book was even published, the manuscript fell into the hands of Paramount executives who signed a deal with Puzo for the rights. It was only after close to a dozen directors turned down the film, that Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker) took on the project. The relationship between Coppola and the studio was a rocky one. Throughout the production, the movie was threatened by budgetary issues and creative differences. Thankfully, the film was completed and released in 1972. The finished product was an immediate hit, earning top dollar at the box office and 11 Oscar nominations including Best Picture. The cast of the film includes some of the great names in American cinema, starting with Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon). the cast also features James Caan (El Dorado), Robert Duvall (Open Range), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Talia Shire (Rocky), and John Cazale (The Conversation). […]

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  4. Reds | Did You See That One? - November 17, 2014

    […] star in this movie. In addition, the cast includes Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Gene Hackman (The Conversation), Jack Nicholson (The Departed), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Maureen Stapleton (Cocoon), and Edward […]

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  5. The Godfather: Part II | Did You See That One? - December 8, 2014

    […] won an Oscar for Best Set Decoration thanks to work done by a team that included Dean Tavoularis (The Conversation), Angelo P. Graham (Little Big Man), and George R. Nelson (The […]

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