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The Battle of Algiers(La battaglia di Algeri)

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Algeria, Italy · 1966
2h 1m
Director Gillo Pontecorvo
Starring Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Ugo Paletti
Genre Drama, History, War

The story of the struggle for Algeria’s freedom from French colonial rule by the Front de Liberation Nationale. Told in part from the perspective of revolutionary fighter Ali la Pointe, the film depicts the rebels’ efforts, as well as the increasingly extreme measures taken by the French government to quell the revolt.

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What are people saying?

Yasmeen Gaber Profile picture for Yasmeen Gaber

This film continues to be controversial in France precisely because it is such a well-executed interpretation of the events of the Battle of Algiers, even if the film smooths out some sharp corners of this history. Many actors in the film are revolutionaries playing themselves, which makes it all the more impactful. Definitely worth a watch or two within the canon of cinematic classics.

What are critics saying?


Variety by

It's a dedicated effort with importance as a 'document.' (Review of original release)


L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

A classic of politically engaged filmmaking, based on a book by Saadi Yacef, a former FLN leader who also produced the picture and played a version of himself.


Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

It's one of the best movies about revolutionary and anticolonial activism ever made, convincing, balanced, passionate, and compulsively watchable as storytelling.


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

Achieves its success through a combination of attitude and technique, uniting, to exceptional effect, a way of viewing the world morally while looking at it physically.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

A prototype of news-footage realism, the film makes shrewd use of handheld sloppiness, misjudged focus, overexposure, and you-are-there camera upset; the payoff is the scent of authentic panic.


Entertainment Weekly by Owen Gleiberman

Nearly four decades ago, Pontecorvo anatomized the very form of modern terrorist warfare: the hidden cells, the cultish leaders, the brutish cycle of attack and counterattack.


New York Magazine (Vulture) by Peter Rainer

What reveals Pontecorvo as an artist, and not simply a propagandist of genius, is the sorrow he tries to stifle but that comes flooding through anyway--the sense that ALL sides in this conflict have lost their souls, and that all men are carrion.

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