Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 68

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User Ratings: 6,013


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Average Rating: 3.9/5

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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 never-ending struggle? The drama is built around these questions.

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Edgar Ramirez
as Ilich Ramírez Sanchez/"Carlos"
Alexander Scheer
as Johannes Weinrich
Nora von Waldstatten
as Magdalena Kopp
Ahmad Kaabour
as Wadie Haddad
Christoph Bach
as Hans-Joachim Klein, aka Angie
Rodney El Haddad
as Anis Naccache, aka Khalid
Julia Hummer
as Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, aka Nada
Rami Farah
as "Joseph"
Remi Farah
as Joseph
Zeid Hamdan
as Youssef
Talal El Jourdi
as Kamal Al-Issawi, aka Ali
Fadi Abi Samra
as Michel Moukharbal, aka Andre
Aljoscha Stadelmann
as Wilfried Böse, aka Boni
Katharina Schüttler
as Brigitte Kuhlmann
Jule Böwe
as German Militant
Juana Acosta
as Carlos's Girlfriend
Jean-Baptiste Malartre
as Ambassador in The Hague
Olivier Cruveiller
as Capt. Jean Herranz
André Marcon
as Gen. Philippe Rondot
Nicolas Briançon
as Maitre Jacques Verges
Razane Jammal
as Lana Jarrar
Badih Abou Chakra
as Cheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani
Alejandro Arroyo
as Valentin Hernandez Acosta
Mohamed Ourdache
as Dr. Belaïd Abdessalam
Mohammed Ourdache
as Dr. Belaïd Abdessalam
Basim Kahar
as Iraqi Chargé d'Affaires
Abbes Zahmani
as Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Nourredine Mirzadeh
as Jamshid Amouzegar
Laura Cameron
as English Secretary
Udo Samel
as Chancellor Bruno Kreisky
Georges Kern
as Otto Röesch
Yanillys Perez Rivas
as Anselma Lopez
Gabriela Sanchez
as Maria Teresa
Maria Fernanda Ruette
as Cuatro Player
Cesar Delgado Wixam
as Gallery Owner
Simon Pierre Boireau
as Inspector Donatini
Belkacem Djemel Barek
as Mohamed Boudia
Philippe Trad
as Orly Fedayeen 1
Farid Elouardi
as Orly Fedayeen 2
Victor Hugo Diaz
as Latino Singer
Bibi Jacob
as Englishwoman at Orly
Maïwenn Heurtaux
as Englishwoman's Daughter
Hiraku Kawakami
as Yukata Furuya
Ryosuke Sato
as head of Commando Unit
Go Nabetani
as JRA Commando 1
Akihiro Hata
as JRA Commando 2
Yuko Hirata
as Miss Full Moon
Vincent Jouan
as Captain Broussard
Kida Khodr Ramadan
as Iraqi Attaché
Cem Sultan Ungan
as Hassan Saïd
Leslie Clack
as Joseph Edward Sieff
Les Clack
as Joseph Edward Sieff
Liane Lettner
as Sieff's Wife
Paolo Ospina
as Young Boy
Thomas Sinclair Spencer
as British Policeman
Bassel Madi
as Beirut Airport Police
Johnny Kazen
as Beirut Airport Police
Elie Youssef
as Fedayeen at Wadie Haddad's House
Karam Ghossein
as Fedayeen at Wadie Haddad's House
Stephan Rives
as DST Agent in Beirut
Edith Heller
as Receptionist
Peter Benedict
as Policeman 1
Ronnie Paul
as Policeman 2
Sarkaw Gorany
as Kurdish Doctor
Charbel Aoun
as Libyan Officer
Manfred Bunholzer
as Austrian Ambassador
Antoine Balabane
as General Al-Khouly
Antoine Balaban
as General Al-Khouly
Anton Kouznetsov
as Iuri Andropov
Karl Fischer
as Colonel Harry Dahl
Robert Gallinowski
as Major Helmut Voigt
Fadi Yanni Turk
as Col. Haïtham Saïd
Timo Jacobs
as Nada's Friend
Laurens Walter
as Swiss Policeman
Carlos Chahine
as Assem Al-Joundi
Issam Bou Khaled
as Libyan General
Guillaume Saurrel
as Bruno Bréguet
Olivia Ross
as Bruno Bréguet's Friend
Hendrik Hegray
as Parking Lot Guard
Cédric Hergault
as Parking Lot Guard
Loulwa Maad
as Carlos's Daughter
Samuel Achache
as Guy Cavallo
Laetitia Spigarelli
as Marie-Caroline Cavallo
Alexander Beyer
as Lt. Borostowski
Maria Kwiatkowski
as Stasi Informer 1
Maria Kwiatkowsky
as Stasi Informer 1
Ireen Kirsch
as Stasi Informer 2
Gabriella Csizmadia
as Magdalena's Mother
Caroline De Bled
as Prison Guard
Jef Bayonne
as French Policeman
Johannes Richard Voelkel
as German Policeman
Ahmad Hatoum
as Syrian Holy Man
Lamia Ahmad
as Syrian Holy Man's Wife
Eriq Ebouaney
as Hassan Al-Tourabi
Fadi Sabbah
as Gynecologist
Gigi Ledron
as Carlos's Sudanese Mistress
Mounzer Baalbaki
as Iranian Diplomat
Moheb Nader
as Iranian Diplomat
Patrick Rameau
as CIA Agent
Keith Thomson
as CIA Agent
Julien Schmidt
as French Diplomat
as Carlos's Bodyguard
Samir Basha
as Carlos's Bodyguard
as Sudanese Agent
Abdalah Abdel Majid
as Sudanese Doctor
Mustapha Osmani
as Sudanese Army Doctor
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News & Interviews for Carlos

Critic Reviews for Carlos

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (22)

  • Carlos deserves mention alongside the greatest suspense thrillers ever made.

    Jan 7, 2011 | Rating: 5/5
  • 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...

    Dec 21, 2010 | Rating: 4/4
  • 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.

    Dec 3, 2010 | Full Review…
  • A terrifying portrait of an egomaniac who demands absolute obedience, and craves it even more when his power and relevance are drained away.

    Dec 2, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It is one of the best pictures of the year.

    Nov 4, 2010 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a subtle, ultimately staggering portrayal of a bloody-minded ideologue who convinced only himself.

    Oct 28, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Carlos


Ramirez is outstanding in this biopic that explores the ambiguous nature of a revolutionary terrorist fervently devoted to a cause but who was also a self-centered man wanting to hold power over those around him - and even more fascinating is how the character needs to adapt to the many changes that occur in the world along twenty years. Excellent, but make sure you watch the full 330-minute version, not the condensed one.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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
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
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


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

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

Carlos Quotes

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