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A Cop (1972)

Un flic (original title)
4:25 | Trailer
After a shaky first heist, a group of thieves plan an even more elaborate- and more risky- second heist.
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Delon ... Commissaire Edouard Coleman
Richard Crenna ... Simon
Catherine Deneuve ... Cathy
Riccardo Cucciolla ... Paul Weber
Michael Conrad ... Louis Costa
Paul Crauchet ... Morand
Simone Valère ... Paul's wife
André Pousse ... Marc Albouis
Jean Desailly ... Distinguished gentleman who was robbed a statue
Valérie Wilson Valérie Wilson ... Gaby
Henri Marteau Henri Marteau ... Police officer instructor of shooting
Catherine Rethi Catherine Rethi
Louis Grandidier Louis Grandidier
Philippe Gasté Philippe Gasté ... Un policier
Dominique Zentar Dominique Zentar
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Bank robbery in small town ends with one of the robbers being wounded. The loot from the robbery is just an asset for the even more spectacular heist. Simon, gang leader and Paris night club owner, must also deal with police comissaire Edouard Colemane, who happens to be his good friend. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


While Alain Delon's character, Commissaire Coleman, examines a crime scene, we see a brief shot of a wall on which are inscribed several names, including "Jef Costello". Jeff Costello was the character Delon played in one of his previous collaborations with Jean-Pierre Melville, Le Samouraï (1967). See more »


A tag is visible on Coleman's black tie when he exits the private room at the club with Cathy and Simon. The tag is not there when he enters the room. See more »


Commissaire Edouard Coleman: The only feelings mankind has ever inspired in policemen are those of indifference and derision.
See more »


Referenced in De Kijk van Koolhoven: Eurocrime (2020) See more »


C'est ainsi que les Choses arrivent
Music by Michel Colombier
Lyrics by Charles Aznavour
Sung by Isabelle Aubret
See more »

User Reviews

The old economy still there
7 August 2005 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

In Melville's last film, Alain Delon is a cop who pursues a small group of fortyish men who first rob a bank and then later intercept a large supply of drugs en-route to somewhere via a bag man on a train. The bank is beside a ruthless sea and the memorably bleached-out and forbidding opening scene is full of mist, rain, and wind that turn everything a sickly pastel. One of the robbers is wounded and they drive away with him -- a sequence that may have influenced Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs." But these men are as laconic as Quentin's are garrulous.

Nobody is morally pure in this story, or wholly evil. One of the robbers is a bank executive who's out of work and hides his wrongdoing from his worried wife. The cop, Edouard Coleman, whose ride is American, as is the robbers', is involved with crooked nightclub owner Simon's accomplice girlfriend, Cathy (Catherine Deneuve), who helps Simon clean up the mess when the robbery goes wrong. Edouard has to look the other way about her involvement. Her first appearance is ravishing: she slides sideways out of a doorway and pauses, framed there, looking perfectly beautiful. She slowly breaks into a smile as Coleman picks out a jazz ballad on the nightclub piano.

The drug mover who's intercepted is called "Matthew the Suitcase." The operation to steal his drugs is long and complicated and is "Un flic's" "Rififi" episode; it's more absorbing than the manhunt in "Le Cercle rouge," but the several plot strains are a bit disjointed.

Despite the ingenious drug heist, being a cop and being a crook are in a way just a job, a 'boulot' in "Un flic." Delon has some dash and dresses sharply but he lacks the panache of his character in "Le Samouraï." The robbers are dreary, determined fellows without the charisma of Yves Montand in "Le Cercle rouge." They're totally middle-aged and middle-class. This puts them on a par with most of the cops and perhaps illustrates Melville's epigraph, from pioneer French private eye (and former thief) François Eugène Vidocq, "The only emotion men awaken in a policeman are ambiguity and derision." This harmonizes with the viewpoint of the chief of police in Le Cercle rouge who repeatedly insists that everyone must be assumed to be guilty.

While that earlier chief of police worked out of a dark but cozy Victorian office, Coleman is in a bright modern building and has a phone in his car, but his well-lit office has a window on a brick wall. The dull routine of police work is signaled by the verbal rituals of the car-phone calls: His assistant always answers and says, "I'll pass you to him." Coleman listens, then says "Where's that?" and "We're going, I'll call you back later." The words never vary. And this flick about a "flic" never wavers from its economical unreeling that's worthy of the best Fifties noirs, despite being in faded blue-gray Technicolor. Melville got back one last time to the old brilliance. Even if the "noir" isn't quite noir, the mood is right, full of resignation and irony.

The plot doesn't quite parse, but neither did Le Doulos'. If it's true as Jack Mathews of the Daily News wrote about the reissued "Le Cercle rouge" that Melville's crime movies are "really about wearing raincoats and lighting up Gitanes and saying very little while being very loyal," then plot inconsistencies and even visual disparities not withstanding, it's still all good. And even if some of the earlier freshness and pungency were gone, in his last two films Melville showed even greater skill at editing and setting up his scenes. So if not canonical, Un flic is nonetheless another valuable work by this prince of darkness, this splendidly moody minimalist and inspirer of the French New Wave.

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France | Italy



Release Date:

25 October 1972 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Dirty Money See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,342, 21 April 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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