The Battle of Algiers (1966) Script

2 00:00:25,316 --> 00:00:28,944

4 00:00:38,788 --> 00:00:41,999 Couldn't you have talked sooner?

It would have been better for you

So, he's finally talked.

Give him some coffee

All right, don't worry.

Drink up, it'll do you good

Buck up now. Here

At ease Is it true?

Probably. 3 Rue des Abderames Dress him

Come on, it's all over now, I assure you Can you stand?

Let go of him

Here, put it on

It'll fit you well They won't recognise you like this in the Kasbah, understand?

Show us where La Pointe is hiding and then you'll be free Give him a cap Nationalised!

Don't be a fool

Let's go

Shut up.

Do you want us to start again?

Come on now.

Pull yourself together


A film by Gillo Pontecorvo

36 00:03:04,184 --> 00:03:26,663

38 00:03:53,191 --> 00:03:57,486

40 00:04:11,626 --> 00:04:14,962

42 00:04:52,125 --> 00:04:56,670

Who wants to go out?

Ali la Pointe, the house is surrounded.

It's useless


Let the boy and the woman come out first Then your companion and yourself Leave your weapons there No tricks, you're beaten We've got you covered.

You don't stand a chance. Understand?

Do you hear me, Ali?

Listen, you're the last one.

There's nothing you can do The organization's finished Everyone's dead, or in prison If you come out now, you'll have a proper trial.

Surrender, Ali!

63 00:06:31,933 --> 00:06:34,643 ALGIERS, 1954



National Liberation Front (FLN), Communique No. 1 Citizens of Algeria, our fight is against colonialism The aim - independence and restoration of the Algerian state...

...based on Muslim precepts and respect for fundamental rights...

...regardless of race or religion In order to avoid bloodshed, we propose to the French...

...fair talks bringing recognition of our right to self-government Algerians, it is your duty to restore your country's freedom You will win Unite, brothers!

The National Liberation Front calls you to arms The King loses, the Queen wins... Place your bets This one wins, this one loses. The King loses, the Queen wins.

Place your bets!Watch!

Watch! The King loses, the Queens wins.

Where's the King? Place your bets Madam.

This one wins, this one loses The King loses, the Queen wins... Place your bets

There he is!

He's in a rush Stop him

Get the rat! Kill him!

Stop it! Leave him alone!

Go back to the Kasbah!

Kill the rat!


Kill the rat!

Omar Ali, alias Ali la Pointe, born Miliana, 15th January 1930 Illiterate Occupation: general labourer, boxer. Presently unemployed Previous record as follows...

1942. Algiers Juvenile Court: one year reformatory for vandalism

1944. Orane Juvenile Court: two years for public disorder

1949. Algiers Assizes: sentenced to eight months' prison...

...for resisting arrest. Habitual offender.

God is mighty!

Long live Algeria!

Long live Algeria! Long live Algeria!

Here he comes

Keep quiet

Five months later


Men have two faces...

They sent you?

Yes, they sent me Take it.

Come. Come here

Can you read? Sure Read it.

There's a Moorish cafe at 40, Rue Randon Merabi, the owner, is a police informer Every day at five a French policeman goes to see him He stays a few minutes, pretending to have a cup of coffee Then he leaves.

You must kill the policeman.

-Not Merabi?

-No, the policeman OK You can't go wrong Right next to the cafe you'll see a girl with a basket...

...and a policeman nearby At the right moment she'll give you...

...a gun...

...and you shoot him.

Don't move.

Right, I give the orders now Look, brothers!

Look at this piece of dirt

You bitch! You set me up Let's get away

Now explain!

See if they followed us Who planned this? Take me to him He's waiting Where?

I'll take you there if we don't get caught

Move. You go first, I'll follow

We had to be sure you weren't a spy With an empty gun?

Let's suppose you were a spy The FLN contact you in prison.

You pretend to be for the cause...

...and the French let you escape Shooting at me?

