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“ASTONISHING! A political thriller of unmatched realism!”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

*****! [5 stars]
[highest rating]
"ESSENTIAL VIEWING! A genuinely prophetic movie…
The Battle of Algiers retains a shocking sense of urgency."

– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Click here to read the full review

– J. Hoberman


(1965) Algiers, 1957: French paratroopers inch their way through the labyrinthine byways of the Casbah to zero in on the hideout of the last rebel still free in the city. Flashback three years earlier, as the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) decides on urban warfare. Thus begin the provocations, assassinations, hair-breadth escapes, and reprisals; Algerian women — disguised as chic Europeans — depositing bombs at a sidewalk café, a teenagers’ hang-out and an Air France office; and massive, surging crowd scenes unfolding with gripping realism. FLN boss/producer Saadi Yacef (who also plays the rebel leader based on himself) interviewed several European filmmakers before settling on Italians Pontecorvo and screenwriter Franco Solinas, with sequences shot and edited to the driving pre-recorded score by Pontecorvo and the legendary Ennio Morricone. Algiers now feels like it’s been ripped from today’s headlines, from its random bombings to the French commander’s chilling press conference pronouncement that to combat terrorism “you must accept all the consequences.” The Pentagon screened it in 2003 to wise up Bagdad occupiers. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director and winner of the Golden Lion (Grand Prize) at the Venice Film Festival.



****! [4 stars]
"The Battle of Algiers isn't just a political beast, but a cinematic one as well. A fitting complement
to Pontecorvo's penetrating compositions and DP Marcello Gatti's nimble camera work,
Ennio Morricone's score echoes through the cramped Casbah avenues like a call to arms.
The pouncing musical notes crescendo during moments of mass tumult,
and together all three artists perform a balancing act of epic proportions;
a complex historical moment is recreated from the gritty ground up."

– Glenn Heath Jr., Slant Magazine
Click here to read the full review

“It has a firebrand’s fervor; it carries you with it, and doesn’t give you time to think...
Pontecorvo’s inflammatory passion works directly on your feelings.
He’s the most dangerous kind of Marxist, a Marxist poet.”

– Pauline Kael

“Even today it's easy to see why the results outraged French officials (who banned it until 1971) and astonished everyone else. No other fiction filmmaker had so accurately replayed a recent, world-shaking conflict. No one else had pursued the truth by creating a big film with so few trained performers (138 people picked off the streets, augmented by a single professional actor). And apart from Orson Welles, no one before had so imaginatively imitated the look of a newsreel, although Welles had pulled the trick only for the ‘March of Time’ segment of Citizen Kane, whereas Mr. Pontecorvo kept up his illusion for 123 minutes. The term docudrama was not yet in wide use, and already Mr. Pontecorvo’s film overshadowed the nascent genre.”
– Stuart Klawans, The New York Times

its anatomy of terror remains unsurpassed."

– Peter Rainer, New York magazine

"A GREAT FILM! Looks as if it was made today...
Everything about this film says it's real, it's happening now, it's important."

– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times/NPR

"A MASTERPIECE! Surely the most harrowing political epic ever!"
– The New Yorker

"BRILLIANT! UNFORGETTABLE! Mesmerizing pace and immediacy."
– Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"PULSES WITH ENERGY! As urgent, intense, prescient as ever."
– The Washington Post