Le Samouraï (1967)
"Le samouraï" (original title)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  January 1967 (USA)
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Reviews: 94 user | 86 critic

After killing a night-club owner, professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses. His efforts to provide himself with an alibi fail and more and more he gets driven into a corner.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
François Périer ...
Nathalie Delon ...
Jane Lagrange
Cathy Rosier ...
La pianiste (as Caty Rosier)
Jacques Leroy ...
L'homme de la passerelle
Michel Boisrond ...
Robert Favart ...
Le barman
Jean-Pierre Posier ...
Olivier Rey
Catherine Jourdan ...
La jeune fille du vestiaire
Roger Fradet ...
1er inspecteur
Carlo Nell ...
2ème inspecteur
Robert Rondo ...
3ème inspecteur
André Salgues ...
Le garagiste
André Thorent ...
Policier - chauffeur de taxi
Jacques Deschamps ...
Policier speaker


Hitman Jef Costello is a perfectionist who always carefully plans his murders and who never gets caught. One night however, after killing a night-club owner, he's seen by witnesses. His efforts to provide himself with an alibi fail and more and more he gets driven into a corner. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


De kaldte ham Samoraien - den ensomme morder See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

January 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le Samourai  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$39,481 (USA) (28 February 1997)


$39,481 (USA) (28 February 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The caged bird is a bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). In the book "Melville on Melville" the director stated: "I wanted the opening shots to be predominately gray, so I used a female bullfinch because it is just black and white, without the male's orange breast." See more »


When rounding up suspects the inspector refers to the population as 10 million. The 1968 population of Paris city proper was only 2.6 million. The population of the urban area was only 8.2 million. See more »


Olivier Rey's associate: He's a lone wolf.
Olivier Rey: He's a wounded wolf; now there will be a trail. He must be disposed of quickly.
See more »

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User Reviews

Melville's masterpiece is pure seduction...
24 October 2004 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

This film starts off with the same sound like Sergio Leone's 'C'era un volta il west', but it's just that here the sound is made not by a plate, but a canary, the cold-blooded killer's canary.

This film was made in 1967, the French nouveau vague already apparent all over the place, but with much more subtle undertones than, say, a work by Truffaut.

No, Melville's films were old-school, but at the same time revolutionary, in a delicate way. Take for example the 'chase' scene through the Metro. Practically nothing happens: there are no gunfights, no combat sequences, perhaps just a small chase. But it is Melville's camera and Delon's inimitable performance that keep the audience mesmerized all the way.

The camera practically flirts with the audience throughout the whole movie, picking the most interesting angles and achieving so much practically without any effort. Delon's character changes his expression only once or twice during the movie, shoots faster than even Leone's gunslingers and never forgets to feed his canary. To me, one of the most accomplished antiheroes of the whole genre.

The dialogue is barely there, but when it is, then it's something you'd probably wish you would have come up with yourself. It is a minimalist work that achieves the absolute maximum. Simply put: one of the best crime noirs ever made.

80 of 103 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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