Jean-Pierre Melville

Le cercle rouge

Le cercle rouge

Alain Delon plays a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volontè) and an alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, until a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates. With its honorable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces, Le cercle rouge is the quintessential film by Jean-Pierre Melville—the master of ambiguous, introspective crime cinema.

Film Info

  • France
  • 1970
  • 140 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • French
  • Spine #218

Special Features

  • New 4K restoration by STUDIOCANAL of the uncut version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • Segments from a 1971 episode of Cinéastes de notre temps featuring director Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville
  • On-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: Essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a 2000 interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo

    New cover by Art Chantry Design Co.

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K restoration by STUDIOCANAL of the uncut version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • Segments from a 1971 episode of Cinéastes de notre temps featuring director Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville
  • On-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: Essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a 2000 interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo

    New cover by Art Chantry Design Co.
Le cercle rouge
Cast
Alain Delon
Corey
André Bourvil
Captain Mattei
Gian Maria Volontè
Vogel
Pierre Collet
Prison guard
Yves Montand
Jansen
Paul Crauchet
Fence
André Ekyan
Rico
Paul Amiot
Chief of Internal Affairs
Jean-Pierre Posier
Mattei's assistant
Pierre Collet
Prison guard
André Ekyan
Rico
François Périer
Santi
Credits
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenwriter
Jean-Pierre Melville
Producer
Robert Dorfmann
Sound
Jean Nény
Sets
Théo Meurisse
Cinematography
Henri Decaë
Music
Eric Demarsan
Editing
Marie-Sophie Dubus
Cameraman
Charles-Henri Montel
Costumes
Colette Baudot
Assistant director
Bernard Stora

Current

Le Cercle Rouge: Great Blasphemies
Le Cercle Rouge: Great Blasphemies

With his 1970 gangster epic Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville finally landed his white whale.

By Michael Sragow

Le cercle rouge: What Is the Red Circle?
Le cercle rouge: What Is the Red Circle?
The meanings of the “red circle” are several, and I believe Jean-Pierre Melville placed this epigraph at the beginning of the film to invite us to contemplate them. For Melville’s cinema is contemplative. Although he saw himself as a popular ar…

By Chris Fujiwara

Saluting Melville in Bryn Mawr

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Saluting Melville in Bryn Mawr

In celebration of Jean-Pierre Melville’s centennial year, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute presents one of the director’s most masterful thrillers.

From the Melville Archives
From the Melville Archives

On the ninety-ninth anniversary of Jean-Pierre Melville’s birth, we’ve gathered a selection of essays, photos, and videos that showcase the best of the iconic director’s varied oeuvre.

What’s in a Name

Dark Passages

What’s in a Name

If you consider noir as a global phenomenon, then films like Julien Duvivier’s Pépé le moko (1937), Jean Renoir’s La bête humaine (1938), and Carné’s Port of Shadows (1938) may be the first full harvest of this bitter crop.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Andrew Loog Oldham’s Top 10
Andrew Loog Oldham’s Top 10

Andrew Loog Oldham was the manager of the Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull from 1963–1967.

Explore

Jean-Pierre Melville

Director

Jean-Pierre Melville
Jean-Pierre Melville

Though remembered now primarily for his intense, spare 1960s gangster films, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville had a startlingly varied career, encompassing wartime dramas, psychosexual character studies, and a collaboration with Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Grumbach (he would eventually change his name to Melville to honor the American author of Moby Dick) fought during World War II, first in the French army and then in the Resistance; those experiences would often inspire his work to come. After the war ended, he pursued his love of film with dogged obsession. Though a lover of classical studio directors (William Wyler and John Huston among them), Melville worked mostly independently, even building his own studio. It was this fierce do-it-yourself attitude, and such startling, uncompromising films as Les enfants terribles and Bob le flambeur, that appealed to the filmmakers of the French New Wave, who adopted Melville as a godfather of sorts (Godard even famously gave him a cameo in Breathless). During the New Wave, however, Melville went his own way, making highly idiosyncratic crime films—classically mounted if daringly existential—that were beholden to no trend, including Le doulos, Le deuxième soufflé, and Le samouraï. His most personal movie was Army of Shadows, which, though misunderstood upon its initial French release in 1969, is now widely considered a masterpiece. Melville died of a heart attack in 1973 at the age of fifty-five.