Study Guide

The French Connection Rules and Order

Rules and Order

"Stop! Police!"

Or is it, "Stop police!"?

Captain Simonson tells Popeye and Cloudy that the tiny drug arrests they've been coming up with don't mean a thing to the War on Drugs.

It's up to these detectives to go for bigger fish. Meanwhile, those bigger fish are busy crisscrossing the globe breaking laws like other people break nails. The French Connection seems to watch the enforcement of laws and the disruption of order with sharp eye… especially when those who usually enforce the laws bend—and even break them—without batting an eye.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. Our first look at Popeye is as a Santa, waiting for a drug deal to go down. What other disguises does Popeye use throughout the film?
  2. Nicoli disobeys Charnier by going after Popeye. Do criminals have their own systems of order, or is it just a big free-for-all? Is there evidence one way or another?
  3. What's the relationship between Federal Agents (Mulderig and Klein) and detectives (Popeye and Cloudy) in this movie? What could that say about local vs. national governance in the 70s?

Chew on This

The authority of the policemen in the movie means less, because they're willing to break their own rules just to get their way.

The fact that Popeye and Cloudy don't gain anything professionally after the big bust shows that the ends don't always justify the means.

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