98. Lacombe, Lucien (1974)

Film 42 in C4 Top 100 War Films

When young Lucien fails to join the French Resistance on account of his age, he joins the French Gestapo, becoming more brutish and thuggish as time passes. He witnesses and is involved in torture and murder of known Resistance members and seems unfazed by the violence around him.

He meets a Parisian Jewish tailor named Albert Horn, who makes the provincial Lucien a suit, transforming him into a self-confident, well-dressed, powerful young urbanite. Horn has a daughter, France, whom Lucien begins to fall in love with, conflicting with his new associates’ beliefs and ideals, even putting the family in danger when his relationship with the girl is made public at a Gestapo dance.

Lucien is an anti-hero, to the point of being sociopathic. He is brutal, aggressive and unemotional, until he meets France. Even then, his behaviour is only slightly modified, and although he tries to make some amends, his fate is sealed early on in the film. A dark, but well-made film.


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