The French Connection is a 1971 American action thriller film directed by William Friedkin. The screenplay, written by Ernest Tidyman, is based on Robin Moore's 1969 non-fiction book The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy. It tells the story of New York Police Department detectives Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso, in pursuit of wealthy French heroin smuggler Alain Charnier. The film stars Gene Hackman as Popeye, Roy Scheider as Cloudy, and Fernando Rey as Charnier. Tony Lo Bianco and Marcel Bozzuffi also star. The Three Degrees feature in a nightclub scene.