The Army of Shadows (1969)
"L'armée des ombres" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  12 September 1969 (France)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 14,004 users   Metascore: 99/100
Reviews: 85 user | 119 critic | 24 from

An account of underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France.


(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Meurisse ...
Jean François Jardie
Claude Mann ...
Claude Ullmann dit 'Le Masque'
Felix Lepercq
Christian Barbier ...
Guillaume Vermersch dit 'Le Bison'
The hairdresser
André Dewavrin ...
Alain Dekok ...
Alain Mottet ...
Commander of the camp
Alain Libolt ...
Paul Dounat
Jean-Marie Robain ...
Baron de Ferte Talloire
Albert Michel ...
Denis Sadier ...
Gestapo's doctor


France, 1942, during the occupation. Philippe Gerbier, a civil engineer, is one of the French Resistance's chiefs. Given away by a traitor, he is interned in a camp. He manages to escape, and joins his network at Marseilles, where he makes the traitor be executed... This non-spectacular movie (do not expect any Rambo or Robin Hood) shows us rigorously and austerely the everyday of the French Resistants : their solitude, their fears, their relationships, the arrests, the forwarding of orders and their carrying out... Both writer Joseph Kessel and co-writer and director Jean-Pierre Melville belonged to this "Army in the Shadows". Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Betrayal. Loyalty. Collaboration. Resistance.


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




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Release Date:

12 September 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Army of Shadows  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$12,620 (USA) (28 April 2006)


$741,733 (USA) (20 April 2007)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (2006 restoration)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


For the shot depicting German soldiers marching down the Champs Elysees, Jean-Pierre Melville thought that it would be impossible to get regular Frenchmen to provide the proper marching movements. He ended up casting dancers to correctly provide the march steps he wanted from the soldiers. This shot was originally the last in the film and prints were sent to theaters with it in that place. After the first showings, Melville decided the scene was better placed at the start of the film and it was physically spliced into the new position. This apparently resulted in several missing frames in the negative. These frames were restored from another source when the 2005 digital restoration was accomplished. See more »


In the sequence when Mathilde exits the car and silently waves goodbye to Gerbier, in response he rolls his window up completely, yet in the very next shot his window remains open as the car drives away. See more »


Jean François Jardie: She said five minutes, but she'll wait a lifetime.
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Featured in Code Name: Melville (2008) See more »


Stompin' at the Savoy
Music by Edgar M. Sampson aslo co-credited to Benny Goodman and Chick Webb
Played at the serviceman's club in London
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User Reviews

far from fake romanticism
7 November 1998 | by (France) – See all my reviews

This is probably one of the best fiction movies ever made on the French resistance during Worl War II. Far from the usual romantic cliches showing handsome young men playing tricks with the Nazis and falling in love with sublime women, the substance of the movie is reality. It depicts a "shadow army" made of courageous men who are ready to sacrifice their lives but are aware of the huge cost they will eventually have to pay. It shows the cruel and sometimes inhuman choices they have to make in order to survive. This is a very useful movie that gives a real hint of what resistance truly was.

77 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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what a way to spend a resistance vramesh
Women over 45 really hate this?!?!? vailrulestheworld
Why did Felix not want to wear the bowler hat? ozma-of-oz
Gerbier's Escape from Interrogation DrNick1
This film was suprisingly moving... Goldmund1710
Great Movie, But............... Berdowns2
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