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Criterion Collection: Le Cercle Rouge [DVD] [1972] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Alain Delon , Bourvil , Jean-Pierre Melville    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product details

  • Actors: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonté, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Writers: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Producers: Jacques Dorfmann, Robert Dorfmann
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Oct 2003
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000BUZKP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,313 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville's meticulous masterpiece 6 Sep 2004
If you like special effects, big explosions, & Will Smith films, you'll find this agonizingly slow and boring.
Personally, I think it's one of the finest genre films ever made.
"Le Cercle Rouge" is an underworld epic. Bigger in scale, more complex in plotting and nuance than Melville's previous masterpiece "Le Samurai"; at times it seems like a bleak, minimalist precursor of Michael Mann's "Heat" - without that film's pretentious L.A. psychobabble.
Needless to say, Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of "Le Cercle Rouge". You can't really compare his gasbag protagonists to the taciturn über-cool of Alain Delon, but like Tarantino, Melville was something of a cinema anorak. "Le Cercle Rouge" self-consciously borrows the trenchcoats and stock situations of 1940s film noir ("released convict double-crossed by former colleagues", "alcholic sharpshooter redeemed by one-last-job"). But there's no gleeful violence, femme fatales, or hard-boiled wisecracks here.
Instead Melville's mastery of classical Hollywood film-making mirrors itself in a complex professional duel between the underworld and police. The crooks have an intricate technical grasp of their shady profession, but don't fully appreciate the human weaknesses of their criminal intermediaries until they enter "the red circle" and Inspector Mattei's rat-trap is sprung.
The brilliance of "Le Cercle Rouge" really becomes obvious in its set-pieces: Vogel's escape from custody and, above all, the jewellery heist.
Vogel's escape at the start of the film reminds me of the audaciously drawn-out opening of Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West".
The heist is a masterpiece of Hitchcockian suspense. No blazing guns - these pros are far too cool for that!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars coolest film ever made? 11 Mar 2004
films do not come cooler than this.cool meaning lean,spare,exciting,unexpected, not samuel l. jackson,not tarantino.le cercle rouge is a sublime experience,the overhead shot of the billiard table,the close up of gian maria volonte's turn of the head during the police chase,yves montand's cold turkey scene with the imagined spiders,lizards and rats,the incredible,unparalleled heist sequence culminating in the unforgettable moment when yves montand snatches the rifle from its mount and hits the target bullseye,the superb jazz score,the magnificent autumnal photography.films do not get any cooler.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 26 Feb 2004
Wow! All those silences make this a lengthy 2hrs 20, but it’s well worth it. The unremarkable escaped prisoner on heist plot, is taken to another level thanks to that willingness to experiment with the art of film. It seems that Hollywood has stolen something from every scene since.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coolest Crime Caper Gallic Style 19 Feb 2004
I saw this as it was intended - in a movie theatre and decided it was one of those must have films.
Don t be expecting a cops and robbers action packed adventure full of explosions and car chases.
The pleasures of this movie are altogether more subtle and are elicited from the performances of the leads, Delon in particular, and the mind games going on with the cop who is out to nail him.
Despite the slow pace, this film is utterly mesmerising. Be patient with it, and your patience will be gradually rewarded.
To my mind this out cools even films like Bullit, The Getaway or Friends of Eddie Coyle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Cercle Rouge (Bfi DVD) 30 Dec 2008
By MarkusG
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
'Le Cercle Rouge' (1972) is one of Jean-Pierre Melville's gangster movies (as opposed to his 'resistance' WW2 movies). The universe of 'The Cercle Rouge' is similar to 'Le Samurai' and 'Le Dolous': filled with (male) characters who are cool, laconic, unsmiling and doesn't say very much, but bent on carrying out their (criminal) plans no matter what. The main protagonists, all with a shadowy past, are played by Gian Maria Volontè, Alain Deon and Yves Montand - chased by commissar Mattei (André Bourvil). There are no significant women in this man's world, the only one's seen are dancing in the background or sweeping by.

Melville's films have a certain 'slow' tempo: when it's getting suspenseful the tempo is slowed down so that all movements are followed, instead of speeding up with short cuts which can be said to be more conventional. This is explained in the excellent commentary track with Ginette Vincendeau, extra material which makes this DVD well worth buying.

