• Courtesy: Rialto Pictures
  • Courtesy: Rialto Pictures
  • Courtesy: Rialto Pictures


Gangsters -- France -- Drama, Jewel thieves -- France -- Drama, Larceny -- France -- Drama

Le cercle rouge

(The Red Circle)

4K Digital Restoration

The cast is a rogues’ gallery of greats!

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

Alain Delon, Yves Montand, André Bourvil, Gian-Maria Volonté,

Alain Delon, a highline thief who lives in studied elegance when he’s not languishing in jail, plans an elaborate jewelry-store heist with two cohorts picked up almost at random: an escaped convict (Gian Maria Volonté) and an alcoholic lapsed lawman rescued from a lost weekend (a great role for Yves Montand). The popular French actor André Bourvil is superbly cast against type as the nemesis cop, Matteï, a straight guy who lives alone with cats (Jean-Pierre Melville’s). We learn his routine; he’s a male Jeanne Dielman and can twist the knife when needed. Twisting Matteï’s handle is the police commissioner, who learned his lessons well from the Gestapo: everyone’s guilty. Typical of Melville, the exciting moments in this caper are not the violent ones; the thrill is in the camerawork by Henri Decaë, with its gaze of surveillance and fraternity. Long live the guilty.

Judy Bloch
  • Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Henri Decaë
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 140 mins
  • Rialto Pictures

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Le cercle rouge documents  

'Le cercle rouge' (press kit), Rialto Pictures, Jean-Pierre Melville, 2002

Jean-Pierre Melville: the French connection (program note), Pacific Film Archive, Judy Bloch, 1996

Red circle (review), Films and Filming, Gordon Gow, 1972

Le cercle rouge (review), Variety, Gene Moskowitz, 1970

J.P. Melville tourne 'Le cercle rouge' (review), Nouveau Cinemonde, Le, 1970

All guns and gangsters -- excerpt (article), David Austen

Jean-Pierre Melville in context (program note), Chris Peachment

Displaying 7 of 7 publicly available documents.

View all Le cercle rouge documentation on CineFiles.

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