The Battle of Algiers – Criterion [DVD] (1966) *NEW*

SKU: 2274.
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GTIN: 037429195628

The Battle of Algiers – Criterion [DVD] (1966) *NEW*


One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo’s tour de force has astonishing relevance today.

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A 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film co-written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo and starring Jean Martin and Saadi Yacef. It is based on events by rebels during the Algerian War (1954–62) against the French government in North Africa; the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers, the capital of Algeria. It was shot on location and the film's score was composed by Ennio Morricone. The film was shot in a Roberto Rossellini-inspired newsreel style: in black and white with documentary-type editing to add to its sense of historical authenticity. It is often associated with Italian neorealism cinema.

The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo
Produced by Antonio Musu
Saadi Yacef
Written by Gillo Pontecorvo
Franco Solinas
Starring Jean Martin
Saadi Yacef
Brahim Haggiag
Tommaso Neri
Music by Ennio Morricone
Gillo Pontecorvo
Cinematography Marcello Gatti
Edited by Mario Morra
Mario Serandrei
Distributed by RizzoliRialto Pictures
Release date
  • August 31, 1966 (VIFF)
  • September 8, 1966(Algeria)
Running time
120 minutes
Country Italy
Language Arabic
Budget $800,000
Box office $879,794 (domestic)

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Weight 0.8 lbs
Dimensions 5.1 × 1.0 × 7.3 in


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The film has been critically celebrated. Both insurgent groups and state authorities have considered it to be an important commentary on urban guerrilla warfare. It occupies the 48th place on the Critics’ Top 250 Films of the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, as well as 120th place on Empire magazine’s list of the ‘500 greatest movies of all time’. It was selected to enter the list of the “100 Italian films to be saved“.

The film concentrates on the years between 1954 and 1957 when guerrilla fighters regrouped and expanded into the Casbah, the citadel of Algiers. Their actions were met by French paratroopers attempting to regain territory. The highly dramatic film is about the organization of a guerrilla movement and the illegal methods, such as torture, used by the colonial power to contain it. Algeria succeeded in gaining independence from the French, which Pontecorvo addresses in the film’s epilogue.

A subject of socio-political controversy, the film was not screened for five years in France; it was released in 1971.