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The Red Circle (1970)
"Le cercle rouge" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 11,846 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 45 user | 69 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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Edit

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:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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

Director Jean-Pierre Melville's green Ford Mustang can be seen in the line of cars at the Corey's ('Alain Delon') first border crossing. See more »

Goofs

When Corey gets out of his car and walks to the trunk, the direction of the falling rain changes. See more »

Quotes

Le chef de la police: And don't forget: All guilty.
Le Commissaire Mattei: Even policemen?
Le chef de la police: All men, Mr. Mattei
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Red Circle See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of my new favorite heist pictures: a smooth success for Melville and his cast
14 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jean-Pierre Melville is a director I've only recently gotten acquainted with (I need to see Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai again to fully grasp them), but in watching Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle, supposedly based on a saying in Buddhism) I realized I was watching as skillful and absorbing a crime film as I had seen in a quite some time. Though his film has dialog, it is mainly to keep the film's scenes rolling along, adherent to the plot. What kept me on the alert, even in seemingly mundane scenes/sequences, was the emphasis on the characters' movements, or behavior patterns. Melville has his story laid out, and he is careful to take his time to tell it (this could seem boring to some, but it does seem to work since he puts a little more emphasis on the weight of the characters/environments over plot).

Yet look at each of the four main players: Alain Deleon as Corey (just released from prison, scheming a new heist), Gian Maria Volonte as Vogel (escaping & on the lam from hand-cuffed custody, meets Corey by luck), Yves Montand as Jansen (an aged pro with many years of experience with weapons, a friend of Vogel), and Andre Bourvil as Mattei (an experienced investigator, who is on the look-out for Vogel, and on his toes with internal affairs). Each of these actors plays their parts with precision, detachment, and they each have their own kinds of moments that indicate to the audience what their personalities might be besides as criminals and cops. The heist sequence gives little hints, for example, like how Vogel cops-a-feel off a female statue while passing down the halls, or how Jansen takes out a flask and merely has a whiff of the contents (and what a dream this guy creates). Even Corey's movements involving a photograph of a woman arouse interest.

As absorbing and cool the story becomes, and as great the skills were to make it happen (via cinematographer Henri Decae, the editing, and the musical score by Eric Demarsan), it's the people on the screen that gain fascination, in how they stay true to their natures and ideals. Not a film to be missed by French new-wave enthusiasts, and modern-day crime movie buffs might want to take the 140 minutes to soak up the atmosphere of Melville's work. A suave piece of film-making that still ranks as one of my all-time favorites.


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