Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation was a relatively small and quiet character study released between the twin behemoths of The Godfather parts I and II. As a result, the film was overshadowed commercially, despite being nominated for several Oscars in 1974, but it remains an artistic highlight in Coppola's career, easily ranking among his larger, more iconic works. At least half the credit for that goes to Gene Hackman. He plays Harry Caul, a legend in the private-surveillance industry uncomfortable in his own skin. He knows firsthand that the concept of privacy in contemporary society is mostly illusory, and the nature of his occupation has made him increasingly paranoid and plagued by guilt. As Caul, Hackman pulls off a subtle acting feat, managing to make a man who's so emotionally guarded he's practically lifeless into a fascinating character.

  • Showing at: Laurelhurst.
  • Best paired with: BridgePort Stumptown Tart.
  • Also screening: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Hollywood Theatre), The Godfather Part II (Academy).