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The Battle of Algiers (1966)
"La battaglia di Algeri" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  20 September 1967 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 33,177 users   Metascore: 94/100
Reviews: 243 user | 127 critic | 20 from

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.


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Top 250 Movies #212 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ali La Pointe (as Brahim Haggiag)
Jean Martin ...
Yacef Saadi ...
Djafar (as Saadi Yacef)
Samia Kerbash ...
One of the girls
Ugo Paletti ...
Fusia El Kader ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mohamed Ben Kassen ...
Petit Omar


A film commissioned by the Algerian government that shows the Algerian revolution from both sides. The French foreign legion has left Vietnam in defeat and has something to prove. The Algerians are seeking independence. The two clash. The torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian's use of bombs in soda shops. A look at war as a nasty thing that harms and sullies everyone who participates in it. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The French Colonel...who was forced even to torture! One of the many women...who stopped at nothing to win! The Algerian Street Boy...who became a rebel hero! See more »


Drama | History | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




| |

Release Date:

20 September 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Algiers  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$64,870 (USA) (9 January 2004)


$815,345 (USA) (10 September 2004)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Col. Matthieu is loosely based on the real life General Jacques Massu. Right-wing elements in the French Army, led by General Massu seized power in Algiers and threatened to conduct an assault on Paris, involving paratroopers and armored forces based at Rambouillet, unless Charles de Gaulle was placed in charge of the Republic of France. See more »


Ali's first assignment is to assault a police officer. During this, the cop's hat falls to the ground, and the position of the hat changes between cuts. See more »


Col. Mathieu: There are 80,000 Arabs in the Kasbah. Are they all against us? We know they're not. In reality, it's only a small minority that dominates with terror and violence. This minority is our adversary and we must isolate and destroy it.
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An unforgettable study of occupation and defeat.
13 May 2004 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

In 1962 after more than 130 years of French colonial rule, Algeria became independent. Gillo Pontecorvo's `Algiers' shows the decade leading to that liberation in a powerful story about Muslims asserting their rights through violence, hiding, and plotting in the Kasbah, a demiworld of narrow, winding, seemingly endless alleys that are the only protection the rebels have from the eyes of the French. The re-release of the 1965 black and white film is a convincing story of a people who do not want to be occupied and will give their lives so their families can one day be free.

The story centers on a couple of Muslim leaders, the charismatic Col. of the French forces, and the bombings and shootouts that at one point averaged just over 4 per day. The film's sympathy is for the Muslims, but the Colonel has moments of reflection that could be sympathetic, especially with the revelation that he was a member of the resistance in WWII and may have suffered in a concentration camp. The director shows the influence of Italian neo-realists like Roberto Rossellini (`Paisan') by shooting in documentary style on location, using non-actors (except for the Colonel), and generally avoiding an agitprop angle.

But the film's sympathy in the end belongs to the occupied people. When 3 rebel women change appearance to look French, infiltrate, and plant bombs, the irony obvious to American audiences in their current struggle is a tribute to the strength of the narration and characterization and the universal dislike of occupation and subjugation.

The torture of the Muslim prisoners is the most poignant relevance to the recent scandal in Iraq. The Colonel's justification for the practice to gain life-saving information is classic `ends-justify-the-means' logic still being used by great nations. In fact, the Pentagon reportedly had seen this film during the first days of the second Iraq War; some say they learned nothing from the film, which is an unforgettable study of occupation and defeat.

75 of 90 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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