Before Dirty Harry and The French Connection, movie cops amounted to little more than sheriffs in civvies, white hat versus black hat with a gumball motor instead of a horse. Growing public unease with the US judicial system soon put paid to that.
Since propaganda, whether blatant or subtle, and whether “left” or “right,” works primarily through the emotions and not the intellect, it is not necessarily the explicit or easily recognizable elements of a film that produce the strongest effect on the consciousness of the viewer. Such is the case with a film like The French Connection. The explicit values are evident. The film is exquisitely made.
An extraordinarily well-made new thriller gets the audience sky-high and keeps it up there—The French Connection, directed by William Friedkin, which is one of the most “New York” of all the recent New York movies.
The movie may be in the worst imaginable taste—that is, an utterly unfeeling movie about miracles—but it's also the biggest recruiting poster the Catholic Church has had since the sunnier days of Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's.