Alphaville

Critics Consensus

While Alphaville is by no means a conventional sci-fi film, Jean-Luc Godard creates a witty, noir-ish future all his own.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,100
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Movie Info

In Alphaville, Jean-Luc Godard fuses a hardboiled detective story with science fiction. Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a hero Godard borrowed from a series of French adventure films, comes to Alphaville, the capital of a totalitarian state, in order to destroy its leader, an almost-human computer called Alpha 60. While on his mission, Lemmy meets and falls in love with Natacha (Anna Karina), the daughter of the scientist who designed Alpha 60. Their love becomes the most profound challenge to the computer's control. Void of any flashy special effects, Alphaville uses 1960s Paris to depict the city of the future.

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Cast

Eddie Constantine
as Lemmy Caution
Anna Karina
as Natasha Von Braun
Akim Tamiroff
as Henri Dickson
Laszlo Szabo
as Chief Engineer
Howard Vernon
as Prof. Leonard Nosferatu/Von Braun
Michel Delahaye
as Von Braun's Assistant
Jean André Fieschi
as Professor Heckell
Jean-Louis Comolli
as Professor Jeckell
Christa Lang
as seductress
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Critic Reviews for Alphaville

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (4)

  • It's so archly intellectual that you fear it might splinter if you poke it in the ribs. It's also endlessly playful in its worship of American movie tropes, and deeply resourceful.

    May 29, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Nothing about this strange, moving work of agit-pop has ever seemed out of date. If anything, "Alphaville" moves closer to relevance with every passing year.

    May 1, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • A bracing salute to American gangster pics, with a jumpy European post-war uncertainty thrown in.

    Apr 25, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Despite its age it's that rare science fiction film that doesn't seem to have dated at all.

    Apr 24, 2014 | Full Review…
  • It's one of the great cinematic works of romanticism, as well as a sort of filmed revelation of the very essence of science-fiction movies and German silent classics -- their blend of social critique, emotional liberation, and paranoia.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • No movie, not even Breathless, better exemplifies the syncretic quality of Godard's early genius.

    Apr 1, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Alphaville

  • Apr 19, 2016
    Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 film "Alphaville" stars Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution, an American private eye sent to the city in space to destroy Alpha 60. Alpha 60 is a computer that rules the city and that has outlawed emotions, love and poetry. It's a science fiction noir that has the look and feel of Hollywood noir films, but ultimately, it's just a rough film to get into.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2015
    Alphaville is a sci-fi detective story, a kind of proto-Blade Runner, with French New Wave charm (the kind which makes your favorite electronica artist probably be in love with it). The film is both visionary and naive, stylish and gauche, but the plusses far overmaster the negatives. This is the type of film where you can see how good it is by noticing its flaws, and thinking: "Ah, but so what, this is still such a good movie." The one exception is the love story, there really is not much of any chemistry there, and it is a kind of anti-Casablanca, in that respect. (Yet even this flaw works, and is not such a flaw, if you think about why it does not work and the themes of the film.) Nonetheless, Alphaville is a must-see for lovers of art and film.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2012
    Combining my favorite concepts of dystopian civilizations, much on the same wave lengths as Orwell's '1984' and Huxley's 'Brave New World', and Film Noir, "Alphaville" is set in a technocratic dictatorship in which emotions are considered obsolete and public exhibition of them is against the law. The concept of the individual self is explored throughout the film with great razor-sharp wit and accuracy by New Wave master, Jean-Luc Godard. The dangers of technologic advancement and abuse are in constant play, and no one else could have played the lead like Eddie Constantine, and we are treated to brilliant performances by the whole cast. A futuristic film that was shot on the streets of Paris makes this film far closer to home than expected.
    Matthew R Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2010
    <i>"Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along. But I am time. It's a tiger, tearing me apart; but I am the tiger."</i> Lemmy Caution, an American private-eye, arrives in Alphaville, a futuristic city on another planet. His very American character is at odds with the city's ruler, an evil scientist named Von Braun, who has outlawed love and self-expression. <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> This film, from director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the luminaries behind the French "Nouvelle Vague" (or "New Wave") film movement, is science-fiction like you've never seen before. The story tells of tough private-eye Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), who arrives in the futuristic city of Alphaville to search for a missing scientist. Controlled by the powerful computer Alpha 60, the brainwashed citizens of Alphaville live lives devoted to logic and devoid of emotion. The film was made entirely on location in Paris, selectively shot to give the appearance of a futuristic city, and Lemmy Caution travels through intergalactic space in a Ford car. The film is interesting and quite entertaining if you know what to expect. Some viewers may find Godard's offbeat style irritating and the frequent, long academic discussions dull, but ti is worth making the attempt if only to experience something completely unexpected. Inevitably dated, the film has still aged quite well. Glamour is provided by the lovely Anna Karina, Godard's wife at the time, as the scientist's daughter.
    Lorenzo v Super Reviewer

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