The Red Circle

1970, Crime/Drama, 2h 20m

64 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics 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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

When French criminal Corey (Alain Delon) gets released from prison, he resolves to never return. He is quickly pulled back into the underworld, however, after a chance encounter with escaped murderer Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte). Along with former policeman and current alcoholic Jansen (Yves Montand), they plot an intricate jewel heist. All the while, quirky Police Commissioner Mattei (Bourvil), who was the one to lose custody of Vogel, is determined to find him.

Cast & Crew

Bourvil
Le Commissaire Mattei
Paul Crauchet
Le Receleur
Paul Amiot
Le chef de la police
Pierre Collet
Le Gardien de prison
Jean-Pierre Posier
L'assistant de Mattei
François Perier
Santi
Yves Arcanel
Le juge d'instruction
Rene Berthier
Le directeur de la P.J.
Jean-Marc Boris
Le fils Santi
Jean Champion
Le garde-barrière
Yvan Chiffre
Un policier
Anna Douking
L'ancienne amie de Corey
Robert Favart
Le vendeur chez Mauboussin
Roger Fradet
Un policier
Edouard Francomme
Le gardien du billard
Jean Franval
Le tenancier d'hotel
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Critic Reviews for The Red Circle

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for The Red Circle

  • Apr 13, 2013
    No one could accuse Melville of not taking his time . . . the film is admittedly slow (it takes an hour just to get the main plot rolling) but its an effective way to tell the story because it makes the few moments of action feel unpredictable and its refreshing to see a movie constructed this way.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2011
    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
  • Nov 08, 2011
    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 S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2011
    The jewelry store scene alone is worth the four stars.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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