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Le Doulos (The Criterion Collection) (1962)

Jean-Paul Belmondo , Serge Reggiani , Jean-Pierre Melville  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly, Fabienne Dali, Michel Piccoli
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White, Anamorphic, Digital Sound, Mono
  • Language: Unknown (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CW7ZSA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,752 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Le Doulos (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
  • Video interviews with directors Volker Schlondorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film
  • Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani
  • A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos have only one guiding principle: Lie or die. A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel (Serge Reggiani), just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. By the end of this brutal, twisty, and multilayered policier, who will be left to trust? Shot and edited with Melville's trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le doulos (slang for an informant) is one of the filmmaker's most gripping crime dramas.

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
Video interviews with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film
Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani
Original theatrical trailer
New and improved subtitle translation
PLUS: A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny


Brutal and brilliant...underscores why the French put the name to film noir. --Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES

The great Jean-Pierre Melville's most influential film...A masterful blend of economy and style. --Andrew O Hehir, SALON

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Cool, collected and oh so sheik, `Le Doulos' reminds me a lot of Melville's later triumph `Le Samourai'. Both films are just dripping with attitude and suave entitlement and both films delve into the gritty life of a criminal. This time around, the trench coats and jazz music follow a group of thieves as they deal with a supposed informant. With enough twists and turns to keep you guessing till the very end, `Le Doulos' does everything it needs to in order to hook you and keep you hooked.

In `Le Doulos', Jean-Pierre Melville introduces us to Silien, a shady character of sorts who may or may not be a police informant ratting out his friend, the recently released Maurice Faugel. As Maurice finds his latest job botched at the hands of the police he begins to wonder just who his real friends are, and when he finds himself behind bars it seems all too obvious who is behind it all; but is it really all that simple?


I raved `Le Samourai' and I will continue to do so. It is one of the greatest film noirs I've ever seen, and it continues to impress me every time I sit through it. `Le Doulos' is right up there for me; a sublime example of a director and a group of actors taking a mood and carrying it through to completion. Everything about this film is perfectly designed to embellish the mood Melville was attempting to convey. This film is dripping with style, yet it doesn't rest easy on that said style; it actually backs it up with substance. The plot is thick and intricate and the acting is superb. Jean-Paul Belmondo is stellar as Silien, possessing the same coolness that Alain Delon strutted around with in `Le Samourai'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Melville February 5, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the lesser known (or watched) pieces from perfectionist film maker Jean-Pierre Melville, who is perhaps most known as the creator of Le Samurai and Un Flic, both starring Alain Delon. Le Doulos has Jean-Paul Belmondo, who presumably was one of the most famous French actors at the time. It should be added, however, that the others are no less impressing. The story line tends to be a bit complex every now and then, not the least because of the many characters figuring in it and their subtle and many-faced interrelations. So I hasten to say that this should be interpreted as a compliment rather than as a point of criticism. Le Doulos is a fascinating and absorbing movie experience from the first moment on. Definitely worth watching at least twice. As we expect from Criterion, the movie is delivered in excellent quality including a number of interesting extras such as archival interviews with the director and main star.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Theft and Revenge Story October 7, 2008
1949 La Silence de la Mer
1950 Les Enfants Terribles (Criterion) *****
1953 Quand tu liras cetta lettre
1956 Bob le Flambeur (Criterion) *****
1959 Deux Hommes dans Manhattan
1961 Leon Morin
1962 Le Doulos (Criterion) ***
1963 Aime de Ferchaux
1966 Le Deuxieme Souffle (Criterion) *****
1967 Le Samourai (Criterion) *****
1969 Army of Shadows (Criterion) *****
1970 Le Cercle Rouge (Criterion) *****
1972 Un Flic ****

Jean-Pierre Melville has made some noir masterpieces. I would not call this a masterpiece (I've rated the Melville films that I have seen above, the ones without stars are ones I haven't yet seen) but Melville and film noir fans will find enough here (Melville's stoic tough guys in trenchcoats and hats, the self-conscious homages to the American cinema of the 1930's, and the cold as nails world view accented by a cool jazz score) to keep them glued to the screen for 1 hr and 49 minutes.

