Chris Bean’s review:
I like Hackman and I like Friedkin but this seems like a very overrated film to me. What makes matters harder to understand is the idolatry placed over Hackman's Popeye Doyle character. Named on AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains list as a hero I cannot see it at all. He seemed like a very dirty cop to me and an evil man - and I don't just mean like a flawed hero, I mean like a bad man. The most famous scene involves him chasing an unarmed suspect for a considerable amount of time and then shooting him in the back - what surprised me the most was that there wasn't a single repercussion to this. And then later he accidentally shoots a fellow cop. A hero? No. A flawed hero? No. A bad cop and bad man? Yes. There are much better crime and gangster films from this era.