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The Corrupt (1963)

Symphonie pour un massacre (original title)
Five men collaborate to buy drugs, but one steals the money and all the rest are killed as they make mistakes.


Jacques Deray


Alain Reynaud-Fourton (novel), José Giovanni (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Michel Auclair ... Clavet
Claude Dauphin ... Valoti
José Giovanni José Giovanni ... Moreau
Michèle Mercier ... Madeleine Clavet
Daniela Rocca ... Hélène Valoti
Jean Rochefort ... Jabeke
Charles Vanel ... Paoli


Five men collaborate to buy drugs, but one steals the money and all the rest are killed as they make mistakes.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How to Acquire a Half Million Dollars By a Few Simple Motions That Almost Anyone Can Do


Crime | Drama


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Did You Know?


At first entitled 'Les Mystifiés' ("The mystified") just like the novel it was based on, the film was released under a new title in an effort to capitalize on the tremendous success of Henri Verneuil's 'Mélodie en sous-sol' (1963) by using a similar musical metaphor. See more »


Remade as Johnny Gaddaar (2007) See more »

User Reviews

Late in the day noir

Symphony for a massacre, as the French wording has it, never particularly rises above the contract of its title. Neither does it, via the medium of the crime thriller deliver any poignant commentary on life, as you might get from Melville in Le deuxième souffle (referring to a second wind you may get in later life), or via the medium of a "buddies movie" deliver any poignant commentary on male solidarity, as you might get from Duvivier in La Belle Equipe. It is a film where people are simply killed sequentially, but without the panache that grand guignol would rely upon to float the same property. It suffers perhaps from being quite late in the day, in 1963, for creating such a work of noir, too far from the pessimistic thoughts and hardships arising from the Second World War.

Of course there are master actors and actresses involved in the movie and three master directors, so it is not reasonable for me to suggest it is a turkey, but I have seen better films of its type, at least to my taste. There are occasional flourishes in the dialogue, Charles Vanel's Paoli darkly offering some "paté de merles" or "paté of blackbirds" to his co-conspirator, but it does feel like a Michel Audiard could have been bought in to tighten things up.

The film attempts to make an impact through the use of symphonic music in fairly uneventful scenes, and this element did not work for me. Much better the minimalism of Le Samouraï.

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France | Italy



Release Date:

27 May 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Symphony for a Massacre See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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