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Le Samourai (The Criterion Collection)

103 customer reviews

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(Oct 25, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays blue-eyed Jef Costello, a fedora- and trench-coat-wearing contract killer with samurai instincts

Special Features

  • New video interviews with Jean-Pierre Melville historians Rui Nogueira and Ginette Vincendeau
  • Collection of excerpts from archival interviews with Melville and actors Alain Deon, Cath Rosier, Nathalie Delon, and Francois Perier
  • Theatrical Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier, Jacques Leroy
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Writers: Jean-Pierre Melville, Georges Pellegrin, Joan McLeod
  • Producers: Eugène Lépicier, Raymond Borderie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AQKUG8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,134 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Le Samourai (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
There are very few movies in the history of the cinema that are as perfect as Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Samourai". "Le Samourai" is without question my favorite movie of all-time, and one of the best ever made. It's a movie that isn't widely seen, and is never shown on TV, however, it has had a tremendous influence and inspiration for many filmmakers ever since. "Le Samourai" itself was inspired by the film noirs of the 40s and 50s, especially "This Gun for Hire"(1942) which includes a performance by Alan Ladd as a similar loner hired killer character as Alain Delon's (Jef Costello). I love this movie for too many reasons to mention. First of all, the direction by Melville, the beautifully dark cinematography by Henri Decae, the writing, the editing, etc. Also, the performances are all great especially Alain Delon, who gives the performance of a lifetime, it's absolutely one of the greatest performances ever captured on film. There are too many beautiful moments in the movie to mention, and I won't mention them as to not ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie. One moment in particular is stunning when Delon, who plays a hired killer (Jef Costello), nurses a gun-shot wound to his arm, there's not a false moment in the entire movie. Another is after he steals a car as he drives he stops for a moment as another car with a woman in it stops next to his car and they both turn briefly to look at each other, it's done with a subtle, flawless, breathtaking beauty rarely captured on film. I own a VHS copy of "Le Samourai" which I have almost completely worn out, so I hope that Criterion or some merciful DVD company out there produces a quality DVD of this important masterpiece as soon as possible.Read more ›
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65 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This superb film is gripping and fascinating from start to finish. Alain Delon is extraordinary...his seemingly cool, blank face has so much pain in the eyes, and his hands ! Watch his hands act ! The expressiveness in them throughout the film is riveting.
I love the way he looks at the bird for clues as to what has transpired in his apartment...this is some of the subtlest and best acting you'll ever see. It's a work of art.
The sepia and dark grey tones of the cinematography are exquisite. Everything looks damp, cold, and hard, and the editing is dazzling. This is a brilliant film from every aspect. If you like noir thrillers, don't miss it.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Swederunner on November 24, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The wheel of life circles towards a predictable conclusion, as does Jean-Pierre Melville's cinematic masterpiece Le Samouraï. The film emits a strongly inevitable atmosphere, yet the silence, dualistic, and enigmatic narrative leaves the audience ambiguously flabbergasted far after its initial screening. The serenity that surrounds the protagonist cerebrally submerges the audience into a world where opposites coincide in an illusionary moment. It is in this moment where the thoughts conceptualize into a coherent piece of alternative reality and offer support to the power of suggestion. The blending of the fictitiously thoughtful imagination and the reality on the screen leaves the audience with a strong sense of dualism. Like Yin and Yang, the notion is further developed through the protagonist Jef Costello (Alain Delon) who peacefully approaches his violent profession, as a hit man. He is the embodiment of mind and body converging towards a moment of perfection, as he seeks his own path, a path similar to the samurai - the way of Bushido.

The contrasts within Jef and his environment sharply emerge in the lengthy initial scene where he rests on a bed while staring into the ceiling. Not much is in motion besides him lighting a cigarette, a canary singing in a cage, and cigarette smoke lingering in midair while the sounds of vehicles passing outside informs the audience about the continuance of existence outside. A sparsely furnished and decorated room with aged and peeling wallpaper demonstrates his humbleness, as he pays no attention to vanity or self-importance. Thoughtfully, perhaps, most likely, Jef might be seeking the greater meaning in life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela HALL OF FAME on September 14, 2005
Format: DVD
The fertile imagination and superb direction of this unusual and sometimes forgotten filmmaker for most audiences, find the perfect intersection of a killer who lives according Bushido codes, moving continuously around Paris with his fedora hiding his eyes. There will be a mythical revenge behind.

Unexplainably, Jean Pierre Melville is a relatively not so well known in this side of the Atlantic. He possessed that sixth sense so demanded in an original filmmaker. He influenced and at the meantime was influenced by the Noir genre in the sixties.

But his whole work conforms one of the most astonishing personalities in the French Cinema as well as in the World.

From his first Opus; the wonderful, poetic and expressive film "The silence of the sea", passing by "Bob le flambeur" or his famous "Army of shadows", Melville has received a curious and cynical nickname: "The most famous French Director in USA and the most North American filmmaker in France."

Go for this singular and original film. Absolutely electrifying!
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