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Le Samouraï (1967)

Le samouraï (original title)
After professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Delon ... Jef Costello
François Périer ... Le Commissaire
Nathalie Delon ... Jane Lagrange
Cathy Rosier Cathy Rosier ... La pianiste (as Caty Rosier)
Jacques Leroy Jacques Leroy ... L'homme de la passerelle
Michel Boisrond Michel Boisrond ... Wiener
Robert Favart Robert Favart ... Le barman
Jean-Pierre Posier Jean-Pierre Posier ... Olivier Rey
Catherine Jourdan ... La jeune fille du vestiaire
Roger Fradet Roger Fradet ... 1er inspecteur
Carlo Nell Carlo Nell ... 2ème inspecteur
Robert Rondo Robert Rondo ... 3ème inspecteur
André Salgues André Salgues ... Le garagiste
André Thorent André Thorent ... Policier - chauffeur de taxi
Jacques Deschamps Jacques Deschamps ... Policier speaker
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Storyline

Hitman Jef Costello is a perfectionist who always carefully plans his murders and who never gets caught. One night however, after killing a night-club owner, he's seen by witnesses. His efforts to provide himself with an alibi fail and more and more he gets driven into a corner. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

De kaldte ham Samoraien - den ensomme morder See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

25 October 1967 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Samourai See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of the most influential films of history. Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Jarmusch, John Woo, Johnnie To, David Fincher, Bernardo Bertolucci, Aki Kaurismäki, Takeshi Kitano, Micheal Mann, Georges Lautner, Nicolas Winding Refn, Luc Besson, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen and others have all made films strongly inspired by it. See more »

Goofs

The streets change from bone dry to soaking wet and raining when Jef flees from the female undercover cop in the Paris Metro. See more »

Quotes

Superintendant: Don't you love him?
Jane Lagrange: No.
Superintendant: Really? I'd have said you did. Laying yourself on the line for him like that, I thought you must love him.
Jane Lagrange: You're not the psychologist you imagined.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"There is no solitude greater than a samurai's, unless perhaps it is that of a tiger in the jungle." - The Book of Bushido. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Der Samurai (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Martey's
Written and Performed by François de Roubaix Et Orchestre
See more »

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User Reviews

An ultra stylized icon of urban cool
2 June 2006 | by Camera-ObscuraSee all my reviews

Melville's masterpiece about a contract killer, a modern day samuraï. He makes brilliant use of the city he loved so much, Paris. The feel, the sounds, the streets, the noise, it's all hauntingly cold and distant but at the same time he makes Paris seem like the coolest city in the world.

In the beginning of the film Melville uses a beautiful static shot of over 4 minutes to establish the audience with a seemingly empty room, then we see smoke circling upwards. There must be someone in the room but it's practically impossible to determine where the smoke is coming from. Finally Jeff Costello gets up from his bed, which wasn't recognizable as such in the first place, and appears on screen. The whole set-up is more reminiscent of a moving replica of a painting by the surrealist Paul Delvaux than anything else in modern cinema. Another surreal set piece is when after his first hit, all possible suspects are brought in at a police station, including Delon himself. Not one by one but all of 'em at the same time. In the next scene we see at least a hundred "gangsters", all wearing trench coats and hats, in a large hall, where they will be interrogated "en plein public". Genuinely strange procedures but handled with such care and stylishness that it becomes completely believable. It gives the somewhat humorous suggestion that the streets of Paris are populated by hundreds, even thousands, of trenchcoat-wearing gangsters, all loners, only seeing each other at card games and occasions like this.

Alain Delon is the perfect embodiment of gangster coolness in this career-defining role as a hit-man in Paris, a modern-day samuraï. "Le Gangster", as the French lovingly call them. Off course, these gangsters don't exist anymore and they probably never existed at all. French Gangsters must have been redefining their look after seeing Delon in this film. His association in real life with French criminal circles, in particular the Marseille underworld, has always given his performances a very strange aura.

As a kid, I regularly visited my grandmother who lived near the city of Marseille and on French television I saw lots of French gangster movies (well, my parents let me watch with them). Alain Delon was in quite a few of them. When I grew older and could identify most of the French screen legends, Delon as no other came to represent the ultimate gangster. An stylized icon of urban cool. I'm also convinced that his character Jef Costello in Le Samouraï was the inspiration for the hissing and whispering fellow in the trench coat in Sesame Street (did he have a name?), something like a gangster, a criminal. A mysterious strange man you should avoid as a kid. I'll be damned if I'm wrong, but I still see Alain Delon in Sesame Street!


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