It could be fixed. You escape, go to the address given you in prison...

...and get to know me What's your name?

Jaffer. Lahadi Jaffer To join us you had to do a job The barman is an Algerian The cops would let you kill him...

...even though he's a "stool"

But this would prove your loyalty That's why I chose the cop The French wouldn't allow that If you were one of them... wouldn't have done it I didn't You couldn't, but you tried, that's the important thing And nearly got caught Come on. You're exaggerating.

Your orders were to shoot in the back I didn't know You don't understand Explain. Why didn't you let me kill him?

Well, we're not ready yet We need a safe place to go from and to hide in There's the Kasbah, but it's still not safe Too many drunks, whores, junkies.

People who talk too much Uncommitted people, ready to sell us out We must convince them or eliminate them We must think of ourselves first and clean out the Kasbah Then we can think about the French.

Do you understand?

APRIL 1956 National Liberation Front Communique No. 24 People of Algeria, the Colonial Administration... responsible not only for the misery of our people...

...but also for the vices of many of our brothers and sisters Vices which make them lose all dignity The FLN has decided to wipe out this scourge It calls on the people to help in this struggle... it is a prerequisite to gaining independence

From today the FLN assumes responsibility...

...for the physical and moral health of the Algerian people The FLN has decided... prohibit the sale and use of all drugs and alcoholic drink Prostitution and pimping are forbidden Offenders will be punished. Those who persist will be put to death.

You know drugs are forbidden Why? Just do without Have you seen Hassan el Bridi?

Seen Hassan el Bridi?

Have you seen Hassan? No

If you see Hassan tell him I'm looking for him

Ali, what's the matter?

Is Hassan here?

No, he left very early. Why?

If you see him tell him I need him

Ali, hello!

Stand still!

Don't move your hands I never carry weapons I know Are you afraid of these?

Don't move Why are you afraid?

We've always been friends.

I almost brought you up That's true What's happened to you?

You're condemned to death

So that's what it's come to I could die of laughter

How much do they pay you?

Nothing. They've warned you twice.

This is the last time. Decide What? What must I decide?

To work for the FLN Try and convince me

Stop! Take a good look.

No one does as he likes in the Kasbah any more.

Not even Hassan, still less you scum Now, get out.

And spread the word.

10th June 1956

Stay outside and keep watch Is everything all right?


Sit down

Let's hurry up with the formalities, you know why.

One day, weddings will be celebrated in the open again It is very sad that a day like this...

...should not be celebrated traditionally.

But being the first to desert the offices of the French...

To be married by the FLN takes courage.

It is a conscious gesture An act of war

And now, Mahmoud and Fathia come forward

Sign here


Best wishes, very best wishes Make yourselves comfortable

20th June 1956. 10.32 a.m.

Come over here

Keep calm Come this way Listen

They want to talk to the Inspector Come

Yes, sir, but they didn't get the search warrant Rue d'Isly?

They followed them but then lost them

Of course, sir, but that depends on the Commissioner.

Democratic methods. We do have some suspects.

They favour a formal enquiry Yes, sir...

I don't have enough men I understand But if you could...

The Prefect can't But couldn't you? As you wish.


Well, they'll slaughter the lot of us.


3.00 p.m. Patrol fired on.

Three soldiers wounded Location: Rue Luciani

4.00 p.m. Shots fired at guards Location: intersection of main road and Avenue Laquiere.

Wait a minute...

In Paris, the solution is to increase police numbers...

...and close off streets.

I don't agree with it

Right, Corbiere, where were we?

Intersection of main road and Avenue Laquiere

The Governor of Algiers decrees:

Article 1...

Purchase of medicines suitable for treating gun wounds...

...must be authorised by the Prefecture Article 2:

Hospitals and nursing homes must inform the police...

...about all patients admitted for treatment.

The Algiers Prefecture communicates...

...that recently there have been dozens of outrages in the city.

The culprits are presumed to be Moslem... to find refuge quickly and easily in the Arab quarters.

