The Connection
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Experimental director Shirley Clarke's first feature film is a no-compromise look at the dead-end world of drug addiction in Manhattan. Awaiting their next "connection", eight dopers sit in a bleak New York loft. The addicts agree to allow filmmaker William Redfield to shoot a documentary of their lifestyle--for a price. When their connection arrives, he suspects the filmmaker of being a narc and abruptly runs away. The film ends with Redfield agreeing to try some heroin himself in order to more thoroughly understand his "actors". While it appears totally improvised… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A lean, mean saga of jazz, junk and rebellion."
‑ Andrew O'Hehir,
"There is little about it to warrant the clamorous interest of the average moviegoer or to distinguish it as a significant piece of cinematic art."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Exhausting and occasionally juvenile, The Connection is, nevertheless, an experience."
‑ Chris Barsanti,
"It is a jolting look at the drug crowd."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"[Clarke] gets at the inner truth of addicts - that they're pining for transcendence in the void."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Some creaky business with a Salvation Army sister recalls the piece's stage origins, but the music and the sense of 'dead time' retain a 'beat' authenticity."
‑ , Time Out
"The junkies, as expected, are the real show, and it's here that the theatrical predilections emerge, less "that Barton Fink feeling" and more The Iceman Cometh."
‑ Jaime N. Christley, Slant Magazine
"Shirley Clarke's work should continue to be screened, studied, and discussed, as she remains an iconoclastic artist who is vital to the development of the medium."
‑ Bill Blick, Senses of Cinema
"The film retains the same beatnik wit that the play effectively distilled, as well as a few scary shocks."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Whatever its place on the scale of so-called authenticity, 'The Connection' is concerned with many of the same issues as its more legitimately underground successors. As someone in the movie observes: 'The question is, like why ain't we dead, y'know?'"
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"A marvel of low-budget/high-imagination filmmaking."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Though now hailed as trailblazer for alternative cinema, at the time, Clarke's experimental work about heroin junkies, was so controversial that it was banned for a year due to its "foul" language."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for The Connection on Rotten Tomatoes