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Le Cercle Rouge (1970)
"Le cercle rouge" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  20 October 1970 (France)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 13,801 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 50 user | 75 critic | 19 from

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Le Commissaire Mattei (as André Bourvil)
Vogel (as Gian-Maria Volonte)
Le Receleur
Paul Amiot ...
Pierre Collet ...
Le Gardien de prison
André Ekyan ...
Jean-Pierre Posier ...
L'assistant de Mattei
François Périer ...
Santi (as François Perier)
Yves Arcanel ...
Le juge d'instruction
René Berthier ...
Le directeur de la P.J.
Jean-Marc Boris ...
Le fils Santi
Jean Champion ...
Le garde-barrière
Yvan Chiffre ...
Un policier


On the eve of his release after five years imprisoned, the thief Corey is contacted by one guard of the prison that offers him a jewelry heist. However Corey seeks out his former boss Rico and steals money from him. Rico sends two gangsters to hunt Corey down and retrieve the stolen amount. Meanwhile the criminal Vogel is transported by train by the Police Officer Mattei and succeeds to escape. Corey drives from Marseille to Paris and Vogel hides in the trunk of his car. Corey finds him but does not object to ride Vogel to Paris hidden in the trunk. When the gangsters sent by Rico cut in Corey's car, Vogel saves him from the criminals, but Corey loses the money. Without money, Corey decides to heist the jewelry with Vogel and invites the former police detective Jansen to team-up with them. The trio executes a perfect heist but Rico is seeking revenge and Mattei is an unethical but efficient police officer capable to use any means to resolve the case. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

heist | police | prison | money | thief | See All (70) »


The Red Circle is a powerful in-depth study of the French Underworld See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 October 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Cercle Rouge  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,843 (USA) (10 January 2003)


$372,229 (USA) (12 September 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Captain Mattei, the role played by Bourvil, was originally offered to Lino Ventura; the role of Jansen, played by Yves Montand, was originally offered to Paul Meurisse; and Jean-Paul Belmondo was originally planned to play the role of Vogel ultimately played by Gian Maria Volonté. See more »


When Commissaire Mattei goes to enter in his office while Le Receleur is inside, he opens the door and while the door is opened an he goes to get in, in the next shot from inside of the office the door is closen and Commissaire Mattei opens it again to get in. See more »


Jansen: [dying of a gunshot wound] Still as stupid as ever on the force, eh, old friend?
See more »


Referenced in Heat (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

A return to silent majesty?
24 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Everyone likes the coolly created, memorable heist movie. Alain Delon provides the antihero, Melville provides the cool, and a handful of other great talent (Yves Montand, Gian Maria Volonte, and Andre Bourvil, mostly) arrives to add a crisp engaging movie...

...with very little dialog. This is great, because one certain aspect of the genre tends to be a lot of dialog involving the quick-witted and their various repartees. This movie, however, could be watched with the sound completely off and not too terribly much would be missed. Not to say the sound is bad, oh no, the jazzy soundtrack and the crisp audio catching the little movements makes the slow, patient deliberation of the patients very compelling.

What's also really neat about this film is that the color cinematography is pretty fantastic. Usually when it comes to cinematography, black and white movies tend to stick out in my mind, but this film has some very strong and beautiful imagery that makes the movie pure visual pleasure to observe.


26 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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