Gillo Pontecorvo

The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers

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.

Film Info

  • Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Italy
  • 1966
  • 121 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • French, Arabic
  • Spine #249

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
  • Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers,” a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others
  • Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance
  • Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence
  • “États d’armes,” a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion
  • “The Battle of Algiers”: A Case Study, a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts
  • Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence
  • Production gallery
  • Theatrical and rerelease trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War

New cover by Neil Kellerhouse

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth, a documentary narrated by literary critic Edward Said
  • Marxist Poetry: The Making of “The Battle of Algiers,” a documentary featuring interviews with Pontecorvo, Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and others
  • Interviews with Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone on the film’s influence, style, and importance
  • Remembering History, a documentary reconstructing the Algerian experience of the battle for independence
  • “États d’armes,” a documentary excerpt featuring senior French military officers recalling the use of torture and execution to combat the Algerian rebellion
  • “The Battle of Algiers”: A Case Study, a video piece featuring U.S. counterterrorism experts
  • Gillo Pontecorvo’s Return to Algiers, a documentary in which the filmmaker revisits the country after three decades of independence
  • Production gallery
  • Theatrical and rerelease trailers
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, excerpts from Algeria’s National Liberation Front leader Saadi Yacef’s original account of his arrest, excerpts from the film’s screenplay, a reprinted interview with cowriter Franco Solinas, and biographical sketches of key figures in the French-Algerian War

New cover by Neil Kellerhouse

The Battle of Algiers
Cast
Brahim Haggiag
Ali La Pointe
Jean Martin
Colonel Mathieu
Saadi Yacef
El-hadi Jaffar
Samia Kerbash
Fatiha
Fusia El Kader
Hassiba
Ugo Paletti
The captain
Mohamed Ben Kassen
Petit Omar
Credits
Director
Gillo Pontecorvo
Screenplay
Gillo Pontecorvo
Producer
Saadi Yacef
Cinematography
Marcello Gatti
Producer
Antonio Musu
Screenplay
Franco Solinas
Cameraman
Silvano Mancini
Music
Ennio Morricone
Music
Gillo Pontecorvo
Musical direction
Bruno Nicolai
Editing
Mario Morra
Editing
Mario Serandrei
Assistant director
Moussa Haddad
Assistant director
Fernando Morandi
Second unit director
Giuliano Montaldo
Production design
Sergio Canevari
Special effects
Aldo Gasparri
Makeup
Maurizio Giustini
Sound
Omar Bouksani
Costumes
Giovanni Axerio

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Explore

Ennio Morricone

Composer

After making a name for himself scoring spaghetti westerns, Ennio Morricone went on to work with some of the most renowned European and Hollywood moviemakers of all time in a career that has spanned five decades. The maestro was born in Rome and educated in trumpet and choral music at Italy’s National Academy of Santa Cecilia, one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, during World War II. Early in his career, he wrote background music for radio dramas, composed classical pieces, and performed in jazz bands, but it was his sixties movie scores for Sergio Leone—specifically his now ubiquitous woodwindy wah-wah for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly—that put him on the international map. Thanks to the iconic themes from these films, Morricone would be commissioned to write music for more than forty other westerns, but he would also work with such filmmakers as Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket), Gillo Pontecorvo (The Battle of Algiers), Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salò), and, when he began scoring American films, Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven), Samuel Fuller (White Dog), Brian De Palma (The Untouchables), and John Carpenter (The Thing). Moving easily between B movies and prestige films, adventure and romance, Morricone has remained one of cinema’s most adventurous, active, and versatile composers.