L'Armee Des Ombres

Released 1969


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Movie Summary

Jean-Pierre Melville
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L'Armee Des Ombres, or, Army of Shadows is a 1969 film about the French Resistance during World War II. The film is based on a book of the same name by Joseph Kessel. Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Doulos, Le Samourai, Le Cercle rouge) directed the film using a simple and unadorned film noir style. In 1942, Nazi forces occupy most of France. A civil engineer named Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura) works as a chief commander for the underground French Resistance. He is betrayed by one of his comrades, who informs the Nazis of his whereabouts. Philipe is thrown in a camp, but escapes shortly there after. Now he must continue to evade the Nazi forces, bargain with Allied members, and kill any traitors that thwart his efforts. Jean-Pierre Melville provides a comprehensive illustration of a hero faced with war - he shows Philipe's successes and failures. As a result, we are left with the impression that heroes are only human. Be sure to catch the beautifully-shot film.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    This film, which was never released in America and will now be making its way across the country in limited release, has been immaculately restored and features new subtitles. You ...

  • 100

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    As someone who was part of the Resistance, Melville knew enough to neither melodramatically glorify nor cynically devalue the heroism he presents. This is people doing what needed ...

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This restored 35mm print, now in art theaters around the country, may be 37 years old, but it is the best foreign film of the year.

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Historical, Foreign Language, Espionage, Classics, 60s