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The Conversation Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Made between [[Feature~V20076~The Godfather~thegodfather]] (1972) and [[Feature~V20078~The Godfather Part II~thegodfatherpartii]] (1974), and in part an homage to [[Performer~P79780~Michelangelo Antonioni~michelangeloantonioni]]'s art-movie classic [[Feature~V60942~Blow-Up~blowup]] (1966), The Conversation was a return to small-scale art films for [[Performer~P85868~Francis Ford Coppola~francisfordcoppola]]. Sound surveillance expert Harry Caul ([[Performer~P29486~Gene Hackman~genehackman]]) is hired to track a young couple ([[Performer~P116843~Cindy Williams~cindywilliams]] and [[Performer~P24332~Frederic Forrest~fredericforrest]]), taping their conversation as they walk through San Francisco's crowded Union Square. Knowing full well how technology can invade privacy, Harry obsessively keeps to himself, separating business from his personal life, even refusing to discuss what he does or where he lives with his girlfriend, Amy ([[Performer~P26007~Teri Garr~terigarr]]). Harry's work starts to trouble him, however, as he comes to believe that the conversation he pieced together reveals a plot by the mysterious corporate "Director" who hired him to murder the couple. After he allows himself to be seduced by a call girl, who then steals the tapes, Harry is all the more convinced that a killing will occur, and he can no longer separate his job from his conscience. [[Performer~P85868~Coppola~francisfordcoppola]], cinematographer [[Performer~P83706~Bill Butler~billbutler]], and Oscar-nominated sound editor [[Performer~P103815~Walter Murch~waltermurch]] convey the narrative through Harry's aural and visual experience, beginning with the slow opening zoom of Union Square accompanied by the alternately muddled and clear sound of the couple's conversation caught by Harry's microphones. [[Feature~V20078~The Godfather Part II~thegodfatherpartii]] and The Conversation earned [[Performer~P85868~Coppola~francisfordcoppola]] a rare pair of Oscar nominations for Best Picture, as well as two nominations for Best Screenplay ([[Feature~V20078~The Godfather Part II~thegodfatherpartii]] won both). Praised by critics, The Conversation was not a popular hit, but it has since come to be seen as one of the artistic high points of the decade, as well as of [[Performer~P85868~Coppola~francisfordcoppola]]'s career. Its atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion, combined with its obsessive loner antihero, made it prototypical of the darker "American art movies" of the early '70s, as its audiotape storyline also made it seem eerily appropriate for the era of the Watergate scandal. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

  • Release date:April 7, 1974

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Nathan Boxer Best Soundtrack 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Arthur Rochester Best Sound 1974 Nominee
National Board of Review Gene Hackman Best Actor 1974 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Gene Hackman Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama 1974 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Walter Murch Best Soundtrack 1974 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Walter Murch Best Editing 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Murch Best Sound 1974 Nominee
National Board of Review Francis Ford Coppola Best Director 1974 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Francis Ford Coppola Best Director 1974 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Francis Ford Coppola Best Director 1974 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Francis Ford Coppola Best Screenplay 1974 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Francis Ford Coppola Best Director 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Francis Ford Coppola Best Original Screenplay 1974 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Francis Ford Coppola Best Picture 1974 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Richard Chew Best Editing 1974 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fred Roos Best Picture 1974 Nominee

Cast

Gene Hackman
as Harry Caul
John Cazale
as Stanley
Allen Garfield
as William P. "Bernie" Moran
Frederic Forrest
as Mark
Cindy Williams
as Ann
Teri Garr
as Amy
Harrison Ford
as Martin Stett
Robert Duvall
as The Director
Mark Wheeler
as Receptionist
Phoebe Alexander
as Lurleen
Michael Higgins
as Paul
Timothy Carey
Robert Shields
as The Mime
Elizabeth MacRae
as Meredith

Crew

Francis Ford Coppola
Director
Francis Ford Coppola
Producer
Francis Ford Coppola
Screenwriter
Bill Butler
Cinematographer
David Shire
Composer (Music Score)
Walter Murch
Editor
Richard Chew
Editor
Dean Tavoularis
Production Designer
Fred Roos
Co-producer
Doug von Koss
Set Designer
Aggie Guerard Rodgers
Costume Designer
Walter Murch
Sound/Sound Designer
Chuck Myers
First Assistant Director
Jennifer Shull
Casting
Nathan Boxer
Sound Recordist
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