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Old Movies You Should Have Seen by Now: The Conversation

The Conversation


Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Principal actors: Gene Hackman & Harrison Ford

Gut-level take

An introvert’s greatest nightmare is being observed without knowing it.

Basic plot

Gene Hackman plays a guarded surveillance expert hired to record the conversation of two people in SF’s Union Square but his morality starts to intrude on his professionalism and exactitude.


  • Advanced technology eroding privacy
  • Paranoia
  • Isolation
  • Fear of being duped despite exceptional intelligence and research
  • Perception vs reality

Unexpected Awesomeness

  • Harrison Ford as a charismatic, ambitious executive assistant
  • San Francisco in the 1970s
  • Haunting piano score by David Shire
  • Old-school character-driven narrative that challenges our current attention spans.
  • Cindy Williams looks like Zooey Deschanel! Or vice versa!

See also “Old-School Paranoia” by Benjamin Strong.