Made between The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974), and in part an homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's art-movie classic Blow-Up (1966), The Conversation was a return to small-scale art films for Francis Ford Coppola. Sound surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is hired to track a young couple (Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest), taping their conversation as they walk through San Francisco's crowded Union Square. Knowing full well how technology can invade privacy, Harry obsessively keeps to himself, separating business from his personal life, even refusing to discuss what he does or where he lives with his girlfriend, Amy (Teri Garr). Harry's work starts to trouble him, however, as he comes to believe that the conversation he pieced together reveals a plot by the mysterious corporate "Director" who hired him to murder the couple. After he allows himself to be seduced by a call girl, who then steals the tapes, Harry is all the more convinced that a killing will occur, and he can no longer separate his job from his conscience. Coppola, cinematographer Bill Butler, and Oscar-nominated sound editor Walter Murch convey the narrative through Harry's aural and visual experience, beginning with the slow opening zoom of Union Square accompanied by the alternately muddled and clear sound of the couple's conversation caught by Harry's microphones. The Godfather Part II and The Conversation earned Coppola a rare pair of Oscar nominations for Best Picture, as well as two nominations for Best Screenplay (The Godfather Part II won both). Praised by critics, The Conversation was not a popular hit, but it has since come to be seen as one of the artistic high points of the decade, as well as of Coppola's career. Its atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion, combined with its obsessive loner antihero, made it prototypical of the darker "American art movies" of the early '70s, as its audiotape storyline also made it seem eerily appropriate for the era of the Watergate scandal.~Lucia Bozzola
The Conversation is one of those rare films that literally captivates your attention. One must watch the film to now exactly what I mean.The film is brilliantly layered. It is a character study of a survelliance expert plaid by Hackman who stumbles upon a murderous plot durring an assignment and how he deals with it.The solo piano score by David Shire is also great.
I call it a primitive film because it aims to uncover man's essential mentality in a world filled with corruption.It also accentuates man's loneliness and solitary confinment in himself and the world. A truly great film.
This review is from The Conversation [DVD] 
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Coppola's 2nd best film of the 70s
Coppola made four amazing films in the 1970s, and those are his four best movies ("Tucker," "Dracula," "Rumble Fish," and "The Rainmaker" are each good as well). "The Conversation" is a slow-moving and very interesting film. Gene Hackman is great in the lead, and the film's conclusion is unexpected and brilliant. Highly recommended.