In "The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir," director William Friedkin provides us with candid behind-the-scenes insights into his adventures in filmmaking.
From his encounters with Sonny (whom he adored) and Cher while working on "Good Times" to what Matthew McConaughey originally did with the screenplay of "Killer Joe," it gives a fascinating insider overview of moviemaking.
Here are but five of Friedkin's essential films.
"The French Connection": Watch this 1971 multiple Oscar winner about two cops and a big heroin shakedown and you'll notice just how influential it is even now. Friedkin picked up a best director trophy, and the film won other awards including best picture and best actor for Gene Hackman, among others. And there's that classic chase scene.
"The Exorcist": Friedkin and author William Peter Blatty scarred many of us for life with this 1973 blood-curdler. Imitated -- often quite poorly -- it remains the premier demonic possession scarefest that introduced us to Linda Blair playing a 14-year-old who spews and slings all sorts of evilness.
"Sorcerer": Tragically underseen when it came out in 1977, this riveting remake of 1953's "The Wages of Fear" more than withstands the test of time. It's a taut character-driven action film focused on a group of men embarking on a perilous mission. The tottering bridge crossing sequence is ingenious, and will certainly make your palms sweat.
"Cruising": Released in 1980, this thriller starring Al Pacino as a detective who goes undercover into S&M clubs so he can find a serial killer preying on gay men is one of Friedkin's most controversial productions. It's flawed, but the ambiguous ending and documentary-style approach gives it real staying power.
"To Live and Die in L.A.": Sexy and violent, this sun-kissed film noir from 1985 is about a bitter feud between a counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe) and a cocky cop (William Petersen). Love that Wang Chung soundtrack too.