As a result, and in order to alleviate without delay the security that now reigns in the city the Prefect has decided to seal off the Kasbah.

Checkpoints will be set up And citizens will have to show their papers and may be searched.

Queue up.

Returning to the Kasbah?

No, two days' leave. Good bye.

Never touch their women.

20th July 1956, 11.20 a.m.

What do you want?

I'm going swimming

You're still here?

It's that way Come here

Now, get out

Always the same!

It's the government's fault What does it care?

The murderers should all be killed.

Then we'd have some peace There he is!

It's him!

Where? - Down there Get hold of him Murderer! Murderer!

You dirty rat!

Where are you going?

The rat!

Don't let him get away He's escaping! Grab him I saw him! Stop him!

He's running away!

I saw him! Stop him!

Culprit: Laknan Abdullah Labourer, married with 3 children, living at 8 Rue de Thebes

How many today?

Seven incidents, three dead A copy each for the Prefect, the press, the archives and you Thanks. Goodnight, Corbiere Goodnight, sir.

Tell me...

Where's Rue de Thebes?

Off the Kasbah, I believe.

Goodnight, mamma Goodnight, children Fatma, why aren't they in bed?

They're just going Goodnight We must go now Oh, there's still time Can't you play here? Must you really go?

Have another drink All right, one more No, I'm sorry, we're late Goodnight all. Hurry up Goodbye, Lucien.

Don't keep Henri up too late.


In the back

Is it much further? No


Good evening sir.

Good evening, can we go in?

You're too late The curfew's in force Let him in. He's with me.

Yes, sir, you may go through.

Let's go Henry.

It's all set? Yes, hurry up

Murderers! Murderers!

Ali! Ali, stop!

Jaffer says you must stop Get out He's trying to stop the people They'll kill us!


Stay calm. Go back home or they'll kill us all Leave it to the FLN. We'll avenge you


You stand guard. You come in.

OK like this?

Perfect Fine

No good? Listen I'll take my child. It'll work OK, but go by the Divan checkpoint It's busier and they're not so careful

The Air France offices

The cafeteria in Rue Michelot

The milk bar in Rue d'Isly They're short-fuse bombs so they'll be set outside the Kasbah.

At 3, Rue del Porto But then you must hurry.

You'll only have 25 minutes

Now goodbye. And good luck.

Good luck.

Fathia, God be with you.




Your papers I've forgotten them Over there. Move!

They're at home. I must go to work

Get back! Please, I'm late I said wait! I'm late Move back or no one will go through Let me through Wait there It's not fair Just wait Excuse me. Excuse me, sir

May I pass?

Of course

Hello! Oh, it's all right Excuse me...

Go through, Madame

Hands up.

Ok Go through, Madame.


I'll be an hour. He's a good boy

Thank you

Going to the sea, Miss?

How did you know?

I guessed Like some company?

Not today. I've friends waiting What a pity! Maybe another time?


Good luck

Cola, please Would you like to sit down?

Thank you -Here you are

100 francs

Leaving already? What a shame

Attention please.

Flight 432 to Paris...

...will be delayed for 20 minutes Attention please.

Flight 432 to Paris...

...will be delayed for 20 minutes

Would you like another Martini?

It's nothing, just a gas bottle

The Paras!

10th June 1957

Jean Soreau, Inspector General of the Administration has presided over a special meeting to combat terrorism in Algiers.

Important decisions were taken to maintain law and order...

...and to protect people and property.

It was decided that General Carelle...

...commanding the 10th Paratroop Division...

...will assume responsibility for law and order...

...using all civil and military measures... well as special powers allocated to them.

Mathieu Philippe. Born 5th August 1907 in Bordeaux Rank: Lieutenant-Colonel Campaigns: Italy and Normandy Member of the French Resistance Served in Madagascar, Suez, Indo-China and Algeria On average lately, there have been

4.2 incidents per day...

...including attacks on individuals and explosions

The problem, as usual, is:

One, the enemy...

