THE FRENCH CONNECTION, 1971, 20th Century Fox, 104 min. Dir. William Friedkin. Arguably the greatest American crime film ever made. Gene Hackman stars as Detective Popeye Doyle, whos muscling minor hoods in NYC (the You ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie? scene is still a classic) when he catches the trail of a huge shipment of French heroin. With partner Roy Scheider, Hackman dogs drug kingpin Fernando Rey through the concrete jungle - highlighted by a brain-jangling car chase that still hasnt been topped.
THE DRIVER, 1978, 20th Century Fox, 90 min. Dir. Walter Hill. An extremely tough, pared-to-the-bone noir, vastly underrated on its initial release, THE DRIVER pits existential getaway driver Ryan ONeal against pitbull detective Bruce Dern in a cat-and-mouse pursuit through the wasted underbelly of mid-70s Los Angeles. Walter Hills homage to Jean-Pierre Melville and the Euro crime film offers spectacular car chases and, in her first Hollywood film, Isabelle Adjani.