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Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Le cercle rouge (original title)
After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Delon ... Corey
Bourvil ... Le Commissaire Mattei (as André Bourvil)
Gian Maria Volontè ... Vogel (as Gian-Maria Volonte)
Yves Montand ... Jansen
Paul Crauchet ... Le Receleur
Paul Amiot Paul Amiot ... L'inspecteur général de la police
Pierre Collet Pierre Collet ... Le Gardien de prison
André Ekyan André Ekyan ... Rico
Jean-Pierre Posier Jean-Pierre Posier ... L'assistant de Mattei
François Périer ... Santi (as François Perier)
Yves Arcanel Yves Arcanel ... Le juge d'instruction
René Berthier René Berthier ... Le directeur de la P.J.
Jean-Marc Boris Jean-Marc Boris ... Le fils Santi
Jean Champion Jean Champion ... Le garde-barrière
Yvan Chiffre Yvan Chiffre ... Un policier
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Storyline

On the eve of his release after five years imprisoned, the thief Corey is contacted by one guard of the prison that offers him a jewelry heist. However Corey seeks out his former boss Rico and steals money from him. Rico sends two gangsters to hunt Corey down and retrieve the stolen amount. Meanwhile the criminal Vogel is transported by train by the Police Officer Mattei and succeeds to escape. Corey drives from Marseille to Paris and Vogel hides in the trunk of his car. Corey finds him but does not object to ride Vogel to Paris hidden in the trunk. When the gangsters sent by Rico cut in Corey's car, Vogel saves him from the criminals, but Corey loses the money. Without money, Corey decides to heist the jewelry with Vogel and invites the former police detective Jansen to team-up with them. The trio executes a perfect heist but Rico is seeking revenge and Mattei is an unethical but efficient police officer capable to use any means to resolve the case. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No place to hide..Nowhere to run.. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 October 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Cercle Rouge See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,843, 12 January 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$372,229, 14 September 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Captain Mattei, the role played by Bourvil, was originally offered to Lino Ventura; the role of Jansen, played by Yves Montand, was originally offered to Paul Meurisse; and Jean-Paul Belmondo was originally planned to play the role of Vogel ultimately played by Gian Maria Volontè. See more »

Goofs

There's a cut as Commissaire Mattei turns on the lamp in his apartment. The cat beside the green chair disappears and the cat in it switches from facing sideways to facing the camera. See more »

Quotes

Le chef de la police: All men are guilty. They're born innocent, but it doesn't last.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Opening Credits show a quote that explains the title of the film. "Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: 'When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.'" Jean-Pierre Melville made it up. See more »

Alternate Versions

The uncut version (released on Criterion disc) runs 140 minutes. When the film appeared in the U.S. in the 1970s, it ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Madonna: The MDNA Tour (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of my new favorite heist pictures: a smooth success for Melville and his cast
14 January 2004 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Jean-Pierre Melville is a director I've only recently gotten acquainted with (I need to see Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai again to fully grasp them), but in watching Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle, supposedly based on a saying in Buddhism) I realized I was watching as skillful and absorbing a crime film as I had seen in a quite some time. Though his film has dialog, it is mainly to keep the film's scenes rolling along, adherent to the plot. What kept me on the alert, even in seemingly mundane scenes/sequences, was the emphasis on the characters' movements, or behavior patterns. Melville has his story laid out, and he is careful to take his time to tell it (this could seem boring to some, but it does seem to work since he puts a little more emphasis on the weight of the characters/environments over plot).

Yet look at each of the four main players: Alain Deleon as Corey (just released from prison, scheming a new heist), Gian Maria Volonte as Vogel (escaping & on the lam from hand-cuffed custody, meets Corey by luck), Yves Montand as Jansen (an aged pro with many years of experience with weapons, a friend of Vogel), and Andre Bourvil as Mattei (an experienced investigator, who is on the look-out for Vogel, and on his toes with internal affairs). Each of these actors plays their parts with precision, detachment, and they each have their own kinds of moments that indicate to the audience what their personalities might be besides as criminals and cops. The heist sequence gives little hints, for example, like how Vogel cops-a-feel off a female statue while passing down the halls, or how Jansen takes out a flask and merely has a whiff of the contents (and what a dream this guy creates). Even Corey's movements involving a photograph of a woman arouse interest.

As absorbing and cool the story becomes, and as great the skills were to make it happen (via cinematographer Henri Decae, the editing, and the musical score by Eric Demarsan), it's the people on the screen that gain fascination, in how they stay true to their natures and ideals. Not a film to be missed by French new-wave enthusiasts, and modern-day crime movie buffs might want to take the 140 minutes to soak up the atmosphere of Melville's work. A suave piece of film-making that still ranks as one of my all-time favorites.


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