Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

The Army of Shadows 1969

L'Armée des ombres

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Classic insider’s account of the French Resistance and one of the all-time great suspense movies (1969). “Tough, adrenaline-charged, utterly uncompromising.” — The Nation

France / Italy In French with English subtitles
143 minutes 35mm


Jean-Pierre Melville. Based on the novel by Joseph Kessel


Pierre Lhomme


Françoise Bonnot


Eric de Marsan


Lino Ventura
Paul Meurisse
Simone Signoret
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Claude Mann
Christian Barbier


The classic insider's account of the French Resistance, this is one of the all-time great suspense movies, and a labour of both love and fidelity for director Jean-Pierre Melville, who himself had been a Resistance fighter. “From its extraordinary opening shot of the Wehrmacht goose-stepping down the Champs-Elysées, Melville's portrayal of French Resistance fighters… grips tighter than a Gestapo handcuff… Lino Ventura, as a fugitive Resistance leader, has the brooding melancholy of a Mafia enforcer." — Anthony Quinn, The Independent

“Any moviegoers with a weakness for dry heroism, dark-toned humour, and storytelling of pantherish pace and grace – in short, lovers of cinema – should reach for their fedoras, turn up the collars of their coats, and sneak to this picture through a mist of rain.” — Anthony Lane, New Yorker

“Tough, adrenaline-charged, utterly uncompromising... There is nothing more to say, except ‘Go.’” — Stuart Klawans, The Nation