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Special Section (1975)
"Section spéciale" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama, History, Thriller  |  23 April 1975 (France)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 393 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis Seigner ...
Le garde des Sceaux Joseph Barthélémy
Roland Bertin ...
Dayras - le secrétaire général du ministère de la Justice
Pierre Pucheu - le ministre de l'intérieur
Ivo Garrani ...
François Maistre ...
Le marquis Brinon - le délégué général de Vichy
Jacques Spiesser ...
Fredo - un résistant communiste
Henri Serre ...
Le préfet Ingrand - le délégué du ministère de l'intérieur en zone occupée
Heinz Bennent ...
Le major Beumelburg
Hans Richter
Pierre Dux ...
Le procureur général Cavarroc
Jacques François ...
Le procureur de l'Etat Gaboldé
Claudio Gora ...
Le premier président de la cour d'appel Villette
Michel Galabru ...
Le président Cournet
Claude Piéplu ...
Bénon - le président de la section spéciale
Hubert Gignoux ...
Le juge en 'noir'


In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.

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courtroom | based on book | See All (2) »


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Release Date:

23 April 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Special Section  »

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User Reviews

Ex post facto law
10 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

Unlike "Z" and "L'Aveu" ,"Section Speciale" was not a big success when it was theatrically released ."Z" took place in Greece and "L"Aveu" behind the iron curtain."Section Spéciale" takes place in France and it is no easy to clean your own backyard .Coming after "Le Chagrin Et La Pitié" and "Lacombe Lucien" which both showed the other side of the French attitude towards their occupying forces (till the seventies,most of the movies dealt with the French resistance from "Le Père Tranquille" to "L'Armée Des Ombres" ),Costa-Gavras showed how the French used the law to commit injustice .And these French who sentenced their compatriots to death were not troubled after the Liberation (whereas others who did not kill anybody were).Main objection:"if we had not sacrificed these ones,a hundred of French people would have been shot..."

Although Costa-Gavras made his movie accessible to everyone (story telling has always been his forte,even in his American career),he did not try to sweeten the screenplay with love affairs or melodrama (the past of one of the victims,played by Yves Robert ,is almost treated with nonchalance and casualness).Although there is no superstar here (nobody like Yves Montand) most of the actors,even in small parts,were widely known by the French audience of the seventies: his producer,Jacques Perrin,had been the rebellious journalist in "Z" and he portrays the only lawyer who really "plays".

But Costa-Gavras's best idea for the casting is the choice of Claude Pieplu as the presiding judge: his high-pitched voice -it's necessary to see the movie in French with subtitles- works wonders,so to speak,and I can't see no other French actor in this part.This man was so talented he would convince you that all he did was for the sake of his homeland.

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