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Q: Did they make a sequel to "The French Connection"? Was it also based on a true story?

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Yes and no. There was, indeed, a (much less celebrated) sequel to the Oscar-winning action classic "The French Connection" (1971). However, it was a completely fictional continuation of the exploits of tough-guy cop Popeye Doyle.

The first film was based on a real case, first recounted in a book by Robin Moore. And for extra authenticity, the real-life narcotics detectives who inspired Doyle (played by Gene Hackman) and his partner Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) served as consultants on the original.

The film ends (50-year-old spoiler alert) with one of the villains escaping back to France, which happened in real life."French Connection II" (1975) begins with Doyle following him there, which did not happen in real life.

The sequel did reasonably well at the box office but was nothing like the hit the original was. It also received nothing like the same critical praise.

The original took home five Oscars, while legendary film critic Roger Ebert said at the time that the sequel was "confusing" and came "disturbingly close" to making Doyle look like "a clown."

A big part of the problem, he said, is how unreal the plot is. It's completely unbelievable that the New York police would send him, on his own, to France to chase a bad guy. Putting him in that context makes him look like "an awkward, confused, highly visible American."

History has been kinder to the film than Ebert was. More recent evaluations of its video releases have been pretty flattering.

 

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