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Le Samouraï (1967)

Le samouraï (original title)
After Professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cathy Rosier ...
La pianiste (as Caty Rosier)
Jacques Leroy ...
Michel Boisrond ...
Robert Favart ...
Jean-Pierre Posier ...
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


His only friend was his gun! See more »


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 October 1967 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Samourai  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


The streets change from bone dry to soaking wet and raining when Jef flees from the female undercover cop in the Paris Metro. See more »


[pulls a gun on her, she just looks disappointed]
Valérie: Why Jeff?
Jeff Costello: I've been paid to.
See more »


Referenced in Liebe ist kälter als der Tod (1969) See more »


Jef Et Valérie
Written and Performed by François de Roubaix Et Orchestre
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User Reviews

Melville's masterpiece is pure seduction...
24 October 2004 | by 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.

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