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L'Armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows)

L'Armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows) (1969)



Average Rating: 8.6/10
Reviews Counted: 73
Fresh: 71 | Rotten: 2

Originally made in 1969, this recently reissued classic is a masterful examination of the inner workings of the World War II resistance efforts.


Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 1

Originally made in 1969, this recently reissued classic is a masterful examination of the inner workings of the World War II resistance efforts.



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Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 6,713

My Rating

Movie Info

In this war drama set during the French Resistance of WW II, a courageous fighter escapes Gestapo headquarters and returns to Marseille. There he and his gang capture a traitor and throttle him. They then try to rescue a Resistance fighter in Lyons. As they do so, the hero is again captured and his partner killed. Again the hero escapes just before he is executed. He then finds that a female partner has been captured. To avoid having her daughter forced to work in a Nazi brothel, the woman has

May 15, 2007


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All Critics (77) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (71) | Rotten (2) | DVD (12)

As close to a masterpiece as any film you're likely to see this year.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film to be seen and savored for its moral magnitude.

April 25, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
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The glacial pacing can be an irritant as the film unfolds -- I repeatedly wanted to speed things up -- but Army of Shadows won't leave you alone after you've seen it.

January 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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From the first sight of German soldiers goose-stepping past the Arc de Triomphe to a postscript that spells out the fate of characters whose moral confusion is all too real, Army of Shadows is a movie of its time -- and ours.

January 18, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For anyone interested in the impact of war on ordinary men, Army of Shadows proves a sobering and invaluable experience.

September 22, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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This memorable movie movingly pays tribute to those who chose not to remain silent, to those ordinary men and women who chose to do extraordinary things... from the shadows.

September 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Jean-Pierre Melville cherishes paradox and free thinking," and both elements are on beautiful display in his masterpiece.

January 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

one of those blessed pictures in which all elements, from its writing through to its editing, coalesce into a work of profound philosophical and emotional unity

April 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

As bleak as it is compelling, it will leave you wondering if these freedom fighters haven't done more damage to each other than they have to the Nazi aggressors.

August 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

a stunning, globetrotting spy masterpiece

May 15, 2007 Full Review Source:

Rich in the elegance, assurance and quasi-formality that often define Melville's style.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The fascination comes in minute observation of the Resistance soldiers' mannerisms, demeanor and interaction.

February 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

It's hard to believe that Melville's 1969 masterpiece--one of the most accurate chronicles of the French Resistance--never got released in the US until 2006; Splendidly acted, this film draws on the helmer's own experience.

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Although it has several suspenseful sequences, "Shadows" is not a spy thriller, precisely. It's much more along the lines of a melancholy mood piece...

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A superb contribution from an A-class film-maker.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Compuserve

One of the masterpieces of its era and its genre.

January 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

ARMY OF SHADOWS is a remarkable and superb film, and American audiences should be rejoicing that is finally (if belatedly) has reached theaters.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

A fascinating picture of bureaucratic drudgery, even in the middle of war and occupation.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Unlike the romantic images of freedom fighters perpetuated by the popular media, Melville's movie is stripped of self-congratulatory hero worship and other puffery.

November 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

There is nothing more to say, except 'Go.'

November 11, 2006 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Rare is the film that actually improves with time. Among that handful is the 1969 French thriller Army of Shadows.

October 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Melville stages riveting set pieces, tense little nuggets of men striking in the dark and dealing out death.

October 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for L'Armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows)

The French Resistance is where this examination begins but there's not a single scene showing a train being blown up or lines being furtively cut in the dead of night ... rather it's a look at the interior damage wrought when choosing to resist tyranny at all, the isolation, the loneliness, the agonizing fear of trusting yourself. Must see.
June 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

Unembellished and matter-of-fact. Melville masterfully spotlights the French Resistance without martyring the Nazi regime that spawned it.
January 19, 2012
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

a great depiction of french resistance, melville blends substance with his usual stylistic approach. the film falters at many points with a lack of clarity and direction to the shifty plot, and the film is almost entirely without emotion, but it has striking images and flawless direction in its portrayal of horrific events. overall very good film.
March 10, 2009
danny d

Super Reviewer

Heroism to Melville isn't the pretty picture Hollywood gives us in its' sanitized war films. This is a grim film where those pursuing a noble cause don't have the opportunity to even enjoy it as they must be prepared for the possible worst.

Melville's filmmaking style is slow and deliberate giving the viewer an anti-heroic account of the early days of French resistance to the Nazi Occupation which is both restrained and terrifyingly tense.
July 24, 2008
El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Armee im Schatten (DE)
  • Army in the Shadows (L' Armee des ombres) (UK)
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