The Battle of Algiers

Watch The Battle of Algiers

  • NR
  • 1966
  • 2 hr 1 min
  • 8.1  (65,360)
  • 96

The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 war drama film that chronicles the Algerian struggle for independence against the French colonial forces in Algiers from 1954 to 1962. Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, the movie adopts a documentary-style approach, drawing heavily from newsreel footage and interviews to create a realistic, nuanced portrayal of the violent urban conflict between the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) and the French paratroopers.

The film opens with the capture of FLN leader Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) by the French army in 1957. As he undergoes brutal interrogation, the narrative flashes back to the events leading up to his arrest, with a focus on the tactics employed by both sides. The FLN conducts a campaign of bombings, assassinations, and sabotage, targeting key French installations such as banks, police stations, and army barracks. The French respond with ruthless counter-insurgency measures, including mass arrests, torture, and aerial bombings of civilian areas.

Despite the French military superiority, the FLN gains momentum through the use of guerrilla warfare tactics and mobilization of the urban population. They seek to create a sense of national identity and unity among the native Algerians, who had been divided by class, ethnicity, and language. The FLN also taps into the anti-colonial sentiment sweeping across Africa and the Arab world, as evidenced by their appeals to the United Nations and support from sympathetic countries such as Egypt and China.

The Battle of Algiers portrays the conflict as a battle not just of military might but also of ideology, culture, and morality. The French generals, portrayed by Jean Martin, are depicted as pragmatic but indifferent to the suffering of the Algerians, seeing them as an inferior race incapable of self-rule. They justify their actions as necessary to maintain law and order, protect French citizens, and prevent Algeria from falling into the hands of extremist Islamic fundamentalists.

The FLN leaders, on the other hand, are portrayed as charismatic and dedicated, willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause of national liberation. They seek to galvanize the masses and inspire them to rise up against their oppressors, using slogans such as "The Revolution is our duty" and "One day the Europeans will leave Algeria." The FLN also employs women as couriers and bombers, challenging the traditional gender norms of Algerian society.

The Battle of Algiers is notable for its technical and artistic achievements, which have influenced subsequent war movies and documentaries. The black-and-white cinematography by Marcello Gatti creates a stark and gritty atmosphere, enhanced by the use of real locations such as the Casbah and the Notre Dame d'Afrique cathedral. The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone accentuates the tension and drama of the action, using Arabic rhythms and chants as well as orchestral motifs.

The film also raises provocative questions about the ethics of terrorism, colonialism, and nationalism. It shows the violent and tragic consequences of colonial domination and the struggle for independence, highlighting the brutal costs of both. The Battle of Algiers has been praised for its historical accuracy and impartiality, avoiding simplistic heroism or demonization of either side. Instead, it presents a complex and nuanced portrait of a pivotal moment in the African and Arab anti-colonial struggles that reverberates to this day.

In conclusion, The Battle of Algiers is a powerful and thought-provoking movie that delves into the complexities of war, politics, and identity in the context of decolonization. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in history, conflict resolution, and social justice.

The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.1 and a MetaScore of 96.

The Battle of Algiers
Where to Watch The Battle of Algiers
The Battle of Algiers is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Max, Apple TV, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent The Battle of Algiers for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 1 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (65,360)
  • Metascore