Behind The Scenes: Francis Ford Coppola & Gene Hackman On The Set Of THE CONVERSATION

The great Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1974 film, The Conversation is an expertly paced dramatic thriller. Written, directed and produced by Coppola, The Conversation was the first film the director made following the massive critical and commercial success of The Godfather in 1972. 

Gene Hackman is excellent as Harry Caul, the surveillance who believes that one of his subjects might have been murdered as the result of his work. It’s a role that the actor would riff on 24 years later in Tony Scott’s 1998 film, Enemy Of The State.

Aside from Hackman, The Conversation also features John Cazale, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Teri Garr and Robert Duvall. Ford in particular impresses in an off-beat supporting turn – you rarely see him in a supporting role like this. 

The Conversation slowly unveils itself and you get to feel the bleak isolation of Hackman’s central character. It’s all brilliantly done and the surveillance work is fascinating to watch and listen to (the sound design by the great Walter Murch is excellent).

Premiering at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or, The Conversation received three nominations at the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Sound. In 1995 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for its cultural, historical and aesthetic significance. 

Budgeted at $1.6 million, The Conversation grossed $4.4 million at the box office – a far cry from the $134 million that Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather made in 1972.