Study Guide

The French Connection Violence

Violence

POPEYE: (to Mulderig) You keep shooting your mouth off, I'm gonna knock you right into the middle of next week.

Popeye isn't just a man of fist and bullets: looking how with "shooting off" he brings violence into an otherwise totally peaceful conversation.

POPEYE: (as bystanders go to tend to the shot woman) Leave her alone! Leave her alone! There's a sniper up there.

Popeye has to manage the safety of the public, but it's clear to us that it's a secondary priority for him. Do you agree?

Popeye runs in pursuit of his would-be assassin up to a subway platform. With his gun out, he scans to the sparse crowd. No one seems to notice.

Friedkin's built a strange world in which a drawn gun doesn't arouse the suspicion of bystanders. What does this tell us about his version of NYC?

NICOLI: Don't stop or I'll shoot. [...] Cut the brake and I blow you in half.

Much of the dialogue (what little there is) seems to be like this: repeating the same sentiment, in increasingly violent ways.

MULDERIG: You move I'll blow your f***ing head off. Stay right there.

It's funny that without context, Mulderig could be just as easily grumbling at Popeye, instead of at the criminals during the standoff at Ward's Island. What does that mean for understanding Mulderig's character?

CLOUDY: Bring out the gas! [...] Hold your fire! Stop! Stop! (shoots Sal)

Cloudy is the one to kill a bad guy, while Popeye kills a relatively good guy.

POPEYE: Frog One is in that room. (Popeye and Cloudy advance. Popeye sees a figure across the room.) Don't move! (He shoots several times.)

Popeye should get a t-shirt that says "shoot first, ask questions later."

CLOUDY: Mulderig! You shot Mulderig!

POPEYE: The sumab**** is here. I saw him. I'm gonna get him.

To review: Popeye has just killed a coworker. Maybe a coworker he never liked very much, but a coworker nonetheless. And he doesn't seem to care. What does this say about him?

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