Two, how to destroy him There are 400,000 Arabs in Algiers Are they all our enemies?

We know they're not There's only a minority which rules by terror and violence This is the enemy we have to isolate and destroy A dangerous enemy moving both on the surface and below...

...using well-tried revolutionary tactics and original techniques.

Go ahead, Martin.

It's an unknown, unrecognisable enemy...

...which blends in with the people.

It is everywhere.

In the cafes, the Kasbah...

In the European quarter, in shops and workshops These films were taken by the police...

...with cameras hidden at the checkpoints They thought they might come in useful, and indeed they do To show the uselessness of certain methods!

Or at least their shortcomings.

I've chosen pictures taken shortly before...

...some recent terrorist incidents.

Amongst all these Arab men and women...

...are those responsible.

But which ones?

How to recognize them?

Checking papers is ridiculous If anyone is in order it's the terrorist.

Watch the soldier.

He's sure that basket contains something important And he examines the contents very thoroughly!

Maybe the bomb was there, hidden in a false bottom.

We'll never know That's enough, Martin

We have to start from zero We know something of the organization's structure Let's start from there.

It's a pyramid organization composed of various sections which, in turn...

...are made up of a series of triangles At the apex is the Chief of Staff responsible to the political bureau.

He nominates someone to be responsible for one sector: No. 1 No. 1 selects another two:

Nos. 2 and 3 And so Triangle 1 is formed Nos. 2 and 3 each select two men Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 Because of this structure, each member of the organization knows only three other members.

The one who chose him...

...and the two he chose.

Contact is only in writing That's why we don't know our enemy Because, in fact, they don't know each other If we know him, we can eliminate him The military angle is secondary It's the 'police' side that matters I know you dislike that word

But it's the only one which sums up our task We must try to reconstruct the pyramid and identify the Chief.

The basis of our job is information.

The method, interrogation Conducted in such a way as to ensure we always get an answer In this situation, false sentiment leads only to ridicule...

...and impotence I'm sure all units understand and will act accordingly.

Unfortunately it doesn't depend just on us.

We must have the town at our disposal To sift through it...

...and to question everyone.

But we're up against a mass of laws and regulations being enforced... as though Algiers was a holiday resort, not a battlefield We've asked for carte blanche, but it's difficult to get We need an incident which will legalize our actions...

...and make them feasible We ourselves must create this opening... our adversaries don't do it for us, as I believe they might.

To all freedom fighters After two years of bitter struggle... in the city and in the mountain.

...the Algerian people are victorious.

On Monday 28th January...

...the United Nations will debate the Algerian question The Organization will mobilize... explain the importance of this to the people For eight days from Monday the FLN proclaims a general strike There will be no armed action or incidents.

'Le Monde'! 'Le Monde'! Eight-day strike!

My money, please.


Brothers, Algerians...

Having tried all methods to avoid a UN debate on Algeria...

...the colonialists insist that the FLN represents only a minority.

Brothers & sisters World opinion is behind us Let us show we are united Support the strike proclaimed by the FLN

For these eight days, do not enter the European quarter Stay in the Kasbah.

Don't gather in closed places...

...thus facilitating round-ups Shelter the poor and homeless in your houses Stock up with food and water

They seem calm Yes, but they're restless

Like rats in a trap... we hope Do you think the strike will be 100% ?

Certainly So Mathieu, all going well?

I hope so What will you call the operation?

Well, General...

Operation Champagne Operation Champagne, why not?

Operation Champagne Fine

They're beggars, unemployed, homeless They'll stay here during the strike safe from police sweeps.

But I don't think they ought to have been brought here.

It's a mistake Why?

Because you're here. We'd better change the place Don't you trust them? You never know All right, you decide No. If I made the decisions you wouldn't be in Algiers now.

Why? It's not prudent

Ali, go with Ben M'Hidi to the Maison des Arbres

Isn't he sleeping here? No. Too many new faces around

Another one ready Look at this for a hideout.

