Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Le Cercle Rouge



Critic Consensus: Melville is at the top of his game, giving us his next-to-last entry into the world of deception, crime, and extreme suspense that made him a maestro of the French heist genre.

Movie Info

Corey (Alain Delon) is the young gun in the French underworld who has just been released from prison. Escaped convict Vogel (Gian-Maria Volonté) hides in the trunk of Corey's car. The two enlist the help of an alcoholic former cop (Yves Montand) for an elaborate jewelry-store robbery. Police inspector Mattei (Bourvil) whom Vogel escaped in the beginning of the film is on the case trying to recapture the criminals. He is not opposed to using blackmail techniques to get answers out of the … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Jean-Pierre Melville
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 1, 1990
Rialto Pictures


as Corey

as Mattei

as Jansen

as The fence

as Chief of Internal Af...

as The prison guard

as Police chief

as Santi's son

as Policeman

as Examining magistrate

as Salesperson at Maubo...

as Policeman

as Le tenancier d'hotel

as L'employe du greffe

as Policeman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Le Cercle Rouge

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Critic Reviews for Le Cercle Rouge

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (23)

Melville's special achievement was to relocate the American gangster film in France, and to incorporate his own steely poetic and philosophical obsessions.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One well-choreographed, beautifully shot and definitely cool cops-and-robbers film.

Full Review… | September 5, 2003
Miami Herald
Top Critic

I can't say that Cercle Rouge is an overlooked masterpiece, but it's an amazing antidote to the current style of filmmaking in which silence and causal relationships are routinely disregarded.

August 15, 2003
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

If you ever wanted to know how to look good wearing a trenchcoat, lighting a cigarette, handling a revolver, drinking a whiskey or overpowering an armed guard, Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 gangster drama is your guide.

Full Review… | July 24, 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

The director's penultimate work.

Full Review… | June 27, 2003
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Melville views it all at a distance and with a slow kind of precision that is missing from modern movies. There's no flash here, just criminal behavior observed with an eye for detail.

Full Review… | April 11, 2011

Audience Reviews for Le Cercle Rouge


A good French heist thriller from the 70's that's a slow-burn, but delivers in spades when it comes to tension and atmosphere. A daring jewelry theft is the highlight of the movie, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Lewis C.

Super Reviewer


Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle) is a police procedural meets heist film that seems to be almost a playbook for all films like it that came afterwards. Whether it was a consious effort on other filmmaker's parts or developed along the lines by serendipity, the caper film was forever-influenced by the likes of people like Brian De Palma. To boot, there are masterful performances from both Alain Delon and Gian Maria, two men whose characters are brought together by circumstance but develop an unspoken friendship throughout the film that pays off beautifully in the end. Although the overall pace at times is a little lax, the film itself, in style, performance and execution, is a terrific piece of cinema.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

The jewelry store scene alone is worth the four stars.

Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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