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Choice of Arms (1981)
"Le choix des armes" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  19 August 1981 (France)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 872 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 7 critic

Two men break out of prison; a rival gang ambushes them. One is mortally wounded and tells the other, Mickey, to take him to the estate of a retired robber, Noel, who lives in comfort with ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Galabru ...
Jean-Claude Dauphin ...
Jean Rougerie ...
Raymond Constantini
Christian Marquand ...
Etienne Chicot ...
Roland Davout
Pierre Forget ...
Serge Olivier
Roland Blanche ...
Marc Chapiteau ...
Jean-Claude Bouillaud ...
Antoine Baud


Two men break out of prison; a rival gang ambushes them. One is mortally wounded and tells the other, Mickey, to take him to the estate of a retired robber, Noel, who lives in comfort with his lovely and beloved wife, Nicole. The man dies, and Mickey, a menacing hothead, demands money of Noel. A few days later, Mickey returns to the estate, shoots up a dinner party and threatens them again. Noel sends Nicole to an hotel and goes to his old gang to help him hunt down the dangerous Mickey. Mickey has other problems, too, including heartache for a daughter he hardly knows. Young, eager cops tail Nicole, and all are on a complicated collision course. Written by <>

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Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

19 August 1981 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Choice of Arms  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Girare Le choix des armes (2007) See more »


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User Reviews

Competently Structured Tale Of Criminal Society.
13 December 2004 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

A gracefully paced and ably directed work featuring highly talented players, including Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, along with Yves Montand, LE CHOIX DES ARMES is generally successful as cinematic art, although it must be stressed that it should properly be viewed in its French language format, since the subtitled American release is harshly cut and reveals post-production efforts not at all sympathetic with the original release. An escaped convict and killer, Mickey (Depardieu), chooses to hide from police pursuit upon the lavish estate of former organized crime doyen Noel Durrieux (Montand) and his wife Nicole (Deneuve, with a wonderfully layered interpretation of her rôle), but when detectives come near, Mickey flees to Paris, although he soon returns, bringing about a conflict between two criminal codes after Mickey believes that Durrieux has informed police of the escapee's location. There are carefully fleshed out parts here for numerous characters as the two principal antagonists career toward an inevitable climactic meeting, it becoming increasingly apparent that there are lessons to be learned beyond those of the scenario and they may not be divulged by ancillary figures. Auteur Corneau's metronomic tone mates well with the script's finely balanced, rather spare, dialogue, and with a complex plot not immediately pervious to a viewer, the film benefits from the director's ability to weave a diverse cast of characters into a discriminatory dramatic construction. Deneuve earns acting honours, while Depardieu is highly effective as a sociopath savaged by paranoia yet displaying a wide range of emotional engagement with disparate characters, and Montand is icily persuasive as a "retired" mob leader who is forced to reenter his past in the hope of achieving safety for him and his wife. Following a slowly gaited but logical storyline is difficult with the extensive cutting performed upon the film's U.S. version, that is burdened as well with poor sound transference and largely inferior processing, very unfortunate in this instance of a solidly crafted motion picture that deserves better.

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