Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

The Battle of Algiers 1965

La Battaglia di Algeri

Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo

Algeria / Italy In French with English subtitles
123 minutes B&W



Franco Solinas. Based on an original story by Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Solinas


Marcello Gatti


Mario Morra


Gillo Pontecorvo
Ennio Morricone


Jean Martin
Yacef Saadi Brahim Haggiag
Tommaso Neri


Banned for years in France, studied as a manual of guerrilla tactics by the Black Panthers, the IRA, and most recently by the Pentagon, the 1965 Battle of Algiers dramatises the 1950s struggle of the Algerian Liberation Front against French colonial rule. Involving many of the original participants – only the French colonel was a professional actor – and shot in a vivid documentary style, the film was considered so realistic on its initial release that cinema owners assured audiences it didn’t contain a foot of newsreel. In a new, restored print, this classic provides surprising and striking perspectives on events post-2001 when ‘guerrillas’ are routinely known as terrorists. “It’s one of the best movies about revolutionary and anticolonial activism ever made, convincing, balanced, passionate, and compulsively watchable as storytelling.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“If any movie squeezes you into the shoes of grassroots combatants fighting a monstrous colonialist power for the right to their own neighborhoods, this is it.” — Michael Atkinson, Village Voice