Some people react negatively to the contemplative tempo, and the fact that there is not much dialogue or real action/violence. Personally I think it is a welcome contrast to other movies. Also, everything is not as clear or explained as is the norm: for example we never learn why Corey is in jail as the movie begins, or why Vogel is hunted by a veritable army of cops. Instead the viewer has to interpret a little bit more why the characters do what they do and so on. The mood (and colors) in the film are muted and may not be to everyone's taste either. That said, this is a movie I have watched two times and will watch again.

The excellent commentary by Vincendeau together with the nice transfer make me want to recommend this Bfi DVD to anyone interested in cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A World in Which Everyone is Guilty. 22 July 2010
The idea of remaking "Le Circle Rouge" has been gestating for a while. First John Woo was reported to be making a martial arts version in Hong Kong, and apparently had Orlando Bloom pencilled in for the Delon role, perish the thought! Now the latest gossip is that the project is in the hands of "The Road" director John Hillcoat, who may or may not make it his next film. Let's hope he drops the idea of Orlando Bloom, who does not strike me as having the same ice cool screen persona as Delon. Remember "Kingdom of Heaven"! There are many proposed film projects that have briefly blossomed, only to wither before practicalities set in, so we shall see! If it does not get remade at all, then perhaps it would be no bad thing, as the original is a very classy crime caper and a hard act to follow.

As usual the lauded director Jean-Pierre Melville populates his film with ruthless criminals who possess few redeeming features. The only chink of light being Andre Bourvil's determined Commissaire Mattei, but even he will happily use subterfuge and illegal methods to get his man. As Bourvil's cynical boss observes "No one is innocent, they are all guilty", and this is a theme that Melville uses in many of his films. Those who like to see the good guys in white hats, and the bad guys in the black ones may be disappointed, and I must admit it is hard to care one way or another what happens to the characters. Melville is more concerned about style than character development. Again we have lots of cool men in Melvillian "de rigueur" trench coats and matching chapeau's. They might be crooks, but they are professional ones, and they have the required "savoir faire". Yves Montand might be a drunken ex cop, but he can still cut the mustard when he has to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Le Cercle Rouge" on BLU RAY - Which Version To Buy...
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of the 1970 French thriller “Le Cercle Rouge”. And the BLU RAY is available in the States and Europe. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mark Barry
2.0 out of 5 stars A Blu-ray Shame
This movie just did not live up to what might have been expected from a well packaged Blu-ray product from Criterion. Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2012 by MelAus
2.0 out of 5 stars A darling of the film appreciation classes
Film buffs love this film because it is everything that film buffs love. This here is CINEMA, sonny, and don't you forget it! Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2010 by L. E. Cantrell
3.0 out of 5 stars Carefully made but somehow uninvolving
I admired the careful craftmanship that Melville has put into the making of the film (his assistant Bernard Stora in the included interview on the BFI disc sheds interesting light... Read more
Published on 28 Mar 2009 by Humpty Dumpty
4.0 out of 5 stars le cercle rouge
A brilliant movie without doubt, but my enjoyment has been spoilt by the unwanted EXTRAS included on the DVD. Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2009 by Edward Ashmore
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine movie by Jean-Pierre Melville, and be sure to watch Army of...
"All men are guilty," says the chief of the police. "They're born innocent but it doesn't last." Add this bit of nihilism to Jean-Pierre Melville's fascination with the idea of the... Read more
Published on 7 May 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer
4.0 out of 5 stars Better That Any Heist Film Of Recent Years
If you like your gangster films to be all violence and car chases with plenty of realistic violence then Le Cercle Rouge is not for you. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2007 by steve b
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylishly passionless
If you're a Jean-Pierre Melville fan you've probably already guessed that Alain Delon portrays a imperturbable gangster, there's gonna be a heist revealed in detail, there's gonna... Read more
Published on 26 July 2007 by J. A. Eyon
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry - dated and a bit dreary
Definitely a pre-Dirty Harry, French Connection etc thriller; tame and rather stagey, no great sense of milieu. Delon sleepwalks through the film. Read more
Published on 10 July 2007 by Mr. J. Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Wow! All those silences make this a lengthy 2hrs 20, but it's well worth it. The unremarkable escaped prisoner on heist plot, is taken to another level thanks to that willingness... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2004 by Stephen Newton
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