Battle Of Algiers

Written by Serena Berger
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The Battle Of Algiers is an acclaimed movie from 1965, written and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo. The film was commissioned by the Algerian government to tell an unbiased tale of one of the bloodiest revolutions in history, and perhaps surprisingly, it does so. Many viewers say they would swear they were watching a documentary, as opposed to a war drama.

The True Story of The Battle Of Algiers

The French occupied Algeria for over 130 years prior to the Algerian revolution, but had become particularly oppressive after other defeats in Southeast Asia. The FLN (National Liberation Front) was a group of freedom fighters formed in Algeria in 1954 who used all means, including terrorism, to attempt to expel the French from their country. The Battle Of Algiers centers around Ali la Pointe, a small-time criminal and boxer who witnessed a fellow Algerian's execution and was persuaded to the radical revolutionary cause after hearing the man cry, "Allah is great! Long live Algeria!" on his way to the guillotine. Over the next couple of years, Ali la Pointe became one of the most powerful and brutal men in the FLN.

The FLN was responsible, upon beginning their campaign, for the death of many French officials, particularly military and police. The French responded with a series of bombings, causing the FLN to adopt their own bombing strategy, from which no French occupants of Algeria were safe, including women and children. This resulted in the French bringing in a more brutal military presence, including Commander Lt. Colonel Philippe Mathieu, who sought to discover FLN members using torture of anyone even loosely suspected of alignment with the revolutionary views. While Mathieu did ultimately destroy the terrorist cells, including Ali la Pointe, French presence in Algeria was ultimately ended by the actions set in motion by the FLN, which then ruled the country for many decades.

The Battle Of Algiers was recently released on DVD, but is not available in the U.S. This stunning movie was made with only one professional actor; the rest were unknown nationals who believed in the cause. If you wish to view the movie, you will have to search online for foreign DVD distributors who can ship it to the U.S.


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