Up 15,414 this week

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

 -  War | Drama  -  25 January 1963 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,181 users   Metascore: 97/100
Reviews: 22 user | 21 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

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available starting today. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 04 Nov 2012
a list of 29 titles
created 05 Feb 2013
a list of 30 titles
created 02 Apr 2013
a list of 40 titles
created 8 months ago
a list of 49 titles
created 5 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 7.2/10

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... 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two crooks with a fondness for old Hollywood B-movies convince a languages student to help them commit a robbery.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Danièle Girard
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In this film, 'Her' refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatised documentary, illustrating and ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Joseph Gehrard, Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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
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
Alphaville (1965)
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A U.S. secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Akim Tamiroff
Weekend (1967)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A supposedly idyllic weekend 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  

How do we learn? What do we know? Night after night, not long before dawn, two young adults, Patricia and Emile, meet on a sound stage to discuss learning, discourse, and the path to ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Juliet Berto, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jean-Luc Godard
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anne Collette, Gérard Blain
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 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
Numéro deux (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An analysis of the power relations in an ordinary family.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Sandrine Battistella, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Oudrey
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Workers on a car factory argue with revolutionary students.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard


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: "Photography is truth. And cinema is truth 24 frames a second"
See more »


Referenced in Beau Travail (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

As slowburn as an eighty-four minute film can be
2 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Le Petit Soldat (The Little Soldier) was shot in 1960 but was shelved until its release in 1963 after director Jean-Luc Godard had released his controversial groundbreaker Breathless, his unique little "musical" A Woman is a Woman, and his somber and moody Vivre Sa Vie. One wonders how Le Petit Soldat, originally intended for a 1960 release, would've fared as Godard's directorial debut or even sophomore effort, as the film makes a daring attempt at commenting on the, at the time, ongoing Algerian War along with making use of scenes involving torture and misogynistic undertones.

Le Petit Soldat also catches Godard in another one of his more pessimistic moods, providing a shakeup after the surprising happiness and playfulness A Woman is a Woman seemed to ooze. I've been perusing Godard's French New Wave films for the last month and a half, viewing now eight of his fifteen pictures and, from that, I can see that Godard apparently possesses three distinct moods. One of which is the aforementioned playfulness I remarked on that seemed apparent in A Woman is a Woman and little elsewhere. The second is an incoherent nature, where he seems to be spitballing ideas, observations, and insights, not really caring if they can mesh together into a project, often resulting in a rocky film (key examples are 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her and the aggressively unwatchable Film Socialisme, his most-recently released project). Finally, there's the mood he seems to be in quite frequently and that's the pessimistic and deeply cynical mood, often coming with a harsh lesson in politics and sociological commentary. Such examples are the great Pierrot Le Fou, the negative but immersing Weekend, and the thoughtful thematic tones provided in Contempt.

Le Petit Soldat is another candidate for the latter category, where Godard seems to be in a cranky mood, but not just any cranky mood. The kind where you wake up in the morning with something on your mind but can't quite make your mind work to say it. Godard seems to combat this notion by giving us a home-movie-quality feature film, set during the Algerian War, diving into the mind of Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor), a man working for the French Intelligence who is tasked with killing a man named Arthur Palivoda, who works for the National Liberation Front of Algeria. Personal morals and hesitation with the operation make this mission drag out longer than it should, and the mission is further extended when Bruno meets Veronica Dryer (Anna Karina), a woman who has aided the Liberation Front and whom falls in love with Bruno. He admires her unbelievable beauty and the way she makes a photograph sparkle. She admires his naivete and his ability to ask so many questions.

Godard gives us many ideas we've come to know from him up until this point. Yes, we know that he loves centering his films on the anti-hero or the character who commits despicable acts that we cannot bear to support. Yes, we know he loves lingering on shots of Anna Karina, admiring her unrealistic beauty, dirt-black hair, and her radiant, innocent, and sassy smile. And yes, we know he loves infusing his films with political commentary, subversive devices that help cinema's elasticity further stretch, and enjoys spitballing ideas at the audience, not really caring if we get them or not.

After the forty-five minute mark, however, Le Petit Soldat began to take its shape, showing scenes that commented on the use of torture tactics during the Algerian War. The scenes didn't so much show the horrors and the brutality of the waterboarding and the use of burning ones hands in order to obtain information, but rather the honesty and the small details of torture. Nowadays, something like this couldn't be done without excessive screaming, terror, some amount of bloodshed, and an apparent desire on the writer/director's behalf to make the viewer as uncomfortable as possible. Instead, Godard shows a closeup on ones face as they are sprayed with water with a cloth draping their entire face, locking out all possible air. He shows us the details of a man's hands handcuffed around a thick pipe being burned and toyed with thanks to the use of a lighter. These little details make up some of the head-turning aspects of the film that can't be ignored.

The final twenty-four minutes of the very short eighty-four Le Petit Soldat occupies largely takes place in one room with only two characters, Bruno and Veronica. Bruno paces back in forth, reciting dialog that is often hypocritical, observant, sometimes misogynist, but incredibly thought-provoking and intellectually-stimulating. Right then and there, it occurred to me why we see a Godard film after all. If we can somehow wait out some of the tedium (or a lot of the tedium, in this case), we get to the meat of the issue and we get wonderful dialog in return that gets our juices flowing.

Le Petit Soldat is much more interesting to read about, talk about, and think about than it is to endure, especially with the first forty-five minutes being so slow and often times grating. If one can look past a subpar first half, they will be greeted with a second half that is awe-inspiring and true to its director's long-held reputation.

1 of 1 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: