IMDb > The Battle of Algiers (1966)
La battaglia di Algeri
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The Battle of Algiers (1966) More at IMDbPro »La battaglia di Algeri (original title)

Photos (See all 11 | slideshow) Videos (see all 3)
The Battle of Algiers -- THE REVOLT THAT STIRRED THE WORLD!

Director Gillo Pontecorvo's highly acclaimed masterpiece THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is regarded as one of modern cinema's finest achievements. Now, Digitally RE-MASTERED IN HIGH DEFINITION from restored archive elements approved by the filmmakers, this all-time classic release of “The Battle Of Algiers” also commemorates 
the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence. This new HD version includes some previously unseen footage, 
making this the most complete edition ever anywhere.

SPECIAL FEATURES
EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION & INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR KEN LOACH
EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION BY DIRECTOR PAUL GREENGRASS (Bourne films)                  
THE MAKING OF THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS
An exclusive interview with Director Gillo Pontecorvo
THE REAL BATTLE OF ALGIERS 
Interview with Producer & protagonist SAADI YACEF, head of FLN guerrillas
OUR WAR FOR FREEDOM
Interview with FLN fighter ZOHRA DRIF BITAT (the Milk Bar bomber portrayed in the film)
PHOTO GALLERIES From filmmaker’s personal archives
FILM TRAILERS, Theatrical and Argent Trailer
ALSO INCLUDED A SPECIAL BOOKLET “ITALIANS IN ALGIERS; An essay by author-scholar David Forgacs, Professor at NYU, on the remarkable genesis of the film and how it was shaped by both the award-winning Italian filmmakers and its ex-guerrilla Algerian producer, whose memoir the film is based on.
The Battle of Algiers -- One of the most influential political films in history, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (La bataille d’Alger) vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   28,362 votes »
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Down 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
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View company contact information for The Battle of Algiers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 September 1967 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
No winners See more (236 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Brahim Hadjadj ... Ali La Pointe (as Brahim Haggiag)
Jean Martin ... Col. Mathieu
Yacef Saadi ... Djafar (as Saadi Yacef)
Samia Kerbash ... One of the girls
Ugo Paletti ... Captain
Fusia El Kader ... Halima
Omar
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mohamed Ben Kassen ... Petit Omar
Michele Kerbash ... Fathia (uncredited)
Franco Morici ... (uncredited)
Tommaso Neri ... Captain (uncredited)
Gene Wesson ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Gillo Pontecorvo 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Gillo Pontecorvo 
Franco Solinas 

Produced by
Antonio Musu .... producer
Yacef Saadi .... producer
Fred Baker .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Ennio Morricone 
Gillo Pontecorvo 
 
Cinematography by
Marcello Gatti 
 
Film Editing by
Mario Morra 
Mario Serandrei 
 
Production Design by
Sergio Canevari 
 
Set Decoration by
Sergio Canevari 
 
Costume Design by
Giovanni Axerio (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Maurizio Giustini .... key makeup artist
Hamdi Mohamed .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Nour Eddine Brahimi .... production manager
Lakhdar-Toumi Edine .... production supervisor
Abdenour Essed .... production supervisor
Sergio Merolle .... production manager
Rolando Pieri .... production manager
Mohamed Hadj Smaïn .... production supervisor (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Moussa Haddad .... second assistant director
Giuliano Montaldo .... second unit director
Fernando Morandi .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Tarcisio Diamanti .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Alberto Bartolomei .... sound synchronisation
Omar Bouksani .... sound technician
 
Special Effects by
Aldo Gasparri .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Belkacem Bazi .... assistant camera
Nazzareno Belardinelli .... gaffer
Silvano Mancini .... camera operator
Alfredo Marchetti .... key grip
Ali Maroc .... assistant camera
Claudio Racca .... camera operator: second unit
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Giovanni Axerio .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Lina Caterini .... second assistant editor
Anna Maria Montanari .... first assistant editor
 
Music Department
Bruno Nicolai .... conductor
 
Other crew
Margherita Autuori .... unit publicist (as Rossetti)
Alfredo Di Santo .... production secretary
Alfredo Di Santo .... script supervisor
Enrico Lucherini .... unit publicist (as Lucherini)
Mario Maestrelli .... administrator
Matteo Spinola .... unit publicist (as Spinola)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La battaglia di Algeri" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
121 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:14A (Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | France:(Banned) (1965-1971) | Italy:VM18 | Netherlands:18 (1970) | Norway:16 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) (1993) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The only film in Oscar history to be a nominee in two separate non-consecutive years. It was a foreign film nominee for 1966, and then a nominee for screenplay and direction for 1968.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The foot responsible for tripping Ali when running down the street changes from the right to the left foot between cuts.See more »
Quotes:
Col. Mathieu:Interrogation becomes a method when conducted in a manner so as always to obtain a result, or rather an answer. In practice, demonstrating a false humanitarianism only leads to ridiculousness and impotence. I'm certain that all units will understand and react accordingly.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) (TV)See more »

FAQ

Is this movie based on a novel?
Who set the first bomb...the French or the Arabs?
Any recommendations for other movies about colonial Africa?
See more »
189 out of 197 people found the following review useful.
No winners, 23 February 2004
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

Perhaps no other cinematic depiction of revolt against colonial rule is so detailed, vivid, and specific as the 1965 Battle of Algiers (La battaglia di Algeri, just reissued in a new print and having limited distribution in the US). It's a vivid and very specific recreation of the insurrection against the French in Algiers in the late Fifties that shows how the French systematically eradicated that insurrection. It's also a story repeated with variations in dozens of parts of the globe now, as then. But as I'm not the first to note, it's neither a partisan tract nor a user manual. It was therefore foolish of the Pentagon to watch it recently as if tips on how to control Iraqi `resistance'/'terrorism' were to be found in it, and it has been equally foolish of the Black Panthers or other revolutionaries to watch it seeking tactical information for their struggles. Those tactics did not succeed; but neither did the effort to quell the independence movement: the French won the battle but lost the war. A process that might have proceeded peacefully in a matter of months, takes years to happen. The film documents the sad foolishness of solving conflicts with violence, the maximum loss and suffering on both sides and the protraction of the inevitable outcome.

The insurrection The Battle of Algiers describes was effectively quelled through the leadership of the bold, methodical French Colonel Mathieu, who as we see succeeds in eliminating the organizational structure of the resistance, `triangle' by `triangle', using torture to ferret out names and locations of the autonomous `terrorists'/'partisans,' then killing the `head' of the `worm' their structure represents so it can't `regenerate.' Once this happens, after a merciless French campaign following a general strike, the sympathizers in the majority Algerian population are totally demoralized; but two years later a vigorous national independence movement `suddenly,' `spontaneously,' springs forth, and not long afterward France has to grant Algerian independence. It's at this point, rather than at the moment of Mathieu's momentary triumph, that the film ends.

Gillo Pontecorvo undertook his masterpiece after prodding from the resistance leader, Saadi Yacef, but he made a film equally sympathetic toward and critical of both sides. We see as much of the French dissection of the situation and repression of it (by the police chief, then Colonel Mathieu) as we see of the `terrorists'/'partisans' planning and execution of their actions. We see Colonel Mathieu as an appealing macho hero with moments of noble fair play, a shades-wearing, cigarette puffing veteran who moves around with clarity, honesty, and panache; he himself has a `partisan' background. The `terrorist'/'rebel' leaders are serious, intensely committed men of various types, from the sophisticated intellectual to the young firebrand. There are no `heroes' here; or, alternately, if you like, they're all `heroes.'

Mathieu appears before the press beside the captured `rebel'/'terrorist' leader - an unusual move in itself - and expresses his respect for the man's courage and conviction. The `rebel' leader in this scene is eloquent in defending `terrorist'/'rebellion' methods such as the use of baskets filled with explosives in public places. `Give us your bombs and we'll give you our baskets.' Mathieu for his part effectively explains to the journalists the necessity of torture to short circuit the `rebellion'/'terrorism'. After this explanation, the film, typically systematic at this point, begins showing a series of tortures of Algerians being carried out.

The first image we see in the film is the shattered face and body of the small, tortured Algerian man who's broken down and revealed where Ali `La Pointe,' the firebrand, the last remaining leader, is hiding. Then we see the `terrorist'/'terrorist' leader Ali and his closest supporters trapped like deer in their hideaway, their faces soft and beautiful. The splendid black and white photography works like William Klein's Fifties and Sixties images (he's one of the key visual commentators of that period stylistically) to powerfully capture the edgy soulfulness of the North African people and their gritty Casbah milieu. Much of the film's power comes from the way Pontecorvo was able to work, through Saadi Yacef, directly in the Casbah among the real people - as Fernando Meirelles worked in the favelas of Brazil recently with local boys to forge the astonishing City of God.

The voices, which are dubbed, as was the fixed Italian filmmaking style, work somewhat less effectively because of obvious disconnects between mouth and sound at times, but the French is so analytical and the Algerians' Arabic so exotic-sounding (even to a student of Arabic) that they work, and the insistent, exciting music composed by Pontecorvo himself in collaboration with Ennio Morricone is a powerful element in the film's relentless forward movement.

The fast rhythms of the editing are balanced by the stunning authenticity of the hundreds of Algerian extras who swarm across the screen: it's in the crowd scenes that The Battle of Algiers really sings. There are many superb sequences of street fighting, of people massing at checkpoints, of the French victims innocently assembled in public places; and like an exhilarating coda there is the scene of joyous victory as Algerians celebrate their independence in the last blurry moments. This is a film (again, like City of God) of almost intoxicating -- and nauseating -- violence, complexity, and fervor. Pontecorvo's accomplishment, though, is the way through showing the leaders analyzing and debating the action he freezes any impulse toward partisanship in its tracks. The evenhandedness of the coverage works a Brechtian `Alienation Effect' so you don't get caught up in rooting for one side or the other.

The sequence of three pretty Algerian women carrying out an operation is a particularly memorable one -- but only one among many. First they take off their burqas and cut their hair and doll themselves up French style and then they get past the checkpoint into the French quarter to leave handbags full of explosives in a bar, a dance club, and an airport lounge. Again close-ups of faces in the bar and the jive dancers with jaunty jabbing elbows in the club show a brilliant use of image and classic editing: first the innocent, vulnerable faces, then the explosions. Here our sympathies for the French victims are fully awakened. Another sequence of Algerians removing bodies from a building has all the power and sadness of Christ's Passion.

There's no point where as in a conventional thriller we feel excitement and sympathy for the perpetrator, because we see the cruelty of the perpetrator and the humanity of the victim every time. The Battle of Algiers is a final triumphant use of Italian cinematic neorealismo. The killing is observed neutrally, but with sadness, as part of a stupid game caused by ignorance and played out compulsively when a political settlement would have been infinitely better - a stupid game observed with astonishing zest.

Revived thirty-five years later in a new 35-mm. print, its grainy beauty pristinely vivid, The Battle of Algiers remains a superbly made machine that plays out the addictive game of `terrorism,' repression, torture, revolt, and full-fledged insurrection as effectively now as when it was first issued. Like any classic, it's of its time and of all time. There's a lesson here, but it's not for partisans or colonialists: it's for all people.

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Comparisons between this film and Munich nuv
Algeria would be nowhere.... drew-415
What's that song called that was playing throughout? DukeBryant
Any other political films about African colonies / post-colonial Africa? klump55-1
Too expensive! aliaselias
Radical Movies whopsee_Daisy
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