210. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Film 78 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Filmed in a mock documentary style, The Battle of Algiers covers the years between 1954 and 1957 when freedom fighters struggled to defend the Casbah and gain independence from the French after over a century of oppression.

It follows a few individuals as they recruit and train urban guerillas, both male and female, to plant bombs, and disrupt any area where the French have power – town halls, police stations, sympathetic shopkeepers, and all-French restaurants and bars. The French Army up the ante by effectively ghettoising the Casbah with checkpoints, and by torturing and murdering insurgents, in an attempt to wipe out the uprising.

Of the films on the top 100 war films list, this is extremely unusual – there is no side story, no romance, no drama. It’s realism lends gravitas to the battle – like watching a news item on a political organisation. Not the most entertaining of films, but interesting none-the-less.


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