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The Battle of Algiers

Special Edition, The Criterion Collection

DVD | Box Set

4.5 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Sep 03, 2013)
Criterion Collection
$23.77 $33.16
$16.55 $41.29
(Oct 12, 2004)
The Criterion Collection
$50.59 $13.55
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the most influential films in the history of political cinema, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers focuses on the harrowing events of 1957, a key year in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France. Shot in the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film vividly recreates the tumultuous Algerian uprising against the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, the French torture prisoners for information and the Algerians resort to terrorism in their quest for independence. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés. The French win the battle, but ultimately lose the war as the Algerian people demonstrate that they will no longer be suppressed. The Criterion Collection is proud present Gillo Pontecorvo’s tour de force—a film with astonishing relevance today.

Additional Features

What does the Criterion Collection do for the release of one of the greatest and controversial war movies you never heard of? Fill a three-DVD set with more extras than one could imagine and give The Battle of Algiers the attention it deserves. The film itself is gritty, with a neo-realistic, documentary-like look and feel, and the new high-definition digital transfer has done wonders for its quality while retaining its visual integrity. Assuming many have never heard of The Battle of Algiers, this DVD set has provided a series of documentaries to fill in the many unknown gaps. The first two documentaries give a rich background on Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo ("The Dictatorship of Truth," 1992) and an exclusive making of the film ("Marxist Poetry," 2004). "The Making of The Battle of Algiers" is a wonderful documentary filled with current interviews with Pontecorvo, cinematographer Marcello Gatti, composer Ennio Morricone, and various film historians, biographers, and actors. Disc 2 finishes up with a 17-minute documentary of five directors (Lee, Nair, Schnabel, Soderbergh, and Stone) discussing the importance and influence of The Battle of Algiers on their careers and film in general.

The third disc focuses on the history of the French and Algerian conflict. Remembering History (69 minutes, 2004) is another exclusive documentary historically detailing the battle. It is followed by the chilling États d'armes (2002) which documents various French officers on interrogation, torture, and execution techniques used during the conflict. Another interesting extra is "The Battle of Algiers: A Case Study" (2004). This is a 25-minute conversation with Richard Clarke and Michael Sheehan (former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism) shot for ABC News discussing the film and its relevancy to studying terrorism today. Combine this with a 56-page booklet filled with articles, interviews, Saadi Yacef's account of his arrest, and biographies of French-Algerian war participants and you have yourself a full-fledged course in the film and the history surrounding it. The only minor criticism of this package is that the movie itself has no commentary track. However, considering the abundant historical and background material and directorial testimonials, a commentary track hardly seems necessary. The Battle of Algiers is a must-have for film, war, and history buffs alike. --Rob Bracco

Special features

  • Disc One: The Battle of Algiers
  • New high-definition transfer, supervised by cinematographer Marcello Gratti
  • Theatrical and re-release trailers
  • Production Gallery
  • Disc Two: Pontecorvo and the Film
  • Gillo Pontecorvo: The Dictatorship of Truth: a 37 minute documentary
  • The Making of The Battle of Algiers
  • Directors on The Battle of Algiers featuring Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Julian Schnabel, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone
  • Disc Three: The Film and History
  • Remembering History (2004)
  • Etats d'armes, a 30-minute excerpt from Patrick Rotman's 3-part documentary, L'ennemi intime
  • A Case Study, a conversation with former National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, Richard A. Clarke, former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Michael A. Sheehan, and Chief of Investigative Projects for ABC News, Christopher E. Isham
  • Gillo Pontecorvo's Return to Algiers (1992, 55 minutes)
  • A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Peter Matthews, a reprinted interview with writer Franco Solinas, brief biographies on the key figures in the French-Algerian War

Product details

  • Actors: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash, Tommaso Neri
  • Directors: Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Writers: Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Solinas
  • Producers: Yacef Saadi, Antonio Musu, Fred Baker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: October 12, 2004
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 236 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0002JP2OI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "The Battle of Algiers (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

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