Seems like a wall Look inside No, you must go. It's late

They're old fighters. You'll be safe.

Hurry, Ali

The terrace is the shortest way.

All right, you can come.

Fine. They're waiting What's your view on the strike?

It'll succeed I think so too.

It has been well organized But the French?

Obviously, they'll try everything to break it.

They'll do more than that We've given them the chance Understand what I mean?

Now they'll no longer grope in the dark.

Every striker...

...will be a recognizable enemy...

...a confessed criminal.

And they will go over onto the offensive Have you thought of that?

No Jaffer says you weren't in favour of the strike No, neither were my men.

Why not?

Because they say we mustn't use arms.

You don't win wars with outrages.

Neither wars nor revolutions.

Terrorism serves to begin with But later, the people themselves must move That's the reason behind the need to strike To mobilize all Algerians, to count them To assess our strength To show the UN?

Yes, the UN too It might not be much use...

...but at least the UN will be able to see our strength.

You know, Ali...'s hard to start a revolution

Even harder to continue it And hardest of all to win it But it's only afterwards, when we have won...

...that the true difficulties begin

In short Ali, there's still much to do You are not already tired?


Come on; wake up!

Attention all vehicles!

Speed up the sweep.

Truck No. 1 to El Biar No. 2 the gas works No. 3 the port Attention...

All suspects to be sent to HQ

Move it.

That one You, come here. Wait there On strike, eh?

I'm not well You're too scared to say, but you're with the FLN, aren't you?

No. What do you take me for?

The FLN wants you to strike and you won't speak?

Please yourself.

This one to HQ too, Gerard.

You, come here Are you deaf?

Move! At the double!

Get a move on!

It's now the fourth day, and the general strike continues The town is paralyzed, but there have been no serious incidents Calm reigns in the Arab quarter

I'll call you back

Mathieu's here

Colonel... I'm meeting the Prefect What's going on? I'm just assessing the situation Go and look for yourselves.

I've put all means at your disposal The strike seems successful?

It has missed its main aim insurrection That wasn't its aim You believe the FLN?

Maybe. A general strike is convincing at the UN The UN is far away.

How can it judge a strike's importance?

Bombs get heard. I'd do like them What exactly is armed insurrection?

It's an inevitable stage in revolutionary war After terrorism, armed insurrection follows...

...just as guerrilla tactics precede war proper.

Dien Bien Phu? Exactly.

But in Indo-China they won And here?

It depends on you -On us?

-You want us to enlist? -God forbid!

Just write and write well It's not soldiers we lack Then what?

Political will, which is sometimes present, sometimes not But sometimes is not enough.

What's Paris saying? Just another article by Sartre

Why are the Sartres always on the other side?

You don't like Sartre, Colonel? No But I'd like him even less as an enemy.

One, two, three, four follow me

Come on, hurry up

What's going on? They're singing

OK. Let's have it.

From the start, then you can go.

Name? Smain First name? Ahmed District? Second Be more precise No. 2, the Kasbah, Algiers West Which group? Third group Third group; what was your job?

Responsible for the Sixth Squad That'll do.

Day six of the strike People of the Kasbah...

The FLN prevents you from working The FLN makes you shut your shops The FLN wants to starve you and condemn you to misery The FLN prevents you from working People of the Kasbah...

...France is your motherland Muhammed? Muhammed? Have you seen him?

Muhammed The FLN wants to starve you and condemn you to misery.

People of the Kasbah, rebel against the FLN France has given you civilization and prosperity: schools, streets, hospitals.

Algerians; go back to your job.

Show your love for your mother country by disobeying the terrorists' orders.

Courage! God be with you Courage! Algerians! Brothers!

Don't listen to what they say. Take courage!

Algeria will be free!

5th February 1957 Last day of the strike

Open the shop

Pull! Faster!

The UN General Assembly... after failing to obtain a majority on any motion put forward...

