Academy Award-winning filmmaker William Friedkin reached the Hollywood stratosphere in the 1970s with such groundbreaking films as “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist.” But the success was not to last. As he writes in his new memoir, “I was at the edge of a cliff and my demons were standing by waiting to push me off.” Today, Friedkin is still directing films — including 2011’s well-received “Killer Joe” — and has even developed a second career as an opera director. He joins us in studio to discuss his new memoir, “The Friedkin Connection.”

William Friedkin, film director, producer and screenwriter; and author of "The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir"

  • geraldfnord

    Callers might be interesting—Friedkin made few friends in the Bay Area with “Cruising”…but most memories are short.

    • thucy

      I was shocked to read a few years ago how few of the younger LGBT community had any idea who Harvey Milk was. It’s odd, because when I was growing up, if you wanted to learn anything about anything – from medieval history to Italian cinema – you could consult your older male friends in the Castro. Gay culture had, paradoxically, far more depth when it was underground.

  • Man CouchBum Dullen

    My father and I spent quite a few nights watching “The French Connection’, thank you for a film that has spanned generations. What do you think makes a film timeless?

  • TC


    I wonder if Mr. Friedkin would agree with me that Nicol Williamson’s Hamlet is superior to Olivier’s, because it is more passionate?


  • Genevieve Moore

    Last thing I need to hear today is the sound of a girl being tortured, I don’t care what the topic was.

    • am

      That’s a good point, Genevieve. Thank you for making a very interesting connection.

  • Chris OConnell

    It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie but could the people be laughing because it seems like a joke? Since there is obviously nothing to “exorcise,” maybe it comes across as a farce these days?

  • am

    I’ve witnessed and experienced the “laughing” response to “The Exorcist.” I first saw the film when I was 9 (!), when it appeared on network TV. It terrified me, causing me significant loss of sleep for several days. When I saw the film again later, at 13 I believe, a friend watching it with me laughed at many of the scenes. I was influenced to laugh along a little bit too, having had that reaction modeled by a slightly older boy. I think such laughter is indeed an attempt (one typical perhaps of adolescents, maybe adolescent males trying to be tough?) to distance or protect oneself from the horror of what’s happening on-screen. I’ve seen it countless times since then and can never imagine laughing at any of it again. Just hearing the scene a moment ago was horrifying.

  • mountain_webbie

    Great interview, fascinating guest. Well worth a listen if you love movies.

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