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La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers) (1967)



Average Rating: 9/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 1

A powerful, documentary-like examination of the response to an occupying force, The Battle of Algiers hasn't aged a bit since its release in 1966.


Average Rating: 8.9/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

A powerful, documentary-like examination of the response to an occupying force, The Battle of Algiers hasn't aged a bit since its release in 1966.



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Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 13,653

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Movie Info

This highly political film about the Algerian struggle for independence from France took "Best Film" honors at the 1966 Venice Film Festival. The bulk of the film is shot in flashback, presented as the memories of Ali (Brahim Haggiag), a leading member of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), when finally captured by the French in 1957. Three years earlier, Ali was a petty thief who joined the secretive organization in order to help rid the Casbah of vice associated with the colonial

Sep 21, 2004


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All Critics (76) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (1) | DVD (23)

Essential viewing.

July 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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Both a how-to manual for guerrilla terrorism and a cautionary tale about how to fight it. It's also quite possibly the finest war film ever made.

August 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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It's a dedicated effort with importance as a 'document.'

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
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Superb and unrivalled.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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What lessons a modern viewer can gain from the film depends on who is watching and what they want to see.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's as fresh and suspenseful as anything before or since.

October 19, 2004 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its content has classic and tragic dimensions beyond politics.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

The film establishes a kinetic documentary effect, making the impact of every shoot-out and explosion a deeply personal experience.

July 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

This seminal. meticulously crafted work about Algiers struggle for freedom won the Venic Film Fest top award, and deservedly garnered Pontecorvo Oscar nominations as Best Director and Co-scribe.

March 24, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Partially because of its documentary style, used so effectively by director Gillo Pontecorvo, it never gets heavy-handed -- exploring the idea of violence as a necessary evil for freedom.

October 27, 2011 Full Review Source:

"The Battle Of Algiers" is a one of a kind masterpiece of pure cinema that you will never forget.

April 26, 2009 Full Review Source:

It's a frank blend of exoticism, eroticism and foreshadowed horror.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

One of the essential works of world cinema.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

A riveting reconstruction of the struggle for independence in mid-50s Algiers, its pseudo-documentary style still feels as headline-fresh as its content.

May 15, 2007 Full Review Source:

Gillo Pontecorvo's epic of revolutionary fervour has dimmed not an iota since it was first released in 1966.

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

Forty years on, the film's lost not a fraction of its power.

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Faux-documentary masterpiece

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Whatever they made of The Battle of Algiers at the Pentagon, this is a must-see for everyone else now.

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian

Brilliantly directed set-pieces and remarkable thronging crowd scenes make the film a masterpiece; the ominous familiarity of its subject makes it a must-see.

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The most important piece of political filmmaking since Battleship Potemkin.

May 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The inspiration and blueprint for docudrama and ideological cinema worldwide.

February 7, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio
WBAI Web Radio

what really resonates on watching Algiers is its message about the widespread loss of civilian life and the staggering destruction to civic infrastructure as the heaviest costs of war

December 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

Audience Reviews for La Battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers)

Spine Number 249 from the Criterion Collection. The Battle of Algiers" is a film that everyone should see. It presents the historical account of the struggle of Algerian nationalists for independence from French colonists, and in doing so clearly displays the total futility of war. While not as renowned as "All Quiet on the Western Front" or "Paths of Glory", "The Battle of Algiers" is a better film in my opinion. Whereas some antiwar films rely on powerful speeches said by great heroes to portray their stance, "The Battle of Algiers" has no Paul Baumer or Colonel Dax. Neither Ali la Pointe, the leader of the independence movement, nor the French Colonel Mattheiu, who is in charge of the operation, ever states that what he is doing is wrong. Instead, we have only the shots of bodies, both French and Algerian, being carried away from the locations where bombs have gone off. The style of direction resembles that of a documentary, thus bringing about a more realistic feel. You won't find Kirk Douglas or Lew Ayres here. The result is that the characters don't seem larger than life. This is not a drama made by a Hollywood producer looking for an Oscar; but instead, it is a somber portrait of the futility of war. Add in Ennio Morricone's score, and you have a great film that is completely different from almost anything you will ever see. 4 1/2 Stars 2-15-14
February 16, 2014
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Absolutely riveting. There seem to always be a batch of films that no matter how old they are, they never lose their edge. The Battle of Algiers is one of those impressive works. From a filmmaking standpoint, it commands every ounce of your attention span. The camera work is so smart and compounds the blistering tension that invades every scene. This coupled with Morricone's invasive yet impeccable score never gives you a moments rest, even when you know what is going to take place.
I think what makes this film so powerful is the fact that Pontecorvo was able to encompass not only the power and emotion behind a revolutionary movement, but also show the confusion, sorrow, and often senseless violence that are the by-product of these movements.
Also, It was hard not to make modern day parallels to the occupation of Iraq. Watching these French officials attempt to find order and use their minds to fight an "enemy" who is empowered by their hearts, made me rethink every time I saw an American general on television discussing their efforts in stifling the revolutionary movement. It is a rare and brilliant film and is a must watch for any fans of film.
August 17, 2011
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

It's been said that movies, unlike any other art form, transcend space and time and transport us somewhere else. Movies can promote empathy and can make us concerned with lives that are not our own. Some movies, the really good ones, can even make us better people. The Battle of Algiers is one of those movies.

Based on the true story of Algeria's long struggle for independence, this film chronicles a group of freedom fighters (terrorists) as they attempt to overthrow the French Colonial Government. In it's initial release, The Battle of Algiers hit a little too close to home for Americans who were still wallowing through the muck of their own occupation of Vietnam. I'd wager that, if it were released today, it would have the same effect. It's powerful and brutally honest in its depiction of street warfare. A rare offering that is completely deserving of all the hype.
December 13, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

While it is a visually amazing movie, everything else seems to be in a sense of disarray. The plot was over obvious and sold to you like a used car salesman and the acting was just atrocious. It's hard to convey a message when there is no emotion behind it.
November 18, 2009

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Schlacht um Algier (DE)
  • The Battle of Algiers (La Battaglia di Algeri) (1966) (UK)
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