...has decided there will be no direct intervention in Algeria The UN, however, hopes that in a spirit of cooperation...

...a peaceful and just solution will be found... keeping with UN Charter principles

Good. Well done Now we can go to bed The end of the strike changes nothing Keep the boys on duty We must stay in the Kasbah 24 hours a day Our work must continue with no let-up

Any of you had a tapeworm?

It's a worm that grows to infinity You can kill thousands of its segments...

...but if the head remains, it immediately reproduces.

The FLN's the same The head is the General Staff: several people If they are not eliminated, we'll be back to zero. Here are four of them

I found these in the police files I had them enlarged Si Mourad Ramel Jaffer

Ali la Pointe We must print a thousand copies and distribute them to our boys Who else lives here?

I told you. My daughter's upstairs, and my husband who's at work OK, Pierre. Let's go -All right

You can come out

There were a lot; ten this time.

Paratroopers? - Yes Did they come here on purpose?

No, by chance.

They only asked questions

Jibel Amalika has been arrested

Sheikh Abdullah has been arrested

People of the Kasbah, the FLN has lost the battle

Rebel against this dying regime Work with us to build a new Algeria Moujid Ben Ali has been arrested

What's wrong? Nothing Take courage

We'll split up. That will improve our chances We must keep changing hideouts We must replace those arrested...

...and get reorganized And make ourselves felt...

As soon as possible Now. Leave it to me No. None of us As long as we exist, the FLN exists If we're caught there'll be nothing From nothing you get nothing Do something When we've made new contacts How do we move? We'll change methods

I'm getting out in three months Hey, look Halt!

Quick, hide us! We're being followed Where? The house is so small.

In the well. God protect you

Come. The well, it's nearly dry Good

They didn't stop. They've gone and the others are far away Thanks

We'll contact the 2nd and 5th sectors The 1st and 6th have had too many losses The 3rd and 4th are reorganizing It's enough to start with

25th February, 1957

You bastard! You'll pay for the others!

Keep calm! Get back!

4th March, 1957

Enough photographs Mr. Ben M'Hidi. Isn't it vile to use women's baskets.. to carry bombs to attack innocent victims?

Isn't it even more vile to drop napalm bombs...

...on defenceless villages, killing thousands more victims?

It would be easier for us if we had planes Give me the bombers...

...and you can have the baskets

Mr. Williams wants to know... if the FLN has a chance of defeating the French Army?

It has more chance defeating the French Army than they have of changing the course of history Colonel Mathieu has said that you were arrested by chance By mistake The paratroopers...

...were looking for someone less important than you Could you say why you were in that flat in Rue Debussy?

I can only say I wish I hadn't been.

Enough, gentlemen. It's late and we've work to do Show over?

Correct Before it backfires

Closed for having taken part in the strike People of the Kasbah, the rebellion is petering out Ali Mohammed of FLN Sector 2 was killed this morning People of Algiers...

Denounce the agitators Abandon them

Count on the protection of the French Army

Colonel Mathieu...

The spokesman of the Resident Minister, M. Gorlin states that Ben M'Hidi hanged himself in his cell by tearing up his shirt and making it into a rope which he tied to the bars of his window

Given his stated intention to escape at the first opportunity it was thought necessary to keep the prisoner bound hand and foot at all times In your opinion, Colonel Is a man in this condition capable of tearing his shirt, making it into a rope and hanging himself with it?

Ask the spokesman about that I didn't make the statements For my part, I appreciated Ben M'Hidi's moral strength his courage and commitment to his own ideals And so, notwithstanding the great danger he represented I pay homage to his memory Colonel Mathieu There's been much talk, not only of the paras' successes but of the methods they're said to use.

Can you say something on this?

The successes are a result of those methods.

One presupposes the other Excuse me, Colonel I feel that in being excessively careful my colleagues keep asking indirect questions to which you can only reply indirectly It would be better to call a spade a spade.

If it's torture, let's say so.

I understand.

And you? You've no questions?

No, I would merely like