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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion to L'Armée des Ombres"
Well-acted and reasonably historically accurate, Army of Crime portrays the creation of a resistance group in World War Two Paris. The first act of the film shows us the motivations, reservations and hesitations of the men and women who eventually formed a resistance group composed mainly of immigrants. Once they start to attack the German occupiers, the film becomes more...
Published on 18 April 2010 by Dobester

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OKAY, nothing more
Movie was interesting. Not too dramatic. Nothing too powerful. The topic itself is very important and so I was expecting a movie more....powerful , that's all. But overall it's a pretty good one and can and should be watched.
Published 20 months ago by Yuval Harari


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy companion to L'Armée des Ombres", 18 April 2010
By 
Dobester (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
Well-acted and reasonably historically accurate, Army of Crime portrays the creation of a resistance group in World War Two Paris. The first act of the film shows us the motivations, reservations and hesitations of the men and women who eventually formed a resistance group composed mainly of immigrants. Once they start to attack the German occupiers, the film becomes more of a war adventure movie. The film does not shy away from the ruthless activities of the Paris Police's "Brigade Speciale", formed to track down communists and resiters, and most of the police characters were real policemen. Nor does Army of Crime gloss over the indiscipline and naivety of the resistants and their consequences.

Overall, an excellent depiction of the heroic immigrants and outcasts who fought and died for France, and the French "patriots" who hunted them down, tortured them and then handed them over to the Germans for execution or deportation to Buchenwald and Auschwitz. What lifts the film above similar wartime dramas is the character of Missak Manouchian, the leader of the group, who wrote in a letter to his wife, written form a Gestapo prison cell "I have no hate for the German people".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "At the moment of death, I proclaim that I have no hatred for the German people...", 20 Nov 2011
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
The camera pans slowly from face to face...22 men and one woman. Some look out the window of the transport they're seated in. Some seem angry, others resigned. As the camera pauses at each face, the person's name comes up, followed by "Died for France." The time is 1944. They are the members of the French Resistance, the Manouchian Group. Many of them seem very young. In a few hours the men will be executed by a German firing squad. The woman will be taken to Germany where she will be beheaded with an axe.

Army of Crime tells the story of this group. They all lived in the same Paris neighborhood. Missak Manouchian, an Armenian, a poet and an intellectual, a man who was first ready to die but not to kill, becomes their leader. He learns to kill very well. The group is made of Frenchmen, Italians, Poles, Armenians, Spaniards, Hungarians and Romanians. All are Communists. Many are Jews. Hours before his death, Manouchian wrote this passage in a letter to his wife:

"My dear Melinée, my beloved little orphan,

In a few hours I will no longer be of this world. We are going to be executed today at 3:00. This is happening to me like an accident in my life; I don't believe it, but I nevertheless know that I will never see you again. What can I write you? Everything inside me is confused, yet clear at the same time.

I joined the Army of Liberation as a volunteer, and I die within inches of victory and the final goal. I wish for happiness for all those who will survive and taste the sweetness of the freedom and peace of tomorrow. I'm sure that the French people, and all those who fight for freedom, will know how to honor our memory with dignity. At the moment of death, I proclaim that I have no hatred for the German people, or for anyone at all; everyone will receive what he is due, as punishment and as reward. The German people, and all other people, will live in peace and brotherhood after the war, which will not last much longer. Happiness for all ... I have one profound regret, and that's of not having made you happy; I would so much have liked to have a child with you, as you always wished. So I'd absolutely like you to marry after the war, and, for my happiness, to have a child and, to fulfill my last wish, marry someone who will make you happy..."

How did it come to this? Some young men in Manouchian's neighborhood, infuriated by the arrogance and injustice of the German occupiers, began finding ways to strike back...shooting down German officers, throwing a grenade, leaving a crude bomb. Manouchian, once arrested by the French police and tortured, was released. He could see that organizing a group with selected targets would be more effective than individual and uncoordinated strikes. He was encourage to do this by the senior leaders of the Resistance, all Communists, too. Before long, the Manouchian Group was blowing up troop trains, killing quantities of Germans in broad daylight, even assassinating a German general.

The group was slowly hunted down... not by Germans, but by the collaborating French police. (Himmler sent praise to them after they rounded up thousands of Jews and departed them east. His praise? That not a single German soldier was needed. The French police did it all.)

Army of Crime concentrates on perhaps a dozen of the members, and we get to know well three or four of them. The movie is tense and intense as they plot, kill and put not only themselves at risk but also their mothers and fathers. The movie also is disturbing, in that it tells a story that for years the French did not want to face up to. Those pursing the Manouchian Group were French policemen. Those who captured the members were French policemen. All were tortured, by French policemen. They were turned over for execution to the Germans by French policemen.

After the members of the Manouchian Group were shot, German propagandists blanketed France with red posters showing their faces, listing their "crimes" and calling the group just an "army of crime."

Two things remain in my mind after watching this movie. First, how brave ordinary people can be when faced with brutality and injustice. Second, how easily it can be for some police forces to see their job not as protecting the people and insuring that justice has a chance to work, but of protecting the status quo, of beating, spraying and imprisoning those who are considered by their leaders as not being docile enough or who simply exercise their rights.

Among the many fine actors are Simon Abkarian as Missak Manouchian and Virginie Ledoyan as his wife, Melinee. Robert Guediguian is the director.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsung heroes, 22 May 2010
This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
The army of crime, relates about a not so glorious time in French history and sets a precedent in showing the active collaboration of the French police during the Nazis occupation. The story follows Missak Manouchian, a poet and Armenian refugee setting up a group of resistants made up of young migrants who settled in France because it was the country of human rights, or so they thought.

Until recently French history books had omitted to mention the role of the French police collaborating with the Nazis, in 1995 Président Jacques Chirac acknolewdged their responsibility in deporting jews during the Second World War. Robert Guediguian has put his soul in this film and even if we know the outcome, it is difficult not to get attached to his characters. Those young men and Olga Bancic the only woman in the group were full of dreams, ready to sacrifice their life for their adopted country, they didnt flinch or hesitate killing to make an impact. Simon Akbarian and Virginie Ledoyen the main characters, are very convincing, as are Robinson Stevenin and the other actors.

I felt completly moved by this story who took place more than 70 years ago, their bravoury could have been relegated to a distant past, thanks to Robert Guediguian they will become part of our memory.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patriot army, 29 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very enjoyable World War II adventure movie; featuring a story about the French resistance. It is made up of the usual elements that a good movie needs to succeed - action, romance, colour and excitement. The backdrop to the bulk of the story is Paris; the sight of which is bound to be a crowd pleaser in its own right. An efficient movie therefore; Hollywood by the Seine so to speak.

What makes this movie unusual is the nature of the resistance group portrayed here. It is composed of immigrants, refugees and the descendants of such. Classed by the puppet Vichy regime as aliens some French Jews take up arms to fight the Nazis and their Vichy allies. Italian and Spanish anti-fascist refugees join their ranks as do other groups amongst them French citizens of Polish and Armenian descent. Outraged at the occupation of their adoptive homeland and at the sight of French police and civil servants cravenly doing the bidding of their Nazi overlords these "outsiders" take up arms to attempt to restore the lost honour of France. The Vichy regime sneeringly refers to them as a bandit group, an army of crime, whose actions no true Frenchman could support.

What makes the film even more fascinating is that it is based, with a little fictionalisation, on real life events. The French police, as directed by Vichy, rounded up Jews - French Jews as well as Jewish citizens of other states on the run in France from the Nazis - plus anti-Nazi refugees from other occupied states and handed them over to the Nazis. All this voluntarily, without the need for a demand, or even a request, from the occupying Germans. Vichy's political police are seen here being congratulated by a senior SS officer for their skills in torturing prisoners- skills, he states, which made the SS look like amateurs!

All true, every last word of it. Robert Guediguian, the producer of this movie, chose to make this film in order to make these facts more widely known. There is an excellent interview with the producer included as an extra on this disc where he goes into the actual background history to the story in some depth. A very good film. Not only hugely enjoyable but a fascinating insight into a troubled period of history; a period where a group of people denounced by their own goverment as rootless foreign criminals and terrorists showed themselves to be some of the most patriotic Frenchmen of all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable... Entertaining..., 10 July 2012
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
This is another very entertaining movie about the French Resistance during World War II. The French have made a number of good war movies (see Days of Glory) and this is definitely one of the better one's. It's not as good as "Flame & Citron", which is about Danish Resistance fighters, but all the same this is a good movie. There's all the expected moments in the movie, tension, intrigue, courage and fear. The settings are naturally very good, how could they not be when its filmed in Europe, plus the costumes and acting are very good. I'm definitely glad I bought this movie and I'm sure you'll enjoy it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Army of Crime, 28 May 2012
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
This is a compelling story based on true events in France during occupation. It exposes the ruthlessness of a disparate group of resistance fighters in Paris facing the brutality of the occupying German forces. The risks for them are high. They appear unafraid of being captured and tortured. They in turn act violently against the enemy and even their own people if that is necessary. The end for them is therefore inevitable. The central character, the Armenian, also fails in the end in maintaining his pacifist ideals. These men and women are brutalised by what happens to them and to their country. It is a powerful subject and leaves a deep sense of both despair on the one hand and recognition on the other of what people will do to survive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What did you do in the war Daddy?, 19 Mar 2012
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
A film about a group of young boys/men fleeing tyrany and who ended up in Paris at the time of the German occupation. The film then vividly portrays the collaboration of the French police. It is as much about them, as it is about the "resistance."

