Carlos (2010)




Critic Consensus: Despite its hefty running time, Carlos moves along briskly, thanks to an engaging story, exotic locales, and a breakout performance by Edgar Ramirez.

Movie Info

"Carlos" tells the story of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez who, for two decades, was one of the most wanted terrorists on the planet. Between 1974, in London, where he tried to assassinate a British businessman; and 1994, when he was arrested in Khartoum, he lived several lives under various pseudonyms, weaving his way through the complexities of international politics of the period. Who was Carlos? How did his various multi-layered identities fit together? Who was he before engaging body and soul in a … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Television, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Olivier Assayas, Dan Franck
In Theaters:
Box Office: $0.1M
IFC Films - Official Site


as Ilich Ramírez Sanche...

as Johannes Weinrich

as Magdalena Kopp

as Wadie Haddad

as Hans-Joachim Klein, ...

as Anis Naccache, aka K...

as Gabriele Kröcher-Tie...

as "Joseph"

as Joseph

as Youssef

as Kamal Al-Issawi, aka...

as Michel Moukharbal, a...

as Wilfried Böse, aka B...

as Brigitte Kuhlmann

as German Militant

as Carlos's Girlfriend

as Ambassador in The Ha...

as Capt. Jean Herranz

as Gen. Philippe Rondot

as Maitre Jacques Verge...

as Lana Jarrar

as Cheikh Ahmed Zaki Ya...

as Valentin Hernandez A...

as Dr. Belaïd Abdessala...

as Dr. Belaïd Abdessala...

as Iraqi Chargé d'Affai...

as Abdelaziz Bouteflika

as Jamshid Amouzegar

as English Secretary

as Chancellor Bruno Kre...

as Otto Röesch

as Anselma Lopez

as Maria Teresa

as Gallery Owner

as Inspector Donatini

as Orly Fedayeen 1

as Orly Fedayeen 2

as Latino Singer

as Englishwoman at Orly

as Englishwoman's Daugh...

as Yukata Furuya

as head of Commando Uni...

as JRA Commando 1

as JRA Commando 2

as Miss Full Moon

as Captain Broussard

as Iraqi Attaché

as Iraqi Attaché

as Hassan Saïd

as Joseph Edward Sieff

as Joseph Edward Sieff

as Sieff's Wife

as Young Boy

as British Policeman

as Beirut Airport Polic...

as Beirut Airport Polic...

as Fedayeen at Wadie Ha...

as Fedayeen at Wadie Ha...

as DST Agent in Beirut

as Receptionist

as Policeman 1

as Policeman 2

as Kurdish Doctor

as DC-9 Pilot

as Libyan Officer

as Austrian Ambassador

as General Al-Khouly

as General Al-Khouly

as Iuri Andropov

as Colonel Harry Dahl

as Major Helmut Voigt

as Col. Haïtham Saïd

as Nada's Friend

as Swiss Policeman

as Assem Al-Joundi

as Libyan General

as Bruno Bréguet

as Bruno Bréguet's Frie...

as Parking Lot Guard

as Parking Lot Guard

as Carlos's Daughter

as Guy Cavallo

as Marie-Caroline Caval...

as Lt. Borostowski

as Stasi Informer 1

as Stasi Informer 1

as Stasi Informer 2

as Magdalena's Mother

as Prison Guard

as French Policeman

as German Policeman

as Syrian Holy Man

as Syrian Holy Man's Wi...

as Hassan Al-Tourabi

as Gynecologist

as Carlos's Sudanese Mi...

as Iranian Diplomat

as Iranian Diplomat

as CIA Agent

as CIA Agent

as French Diplomat

as Carlos's Bodyguard

as Carlos's Bodyguard

as Sudanese Agent

as Sudanese Doctor

as Sudanese Army Doctor
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Carlos

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (20)

Carlos deserves mention alongside the greatest suspense thrillers ever made.

Full Review… | January 7, 2011
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

The term "epic" often gets bandied around to describe movies that don't really fit the description. But Olivier Assayas' Carlos is the real deal...

Full Review… | December 21, 2010
Miami Herald
Top Critic

It manages to deliver a steady stream of action thrills even as it reconsiders the international terrorism of the 1960s and '70s for lessons important today.

