Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
US release date: 1966


Algiers, 1957: French paratroopers inch their way through the labyrinthine byways of the Casbah to zero in on the hideout of the last rebel still free in the city. Flashback three years earlier, as the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) decides on urban warfare.

Thus begin the provocations, assassinations, hair-breadth escapes, and reprisals; Algerian women — disguised as chic Europeans — depositing bombs at a sidewalk café, a teenagers’ hang-out and an Air France office; and massive, surging crowd scenes unfolding with gripping realism.

FLN boss/producer Saadi Yacef (who also plays the rebel leader based on himself) interviewed several European filmmakers before settling on Italians Pontecorvo and screenwriter Franco Solinas, with sequences shot and edited to the driving pre-recorded score by Pontecorvo and the legendary Ennio Morricone.

Algiers now feels like it’s been ripped from today’s headlines, from its random bombings to the French commander’s chilling press conference pronouncement that to combat terrorism “you must accept all the consequences.” The Pentagon screened it in 2003 to wise up Bagdad occupiers. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director and winner of the Golden Lion (Grand Prize) at the Venice Film Festival.

The Battle of Algiers (La battaglia di Algeri) 1966
121 min  -  Crime | Drama | History  -   20 September 1967 (USA)
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Writers Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Solinas
Stars: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin and Yacef Saadi | See full cast and crew

BATTLE OF ALGIERS opens in the US January 9, 2004. Check your local listings for showtimes & places. 


The Criterion Collection

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