Up 17,285 this week

Le Petit Soldat (1963)
"Le petit soldat" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  War, Drama  |  25 January 1963 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,618 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 23 user | 23 critic | 5 from

During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva who belongs to a right-wing terrorist group and a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist ... See full summary »



0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Related News

Nyff to host Godard tribute
| ScreenDaily
Movies This Week: August 2-8, 2013
| Slackerwood

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 39 titles
created 15 Oct 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 08 Mar 2014
a list of 30 titles
created 25 Jul 2014
a list of 42 titles
created 5 months ago
a list of 29 titles
created 2 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Le Petit Soldat" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Le Petit Soldat (1963)

Le Petit Soldat (1963) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Le Petit Soldat.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Contempt (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Pierrot escapes his boring society and travels from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea with Marianne, a girl chased by hit-men from Algeria. They lead an unorthodox life, always on the run.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Graziella Galvani
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

On a movie set, in a factory, and at a hotel, Godard explores the nature of work, love and film making. While Solidarity takes on the Polish government, a Polish film director, Jerzy, is ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Hanna Schygulla, Michel Piccoli
Weekend (1967)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A supposedly idyllic week-end trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams, revolution, cannibalism and murder as French bourgeois society starts to collapse ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Seven directors each dramatize one of the seven deadly sins in a short film. In "Anger," a domestic argument over a fly in the Sunday soup escalates into nuclear war. In "Sloth," a movie ... See full summary »

Directors: Eugène Ionesco, Philippe de Broca, and 7 more credits »
Stars: Marie-José Nat, Dominique Paturel, Danièle Barraud
Numéro deux (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An analysis of the power relations in an ordinary family.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Sandrine Battistella, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Oudrey
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Notre musique (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Divided into three "kingdoms" -- Enfer (Hell), Purgatoire (Purgatory) and Paradis (Paradise) -- Notre Musique is an indictment of modern times.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Sarah Adler, Nade Dieu, Rony Kramer
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Carmen is a member of a terrorist gang who falls in love with a young police officer guarding a bank that she and her cohorts try to rob. She leads him on while dragging the two of them ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Maruschka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffé, Myriem Roussel
Tout va bien (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Godard examines the structure of movies, relationships and revolutions through the life of a couple in Paris.

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin
Stars: Yves Montand, Jane Fonda, Vittorio Caprioli
Détective (1985)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In a palace of Paris. Two detectives are investigating a two-year-old murder. Emile and Francoise Chenal are putting pressure on Jim Fox Warner, a boxing manager, who owes them a huge ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Laurent Terzieff, Aurelle Doazan, Jean-Pierre Léaud
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A film about politics and the media, in which two workers in a newspaper plant attempt to make a film.

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville
Stars: Michel Marot, Anne-Marie Miéville


Complete credited cast:
Henri-Jacques Huet ...
Paul Beauvais ...
László Szabó ...


During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva who belongs to a right-wing terrorist group and a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist group meet and fall in love. Complications ensue when the man is suspected by the members of his terrorist group of being a double agent. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


War | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 January 1963 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Petit Soldat  »

Box Office


$180,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,848 (USA) (8 March 2013)


$24,296 (USA) (16 August 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was actually completed in 1960, and was Jean-Luc Godard's second film after Breathless (1960). It was shelved for three years by the French censors. See more »


Bruno Forestier: Maybe men talk incessantly, as if searching for gold in their quest for the truth. But instead of digging in riverbeds, they dig deep in their thoughts. They cast aside all the worthless words and they end up with just one, one single golden word: silence.
See more »


Referenced in Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Lacks the refinement or imagination of subsequent Godard, but still an interesting early work
21 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Godard's first explicitly political work - produced directly following the release of his debut film, the celebrated À bout de soufflé (1960), and banned almost immediately by the French government until 1963 - is a small-scale B-picture with serious intentions and a scattering of the director's typical verve and energy. In tone, it is somewhat characteristic of the approach of the early French New Wave, and of Godard's films of this period; calling to mind the aforementioned debut and his short films, Tous les garçons s'appellent Patrick (1959) and Charlotte et son Jules (1960), with the elements of cinema vérité inspired editing and cinematography techniques - capturing the action in a hurried and uncomplicated approach of hand-held cameras and unsophisticated mise-en-scene - and featuring a few early experiments with the use of sound design and music that would become more refined throughout the director's subsequent projects; leading to the year-zero effect of Week End (1967) and his exile from "mainstream" cinema until the early 1980's.

