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The Conversation

USA 1974. Dir: Francis Ford Coppola. 113 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! ► Coppola’s 1974 Palme d’Or winner, an exemplar of the 1970s paranoid conspiracy thriller, arrived at the height of Watergate. Gene Hackman is repressed, guilt-ridden Harry Caul, a San Francisco surveillance expert known as “the best bugger on the West Coast.” Hired by a mysterious businessman (Robert Duvall) to eavesdrop on a young couple (Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams), Harry records what may or may not be evidence of a murder plot. Harrison Ford, John Cazale, and Terri Garr also appear. Inspired by Antonioni’s Blow Up (as was De Palma’s Blow Out), The Conversation stands as one of Coppola’s finest works — and one of the great films of the 1970s — but remains overshadowed by the director’s first two Godfather films and Apocalypse Now. Coppola, busy with his next project, allowed editor and soundman Walter Murch to oversee postproduction. Murch’s magnificent, multi-layered sound design, integral to the film’s brilliance, is a cinema landmark.


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REVIEWS

"A bleak and devastatingly brilliant film."

Time Out | full review

"The finest of the four great paranoia thrillers of the 70s."

The Guardian | full review

"A masterpiece ... Still frightening today."

Slate | full review