7.9/10
81,618
331 user 155 critic

The Conversation (1974)

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple, on whom he is spying, will be murdered.
Reviews
Popularity
3,723 ( 257)

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden
Badlands (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates
Serpico (1973)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Ann
...
...
Meredith (as Elizabeth Mac Rae)
...
Amy
...
...
Robert Shields ...
The Mime
Phoebe Alexander ...
Lurleen
Edit

Storyline

Harry Caul is a devout Catholic and a lover of jazz music who plays his saxophone while listening to his jazz records. He is a San Francisco-based electronic surveillance expert who owns and operates his own small surveillance business. He is renowned within the profession as being the best, one who designs and constructs his own surveillance equipment. He is an intensely private and solitary man in both his personal and professional life, which especially irks Stan, his business associate who often feels shut out of what is happening with their work. This privacy, which includes not letting anyone into his apartment and always telephoning his clients from pay phones is, in part, intended to control what happens around him. His and Stan's latest job (a difficult one) is to record the private discussion of a young couple meeting in crowded and noisy Union Square. The arrangement with his client, known only to him as "the director", is to provide the audio recording of the discussion ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Harry Caul is an invader of privacy. The best in the business. He can record any conversation between two people anywhere. So far, three people are dead because of him. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

June 1974 (France)  »

Also Known As:

La conversación  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,420,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (restored version)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gene Hackman's brother, Richard Hackman, played two roles in the film, the priest in the confessional and a security guard. See more »

Goofs

At the party in Caul's workshop, Stan describes the targets of a job only as "two people". At that time, Caul was at the far side of the shop, leafing through photos of them, many yards away - and obscured by fellow attendees and equipment - from a woman in the group who later asks, "What did they do...the boy and the girl?" Even had she been able to see the photos, there was no way she could have connected them with the subjects, no way she could have known their gender nor age. (She may however, knew about the job and merely slipped her tongue.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Passerby: Well, I want to go over to my place and start, you know, getting it on...
Ann: Oh, that's terrible.
Mark: Yeah. Do you ever, uh... ballet?
Ann: Be thankful. Do you have a quarter for them?
Mark: Yes, I do.
Ann: [gives it to street band]
Ann: What about me?
Mark: You'll see.
Ann: A lot of fun you are. You're supposed to tease me, give hints, make me guess, you know.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Making of 'Enemy of the State' (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

When I Take My Sugar To Tea
(1931)
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal & Pierre Norman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Movie About Poor Communications Skills
22 January 2000 | by See all my reviews

The Conversation is a stark look into the modern art of surveillance and its affect on one of its practitioners. Harry Caul (Hackman) is at the top of his business, but he's disturbed. Highly paranoiac, he is troubled by bad things that happened to some innocent people as a result of a prior surveillance job. Now he's afraid it's happening again....

The Conversation could not be more antithetical of the current movie making style. Stark, claustrophobic, unsexy, slow-paced, and with almost no soundtrack, it slowly builds to its dramatic noirish denouement.

A real treat, and as an added attraction the actors include a young Cindy Williams, Terri Garr, John Cazale, and Harrison Ford. Worth the rental unless anything outside of the MTV mould causes agitation.


85 of 119 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 331 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page