The plot: Maurice Faugel (Serge Reggiani) is a thief whose fresh out of jail. One of the old gang, Gilbert Varnove, is helping Maurice out until he gets back on his feet, but Maurice doesn't know who he can trust anymore. He suspects that someone set him up years ago, and he suspects that that someone might just be Gilbert Varnove. Additionally, for some inexplicable reason, Maurice has befriended a new kid named Mr. Silien (a fresh faced Jean-Paul Belmondo). Though it is never explained where or how they met the two seem to have some unspoken bond that exists only in noirs and westerns between old outlaws and new. Since everyone knows that Silien has "friends" on both sides of the law, the old gang doesn't really trust the new guy and Maurice agrees to keep Silien out of the loop on the upcoming heist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
To dramatize gangsters because of some fictitious "code" romanticize them by dressing them in trench coats with the collars pulled up and Borsalinos on their not just naive, it's downright silly. One wonders what Melville, with Cagney and Raft in his system, would have done with some modern thugs like Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, Peter "Rabbit" Calabrese or Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik. These hefty slobs would look ludicrous in fedoras, and their "code" included back shooting each other.

Melville's fascination with idealized and rigidly unreachable gangsters comes across almost as weird as Hitchcock's fascination with blond ice queens who can be humiliated. We're talking fetish, and if Melville and Hitchcock weren't such masterful moviemakers they'd probably be discussed in psychology textbooks and not in articles by film historians. But Melville and Hitchcock are masterful directors, and even their failures are interesting. Melville's Le Doulos is by no means a failure. It's a story of betrayal and double crosses and then more double crosses, some real, and some by tough men who make wrong assumptions. There's a sizable body count among those who wear trench coats and Borsalinos. The movie has that gritty, depressing, shadowed look of great noirs. If you're into masterful craftsmanship, Le Doulos is hard to beat.

Le Doulos tells us about Maurice Faugel (Serge Reggiani), a tired gangster just out of prison who knows someone informed on him. He kills the man, but did he get the right man? He plans a burglary, using his girl to check the place out and a friend, Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo), to loan him the safe-cracking equipment. Bad luck again; the cops show up, one gets killed and Faugel gets a bullet in his shoulder.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to a great director
I just watched this last night and haven't come to terms with it yet but if you are an "ironist" like me you'll find this film both a challenge and a delight. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dennis McCann
3.0 out of 5 stars Barmy of Shadows
Le Doulos (The Informant) (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1962)

I have been under the impression for years that I can't stand Jean-Luc Godard. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Robert Beveridge
5.0 out of 5 stars speedy no issues
speedy no issues. everything seemed to be in order with the box, album art, disc and insert, thank you again
Published 17 months ago by Chris W.
3.0 out of 5 stars Under-boiled attempt at film noir
An average movie at best. Average acting, average script, average action. There are much, much better french film noir out there, including the great Bob le Flambeur (by Melville... Read more
Published on June 10, 2012 by SnowDog3000
5.0 out of 5 stars When things are not what they seem to be...
One of Melville classics. Arguably the best-shot film noir ever (perhaps in tie with "The Third Man" and "The Man Who Wasn't There") with high contrast B&W photography. Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by Ugur Akinci
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Rouge et le Noir
This DVD has been around long enough to have garnered some highly intelligent reviews, most of them favourable. Read more
Published on July 24, 2011 by David M. Goldberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Le Doulos
A "doulo" is a hat in French slang. In the French underworld argot, it also mean "informer" and this is the story of an interrupted crime broken up by the police responding to an... Read more
Published on December 14, 2010 by Paul Kao
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I, ahem, tip my hat to Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean-Paul Belmondo for making another classic, and to the Criterion Collection for another stunning release. Read more
Published on July 7, 2009 by S. Regos
5.0 out of 5 stars The best French Noir since Rififi!
"Le doulos" is one of the most emblematic exponents of the Noir film in the early sixties. The main difference between this approach and the rest, resides in the poignant... Read more
Published on June 2, 2009 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
3.0 out of 5 stars An early Melville film
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

Le Doulos is an early film by Jean Pierre Melville. It follows two criminals and their actions. Read more
Published on December 6, 2008 by Ted
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