Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)
"L'instinct de mort" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Biography, Crime  |  22 October 2008 (France)
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The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Florence Thomassin ...
Michel Duchaussoy ...
Pierre André Mesrine - le père de Jacques Mesrine
Myriam Boyer ...
La mère de Jacques Mesrine
Abdelhafid Metalsi ...
Ahmed - le proxénète
Le milliardaire
Deano Clavet ...
Roger André
Mustapha Abourachid ...
Le harki
Sofiane Benrazzak ...
Le Fellagah #1 (as Sophiane Benrezzak)


Mesrine: Killer Instinct -- the first of two parts -- charts the outlaw odyssey of Jacques Mesrine (Vincent Cassel), the legendary French gangster of the 1960s and 1970s who came to be known as French Public Enemy No. 1 and The Man of a Thousand Faces. Infamous for his bravado and outrageously daring prison escapes, Mesrine carried out numerous robberies, kidnappings and murders in a criminal career that spanned continents until he was shot dead in 1979 by France's notorious anti-gang unit. Thirty years after his death, his infamy lives on. Mesrine was helped along the way by beautiful and equally reckless Jeanne Schneider (Cécile de France), a Bonnie to match his Clyde. Mesrine made up his own epic, between romanticism and cruelty, flamboyance and tragedy. Written by Music Box Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mesrine | gangster | france | epic | murder | See All (95) »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, some sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

22 October 2008 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£135,999 (UK) (7 August 2009)


$551,660 (USA) (25 February 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The filming of this and Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008), which lasted nine straight months, was done in reverse chronological order so that Vincent Cassel could progressively lose the weight he gained in preparation of the role, as Cassel knew he couldn't gain weight while filming. See more »


At the Bonaventure metro station scene, when the metro arrives, a sound of the wheels screeching can be heard as the train stops. The Montreal metro has rubber wheels, so it normally stops silently. See more »


Followed by Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008) See more »


Rah ou waila
Written by Dahmane El Harrachi (as Abderrahmane Amrani)
Performed by Dahmane El Harrachi
See more »

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User Reviews

A powerful thriller for an amazing true story !
30 October 2008 | by (France) – See all my reviews

We could argue for hours about the point that Richet is trying to make, is he simply celebrating and glamorizing the crazy life of Jacques Mesrine ? Is he trying to say something about the increasing presence of big brother in western countries (the patriot act in the US, cameras everywhere in the UK or the french debate about listings of people etc...)wish supposedly smothers us and would render the existence of men like Mesrine an impossibility? But in the end who cares ? The movie is an absolutely brilliant genre movie, with amazing actors at their best, an incredible recreation of seventies France, very realistic and visceral action scenes (all based on facts by the way !), and Richet's directing is very controlled, precise, you feel he knows what he wants, sort of the anti-Brett Ratner if you will, and the ambiance is spot on too. Time flew so fast when was watching the film, and now i just can't wait for the follow up which should arrive in 2009. truly great stuff !

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