What's Up With the Title?
This is a movie about a drug connection that's made through France. What more do you need?
Okay, we'll give you a little more. Just because we like you so much.
In Lieu of Spinach
Just months before the film was released, Twentieth Century Fox did a bit of marketing research, and discovered that peeps assumed that "French Connection" either referred to a foreign film or a dirty movie. (Confession time, until we saw French Connection the first time, we figured it was foreign, too.)
Obviously, Friedkin told an interviewer, they couldn't call it "Popeye"—that is taken by our fave spinach-swallowing sailor—so the studio went for "Doyle."
Seeing the posters they'd made up, Friedkin met with his allies at the studio and eventually got the title reversed, even if the management remained sure that the movie would be D.O.A.
But as we know, it wasn't. And the rest is movie history.
Let's look into it a bit more symbolically: this movie's plot is all about Popeye and Cloudy being able to make connections—from Sal's easy spending ways, to the tip-off that a big shipment of heroin was going to be coming from France, to the strange appearance of a French movie star and the car he brought over from Marseille.
And in a movie that's big on action and stingy on explanation, as viewers, it's important that we make a few connections as well. As the camera goes back and forth between the cops and the crooks, we're slowly able to connect the dots.