In the 1970s, wiretapping and audio surveillance were deeply edged into the American public's consciousness. These were paranoid, untrusting times and 'The Conversation' illustrates this with so much realism that it's actually scarier than most horror films of its era. Gene Hackman (on blistering form) plays a lonely, surveillance expert who can 'bug anybody'.
But when he is hired to spy on a couple, his technically brilliant recordings result in people being murdered. Consumed by paranoia, mistrust and a crisis of confidence, our anti-hero becomes hounded by the very people who hired him, culminating in a truly unforgettable end scene. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and nominated for the Best Picture and Director Oscars, it was released at just the wrong time - Coppola's own 'Godfather Part II' swept both of those awards in the same year.
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