Criterion Channel under fire for unexplained edit in "The French Connection"

Movie enthusiasts are sounding their frustration over the censorship and "clunky edit" of a particular scene in William Friedkin's 1971 movie The French Connection film on the Criterion Channel streaming platform.

The scene involves a conversation between two detectives, portrayed by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, in which Hackman's character uses a racial slur. This alteration, which was made without comment, has also been applied to digital copies of the film, prompting accusations of censorship against Disney, the rights holder. Critics argue that modifying the film is a form of historical revisionism, advocating for the availability of the original version without any alterations. Notably, the film remains unedited on Disney+ in the UK and Canada, further fueling the controversy.

From The Independent:

Writer Sam Adams remarked: "The uncensored FRENCH CONNECTION should be the only one in circulation, whether on TV or in theaters. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Friedkin knew exactly what having his detective protagonist use it said about him."

Author Drew McWeeney added: "This s*** is insidious, and their license gives them the right to alter it no matter what."

Thus far, neither Criterion Channel nor Disney has provided an official explanation for the edit.

Here's the original trailer: