“The Battle of Algiers” quotes

Movie The Battle of Algiers
Title The Battle of Algiers
Original title La battaglia di Algeri
Year 1966
Director Gillo Pontecorvo
Genre Drama, War
Plot – Alì La Pointe, a former convict until 1954, decides to take part in the anti-colonial movement and, three years later, he is at the head of the National Liberation Front. In 1957, France sends the paratroopers units led by Colonel Mathieu to demolish the Resistance and they end up killing Alì. After the death of its leader, the resistance movement seems to be over, but in December 1960 the liberation starts over and Algeria will gain independence two years later.
All actors – Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Brahim Hadjadj, Tommaso Neri, Samia Kerbash, Ugo Paletti, Fusia El Kader, Franco Moruzzi, Mohamed Ben Kassen, , Rouïched, Gene Wesson
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  • “- Col. Mathieu: It's not warriors we need.
    - Journalist: Then what?
    - Col. Mathieu: Political will, which is sometimes there and sometimes isn't.”

    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “- Ben M'Hidi: All right. You're in charge.
    - Djafar: If I were in charge, you wouldn't be in Algiers now.
    - Ben M'Hidi: Duty first?
    - Djafar: Caution is best.”

    Yacef Saadi - Djafar
    [Tag:duty, safety]
  • “- Journalist: What would armed insurrection mean now?
    - Col. Mathieu: What is always means: an inevitable phase in revolutionary warfare. After terrorism comes armed insurrection. Just as guerrilla warfare leads to warfare proper.”

    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “To know them is to eliminate them. Consequently, the purely military aspect of the problem is secondary. More important is the policing aspect. I know you dislike that word. But it's the only one that describes the work at hand.”
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
    [Tag:enemy, killing, war]
  • “The basis of our job is intelligence. The method interrogation. Conducted in such a way as to ensure we always get an answer. In our situation, humane consideration can only lead to despair and confusion. I'm sure all units will understand and act accordingly. Unfortunately, success doesn't depend only on us.”
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “It's a faceless enemy, unrecognizable, blending in with hundreds of others. It is everywhere. In cafés, in the alleys of the Casbah, or in the very streets of the European quarter.”
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “- Journalist: The law's often inconvenient, Colonel.
    - Col. Mathieu: And those who explode bombs in public places, do they respect the law perhaps? When you put that question to Ben M'Hidi, remember what he said?”

    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “- Col. Mathieu: What were they saying in Paris yesterday?
    - Journalist: Nothing. Sartre's written another article.
    - Col. Mathieu: Will you kindly explain to me why the Sartres are always born on the other side?
    - Journalist: So you like Sartre, Colonel?
    - Col. Mathieu: Not really, but I like him even less as an adversary.”

    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
    [Tag:enemy, literature]
  • The word "torture" doesn't appear in our orders. We've always spoken of interrogation as the only valid method in a police operation directed against unknown enemies. As for the NLF, they request that their members, in the event of capture, should maintain silence for twenty-four hours, and then they may talk. So, the organization has already... (continue)(continue reading)
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
    [Tag:enemy, torture]
  • “So we now average 4.2 attacks a day. We must distinguish between attacks on individuals and bombings. As usual, the problem involves first, the adversary, and second, the means to destroy him. There are 400,000 Arabs in Algiers. Are they all our enemies? We know they're not. But a small minority holds sway by means of terror and violence. We...” (continue)(continue reading)
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
  • “We aren't madmen or sadists, gentlemen. Those who call us Fascists today, forget the contribution that many of us made to the Resistance. Those who call us Nazis, don't know that among us there are survivors of Dachau and Buchenwald. We are soldiers and our only duty is to win.”
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
    [Tag:duty, soldiers]
  • Should we remain in Algeria? If you answer "yes," then you must accept all the necessary consequences.
    Jean Martin - Col. Mathieu
    [Tag:choice, leaving]
  • “It'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.”