8.1/10
18,157
65 user 70 critic

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Le cercle rouge (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 20 October 1970 (France)
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.

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Le Samouraï (1967)
Certificate: GP Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After Professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An account of underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel
Un Flic (1972)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a shaky first heist, a group of thieves plan an even more elaborate- and more risky- second heist.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Alain Delon, Richard Crenna, Catherine Deneuve
Le Doulos (1963)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A burglar betraying other criminals, prepares for a big heist with a trusted friend that might be as untrustworthy as he.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A gangster escapes jail and quickly makes plans to continue his criminal ways elsewhere, but a determined inspector is closing in.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After losing big, an aging gambler decides to assemble a team to rob a casino.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Set during occupied France, a faithless woman finds herself falling in love with a young priest.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Emmanuelle Riva, Irène Tunc
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Howard Vernon, Nicole Stéphane, Jean-Marie Robain
Certificate: GP Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young, ambitious mobster plans an elaborate diamond heist while seducing the daughter of a ruthless mob patriarch as a determined police commissioner closes in on all of them.

Director: Henri Verneuil
Stars: Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Lino Ventura
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Broke French ex-paratrooper turned amateur boxer Michel Maudet becomes bodyguard for the fugitive corrupt banker Ferchaux.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Vanel, Michèle Mercier
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Pierre Grasset, Christiane Eudes, Ginger Hall
Rififi (1955)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel
Edit

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
Edit

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:

The Red Circle is a powerful in-depth study of the French Underworld See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 October 1970 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Cercle Rouge See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The registration certificate that Corey pulls out of his pocket after entering Santi's lists Corey's address in Paris as 17 Avenue Paul Doumer. In real life, this address was at some point home to Mireille Darc and Robert Hossein. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Il solitario (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
We are all guilty
21 June 2003 | by luckysilienSee all my reviews

Commissaire Mattei(André Bourvil) is a single with a little gun who loves cats and his boss at the Paris police department is a philosopher who knows that even the police becomes sooner or later guilty. That is what the film is all about. And a jewel robbery at the place Vendome.

Corey (Delon) brings the plan from prison, Vogel(Volonté)joins him and helps him against two tough guys, who are after him, because he took mafioso Ricos(Andre Eycan) money, while Rico already took Coreys girl friend and left him very much alone for five years in jail. Corey and Vogel find a third man, Jansen(Montand), a former police officer and sniper who opens a security lock by shooting special hand made ammunition into a hole. A perfect plan and cooperation, but they have to sell the booty and there is Mattei in the role of a buyer in disguise. The circle closes. Running to help each other they are shot by the cat loving Mattei and his little pistol.

It took Melville 20 years he says to make a robbery film after he failed to get a contract for RIFFIFI. Melville wrote the screenplay and filmed in the south of France and in Paris of yesteryear. The great Henri Decae is as usual the lighting cameraman. It is the one before last picture of Melvilles who died after another film with Delon in 1972.

Melville actually wanted Belmondo instead of Volonté, he didn't like that Italian at all, but Volonté-Vogel is an excellent fugitive and gives next to Bourvil the most convincing performance. But mind you: Melville notes, that Volonté is an instinctive actor, a strange character, very wearying and absolutely impossible on a French set. Melville didn't like him at all and didn't want to work with him ever again.

Melville is wrong. Volonté give the most lively character in the nowhere of not so many interesting characters. You can see what he is feeling being chased by Mattei and his little dangerous gun and all the dogs of France in winter 70. A wild actor.

Also André Bourvil, who passed away close to the time of the filming. He also was not first choice, but definitely a great substitute. He carries the instinct of a lonely hunter through the whole film and gets in the end his chance to become guilty once more.

Jansen has entered at night the jewelry shop with a rifle and a tripod but risks eventually freehandedly a successful shot. When he meets Delon the first time we already know that the elegant Jansen has a severe drinking problem. After the robbery Montand renounces to take his part of the booty and mentions to Delon, who looks up to him, that he only got into the red circle, because he wanted to take revenge on the inhabitants of his wardrobe. Delon doesn't catch what he means. The audience recalls having seen Montand in a great scene in his haunted house fighting helplessly nightmare creatures that come out of the wardrobe and attack him. At that time a very rare scene, one recalls a long time after. I bet it was ever so difficult to arrange and direct that stuff at a time no one imagined the coming days of digital movie making. Great artwork when art was made by hand.

We sure will remember a crew like the actors, still it seems even after 33 years this one stays the less popular of the six thrillers of Melville. What is wrong with it? I am afraid one doesn't take much interest in those three actors (showing three criminals) and their police hunter. We learn too little about Corey and his fatal 5 years away from his beautiful girl(Anna Douking). Montand is still a great sniper, but what made him become a drinking man with funny creatures in his wardrobe. Delon acts as if he is in an earlier adventure of the samourai, Volonté is the man in the trunk of Delons American car and superbly moving and Mattei is swell to look at, a great actor at the edge of his life. But how could he ever possibly doubt that all are guilty ?

In an interview Melville states, that there is no woman in the film. Not in the very red circle, but I remember well that jolly good looking female Anna Douking (with no future career). We are in the 70s. There in fact rises a woman from the bed of an old mafioso wearing nothing and walks slowly to the door to listen to the voice of her old lover Delon. Bardot did something like that 10 years earlier. This time Melville was directing. Well done.

The RED CERCLE has certainly added a few but not many glittering gems to film history. The robbery at Place Vendome and Montands wonder bullet the inhabitants of the wardrobe and Volonté escaping Bouvil in white underwear and carrying his trousers carefully across a stream. That is too little for a great gangster and robbery movie. But the 110 minutes never bore you and it is a game on a high level. And there are probably some secrets you learn when you see the film over and over again. None of the secrets is that we are all guilty and the late Francois Perier is also featured.

Michael Zabel


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 65 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed