Blu-Ray Review: The Battle of Algiers

After World War II the nature of combat, resistance and indeed war changed markedly. Countries were no longer prepared or able to be involved in traditional arenas of conflict. The nature of armed forces has shifted towards technologically driven killing machines. With the price of human life depending more on socio-political considerations rather than risk of invasion. In 1966, Gillo Pontecorvo directed the seminal Battle of Algiers. A story of resistance at the heart of the Algerian War of Independence.

The year is 1954 in the heart of Algiers. Whilst there have been mounting protests about the French occupation, the influence of the National Liberation Front (FLN) has grown to a point where they now have the confidence to act. Led by Ali (Brahim Hadjadj), El-Hadi Jaffar (Saadi Yacef) and other leaders, they recruit young Arabs to run attacks from the Casbah down into the upmarket European quarter. The French government respond by appointing Col. Mathieu (Jean Martin) to take extreme measures to quell the revolt.

The Battle of Algiers remains a classic work of 1960s cinema. Pontecorvo slowly ramps up the tension whilst retaining a period newsreel theme. This places the viewer in frame as a voyeur; observing the mounting pressure. The restoration looks fabulous; cleaner and crisper whilst retaining the original earthy graininess. The action is tense and explosive, whilst the political background serves to add context to the quieter moments.


  • New extra on the 4K restoration
  • Booklet by Alan O’Leary (from his book on BATTLE OF ALGIERS)
  • Interview with Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo on the making of the Battle of Algiers
  • Interview with actor & producer S Yacef, head of FLN guerrillas, now Senator on the real battle
  • Interview with FLN fighter Zohra Drif Bitat (guerrilla bomber and later wife of Algerian President)
  • Exclusive in depth analysis by Director Paul Greengrass
  • Exclusive interview with Director Ken Loach

The Battle of Algiers is released on dual format (DVD & Blu-ray) by Cult Films on 05 February.

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