Full Review… | December 3, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A terrifying portrait of an egomaniac who demands absolute obedience, and craves it even more when his power and relevance are drained away.

Full Review… | December 2, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It is one of the best pictures of the year.

Full Review… | November 4, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's a subtle, ultimately staggering portrayal of a bloody-minded ideologue who convinced only himself.

Full Review… | October 28, 2010
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Carlos


I'm rating the complete miniseries. After viewing it,I have no desire to watch the condensed version. At five and a half hours, Olivier Assayas' "Carlos" doesn't steal a minute of it's audience's time. It's a stunning (reportedly fictionalized) portrait of the infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackyl, a man who's revolutionary ambitions are only matched by his lust for women and ego.

Carlos is played by Edgar Ramirez (Domino, Zero Dark Thrity) who gives one of cinema's (and television's) finest recent performances. He deftly portrays a charming monster, a man who exploits the tribulations of others and foreign political strife to quench his own thirst for power. We never really like Carlos, but the film does a great job of making us understand him... rendering his journey through a world of violence, greed,and betrayal an utterly absorbing one.

Assayas makes a film far removed from the warmth and grace of his 2009 "Summer Hours," but his exquisite characterization remains. He masterfully handles forcefully scenes of gritty action and violence as well as the potentially overwhelming flow of historical fact and figures. The single greatest strength of Carlos is how accessible if feels. A lot of information assaults the audience yet it all feels manageable and fluid. The scope is daunting but Assayas keeps it grounded enough to grasp.

"Carlos" is a standout character study; a true modern epic that needs to be seen in any form. Undoubtedly though the miniseries is the way to go. Assayas' assured direction and the incendiary performance of Ramirez can't be ignored. It's brilliant.

Michael S

Super Reviewer


Good heavens are my eyes exhausted. I have been working up the courage to face this behemoth six-hour movie for sometime and while I am thankful I actually took on the beast, my skull feels like it has just been squeezed in a vice.

At its best, it is a meticulous look at career terrorism. The highs and the lows, the bombs and the blows, and every blue print in between. It is a fascinating look at the life of an extreme ideologue as he ditches every tail and cleans up the messes made by his partners. Every new hurdle slowly eats away at his overall goal of a global revolution, draining his energy and the audience's as well. Yet, while his moxie may be gradually diminishing, he never once appears to want to call it a day.

Carlos is uncommonly obdurate and clings stubbornly to the belief that the world needs him. When in reality - in an observation made by a fellow Syrian terrorist - it is evident that Carlos needs these terrorist acts in order to give his life meaning. So even though many of his plans crumble, he quickly leap frogs to the next project. Knowing deep down that were he to stop, he would just be a senseless murderer. Not that he was without backing. In fact, he was courted by many regimes, but clearly his ego was writing checks that he could not feasibly cash.

In meticulous and often exhaustive detail, Carlos and his gang are shown planning an attack on an OPEC conference and executing, pardon the pun, an attempted assassination plot on Anwar Sadat. Although six hours of these scenes can be laborious to sit through, its extensive length actually works in the favor of the narrative. After watching Carlos' extensive exploits for many hours, it helps the audience better understand his future actions. Primarily, it helps illuminate why Carlos begins to grow restless. The OPEC conference aside, Carlos must deal with botched job after botched job. He becomes more desperate with every passing year and his inability to start a global revolution breeds discontentment. Subsequently, his actions becomes more brazen. His idealism begins to give way to egoism and becomes a hazy concoction of ideology driven hubris.

Edgar Ramirez is superb as the amoral man of conviction. There is a quiet intensity to him that makes it very difficult to take your eyes off of. It could have been so easy to play Carlos as an over the top megalomaniacal criminal mastermind, but he abstains from doing so. Thankfully Ramirez forgoes the headlines and gives us the fine print. I hope this role opens up more doors for this talented actor.

Carlos is quite a journey and not one that I will probably take again this decade. However, it is a unique and well-acted film about what it truly means to live and die for a cause. No matter how futile it can seem at times.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


A "revolutionary" without a huge ego is not a real revolutionary.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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