France was one of a handful of occupied nations that created a government that actively collaborated with the German war machine. As the film highlights it set 600,000 to Germany to work the factories freeing up more Germans to fight in the various "fronts." France was not so much occupied but engaged in working alongside the National Socialist Cause and whilst De Gaulle was promoted in Britain as the voice of France in reality Petain, Laval, Doriot and the rest of the regime were those who were the real government and army of France.

The French as depicted in the film were involved in the round up and internment of people at Drancy, a type of "Barbican complex" handed over to incarcerating Jews before deporting them to Poland. "The Round Up" shows what happened with the Velodrome round up.

The film works from two angles, the young men who coalesced in acts of "terror" or resistance depending on whose side you are on. Then there are the French Police who instigate their own war of terror on "Jews and Communists." Thye are avid and keen adherents to their masters cause. It highlights the psychology of power as France who invented "nationalism" could easily shed it to become a vassal. This is the terror within the film. Whereas in Poland the state of defiance and everyday resistance created an everyday barrier to operating a Quisling government, here we see the product of acquiescence.

The resistance are a mixture of Spanish, Italian Communists and young Jews from all over Europe who take on the war machine and inevitably from the start are doomed. The film however is about how they expand from small acts to larger ones and how they are undone.

There is enough killing within the film if that is your "bag" but the film concentrates on the terror of everyday existence, of perpetually living in fear and exhileration from one moment to the next.

As the war becomes more distant the act of cowardice can now be easier shown, as previously the myth making required France to have been devoured by Germans instead of seeking their overlordship.

This highlights the power of belief to transcend an immediate situation and to take enormous risks. There is the history lesson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a View, 9 Oct 2011
By 
R. J. Carter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
This dvd will be of great interest to anyone interested in what went on in France during the second world war, in particular Paris.

It is subtitled but that's no problem as the film is action packed with the activities of the resistance movement doing their bit.

I recommend this dvd
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can I have a light?, 29 Aug 2011
This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
Army of Crime is a gripping story of resistance in occupied France. There is a big cast and some intertwining stories. The film looks very good and the acting is superb. There is also a real feel of fear throughout the film and paranoia as the streets slowly empty. If you like Soldier of Orange, Max Manus and Flame and Citrone then you'll like this realistic movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary Revisionism, 1 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Army Of Crime [DVD] (DVD)
This is a brilliant, moving and much needed film which tells the story of the Manouchian Group, or the 'Affiche Rouge' - a resistance cell led by the Armenian poet Missak Manouchian who, following their involvement in the assasination of the high ranking Nazi General Julius Von Ritter in Paris were rounded up, brutally tortured over a period of 23 days and executed. The title comes from an infamous Nazi propaganda poster which showed several of their pictures alongside images of dead bodies and derailed trains, with the slogan "Liberators? Liberation by the army of crime!".

The film provides a tense, sometimes stifling and claustrophobic view of the circumstances within which the group operated. It's sobering to try and imagine yourself in their position, particularly in the upsetting scenes of torture, and a reminder of just how great a price these people paid for their belief in a free France. However, the most important part of the film is the fact that it tries to redress the balance of what life was truly like for resistance fighters and others under occupation. France has long supressed the role of its own people in collaboration, preferring to see it as a consequence of the unelected Vichy regime and not the choice of the true people. But, like elsewhere in Europe, the Nazi methods of operation were ultimately the same - to occupy, and then to enlist locals to carry out the real dirty work. The film emphasises this strongly; it is French nationals who report them, betray them, arrest them and torture them. In one memorable moment a Nazi officer remarks to the Vichy Milice leader Joseph Darnand that Himmler did not expect such results - no doubt a true sentiment given the brutality of the torture his men inflict on the group member. Of course, those collaborators didn't see the group members as French - they were Hungarians, Armenians, Jews - but the same justifications were meted out all over Europe and France, it seems, was no different.

It's ultimately positive to see films like this being made, no matter how much time has passed - only recently the French government were to release documents showing the extent of the collaboration of individual French nationals, which is another important step. But for now this film serves to offer a much more accurate portrayal of that terrible period, and ultimately serves as a very fitting tribute to Missak Manouchian and his fellow fighters, who, rather than being an Army of Crime, "mort pour la France"
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Army Of Crime [DVD]
Army Of Crime [DVD] by Robert Guédiguian (DVD - 2010)
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