Based on the book by Saadi Yacef, an activist, revolutionary and now senator – The Battle of Algiers was once banned in France and is now widely agreed to be one of the most powerful political films in existence. As one of the most significant movies on the Algerian revolt against the French, made in 1965, this film is a detailed portrayal of the harsh oppressive tactics employed by the French to quash the uprising. The Battle of Algiers provides a unique window into both sides of the fight and does well to show the tension and disparity between the two as and when they collide. The effects of this film so powerful, or the intelligence of the Pentagon so weak, led to a screening in its buildings in 2003 to educate the audience of 40 officers and civilian experts on the rise in radical Americans and the threat revolutionaries hold to the state.
Its use of genuine turning points in Algerian history, such as the bombing of a cafe (one of the sisters is said to have been acting as Djamila Bouhired who was on trial for this very crime) is to its benefit, as was not using any real documentary or news reels. A must see for lovers of black and whites, political movies and those interested in seeing a more representative story of Algeria.
Below is an excerpt from a documentary on the Algerian French war interviewing Saadi Yacef, Edward Said and other key figures.