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

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 12,252 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 45 user | 72 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bourvil ...
Le Commissaire Mattei (as André Bourvil)
...
Vogel (as Gian-Maria Volonte)
...
...
Le Receleur
Paul Amiot ...
Pierre Collet ...
Le Gardien de prison
André Ekyan ...
Rico
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
Edit

Storyline

Corey is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel, a murderer, escapes from the custody of the patient Mattei, a cat-loving police superintendent. Corey robs Rico, his mob boss, then enlists Vogel and an ex-police sharpshooter, Jansen, in a jewel heist. While Corey is harried by the vengeful Rico, Mattei pressures Santi, a nightclub owner and pimp, to help him trap the thieves. Over all hangs the judgment of the police directeur, that every man is guilty. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No place to hide..Nowhere to run.. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Cercle Rouge  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$372,229 (USA) (12 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Pierre Melville said he originally wrote a version of the jewel heist scene in 1950, but after The Asphalt Jungle (1950) (and, later, Rififi (1955)) came out, he shelved the idea until 1970. See more »

Goofs

There's a cut as Commissaire Mattei turns on the lamp in his apartment. The cat beside the green chair disappears and the cat in it switches from facing sideways to facing the camera. See more »

Quotes

Vogel: Between shooting two men six feet away and hitting a target at 100 feet there's a certain difference. It's the difference between an amateur and a professional. And, despite all appearances, I'm not professional.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.13 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
While "Le Samourai" had one great lead performance, this has four
24 December 2006 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

While its not the masterpiece that "Le Samourai" was (I've accepted by now that Jean-Pierre Melville was never able to top that classic), I find "Le Cercle Rouge" to be much better than "Bob le flambeur". I felt that "Bob le flambeur" was an above-average and influential b-film, but still a b-film. "Le Cercle Rouge" proves that as a filmmaker Melville improved as he continued. John Woo is a massive fan of Melville, even though their film-making style differs. While Woo uses fast-motion for shootouts and an operatic sense of violence, Melville has a minimalist style that suits him very well. He wasn't interested in creating quickly paced action films but more meditative crime thrillers. In that department, he was one of the best.

"Le Samourai" is still his best work, mainly because it has more character development than this, but on a technical level they're probably equal. Besides, while "Le Samourai" had one great lead performance, this has four. Alain Delon is once again an ultra-cool gangster on the prowl - this man's silence is fascinating. Bourvil is superb as the police inspector on the case of the heist and escaped con. He steals every scene he is in, and proves that he was a skilled dramatic actor (in France he is best known as a slapstick comedian in the mode of Buster Keaton). Yves Montand is great also as the shaky and paranoid gun expert. Gian Maria Volontè (a regular in spaghetti westerns) is overshadowed by his three co-stars but still does an adequate job.

Once again, Melville's direction is superb. Taking equal influence from both American crime thrillers and the French new wave, the man always seems to know the best shots and angles to choose. This is more slowly-paced than most caper flicks, but it really pays off by the end. "Le Cercle Rouge" is a bit short of being an absolute classic, but is still one of the best heist flicks ever made. Tarantino must've seen this before making "Reservoir Dogs". (8/10)


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