Although the film is quite clearly attempting to be a serious work - in regards to both the subject matter and the portrayal of the characters

  • this is still Godard at his most playful and deconstructive;

tinkering with the characteristics of post-war crime cinema and the American film-noir to underline a story that is grittier and more low-key than many of his subsequent projects, such as the giddily stylised Une femme est une femme (1961) produced the following year. So, even though this particular approach and subject matter seems to point towards Godard's later, more politically minded work, such as Made in USA (1966) and La Chinoise (1967), we're still very much in the world of À bout de soufflé; with Godard simply using the political aspects of the story in the same way that he would use the science-fiction elements of Alphaville (1964) or the crime story characteristics of the much later Detective (1985); in the sense that they're mainly stylistic devises there to be exploited for the purposes of cinematic experimentation. I'm sure he meant it deep down, but at this stage in his career, Godard simply lacked the refinement of his later work, giving us a mostly straight presentation with tough guy narration, some ironic asides and an interest in moments of witty dialog and character interaction to breakdown the more conventional thriller aspects of the narrative.

At its most interesting, Le Petit Soldat (1963) draws odd parallels between the shooting of a film and the shooting of a political target; with Godard invoking his cinematographer Raoul Coutard and an anecdote about location filming - "the great hassle" - and applying it to the foibles of political assassination when outside influences intervene. In one line, it is pure Godard; playful, deconstructive, self-referential and incredibly witty; we also have that great shot in which the central character, readying himself for a hit, poses from his car window with a 44. in one hand, and a picture of Hitler held in the other to slyly mask his features. What also marks this out as an interesting work for Godard is the first appearance from Anna Karina; the Danish actress that would become Godard's first wife and muse for many of his earliest and greatest films, until Made in USA and their subsequent divorce in 1967. In Le Petit Soldat it becomes clear that Godard is in love with Karina, and his interest in her is expressed cinematically, with the black and white photography of Coutard framing her beautiful features with those big wide eyes and conspiratorial smile that is perfect for a character of this nature.

Godard and Karina would go on to make greater films together, such as Une femme est une femme, Vivre sa Vie (1962), Bande á part (1964) Alphaville and Pierrot le fou (1965) - all groundbreaking works - but there's a charm to her appearance here that makes the lengthy scenes between her character and the film's central protagonist fizz and pop with an unrehearsed magnetism and charisma that is (or was) characteristic of the early French New Wave. In the end, for all the grit and the prolonged scenes of psychological torture and botched political assassinations, Godard is really just playing here; playing with the ideas of politics and current events, like he played with the characteristics of Cocteau's Le Bel Indifférent with Charlotte et son Jules, or played with the crime film conventions in À bout de soufflé. Obviously, these characters aren't secret-agents, radicals or revolutionaries, but are simply actors playing at these roles; much like Belmondo was playing at being a gangster or Karina would go on to play the sitcom girl next door.

Ultimately, Godard's cinema is a cinema of moments; of scenes and characters that gather in our mind during the course of the process of viewing and remain there long after the film has ended. As a result, it is often argued that one can enjoy a film of Godard's, even if they found the complete experience somewhat slow or disengaging - largely as a result of the greatness of the individual scenes. Though it remains flawed in some respects, Le Petit Soldat is certainly not a bad film, and indeed, seems bursting with fresh ideas and ideologies; many of which are a lot more subtle than Godard's detractors would perhaps give him credit for. However, even then, we can recognise this as an early work in the grand scheme of things, produced by an incredibly talented young filmmaker not yet in complete command of his identity or his craft.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why 1963? This movie was made in 1960! david-1056
why no translation? otis von zipper
Why so overlooked? whyofcourse64
narrator pjbadseed
je vous aime goombaruskirusky
Godard's most straightforward narrative? mcmoogol
Discuss Le Petit Soldat (1963) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: