Army of Shadows Image
Metascore
99

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 82 Ratings

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  • Summary: Making its U.S. debut, Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 Army of Shadows is an intimate epic of the French Resistance in WWII.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. 100
    The protagonists have subsumed their identities to the collective, and they rise and fall in their hearts as the collective prospers or suffers. Their effort is absurd, but their intent is pure. Watching it evokes a combination of pity for their naive idealism and awe at Melville's uncanny brilliance.
  2. 100
    From the first sight of German soldiers goose-stepping past the Arc de Triomphe to a postscript that spells out the fate of characters whose moral confusion is all too real, Army of Shadows is a movie of its time -- and ours.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    Infused with the bleak romanticism of Melville's gangster movies ("Le Samouraï," "Bob le Flambeur"), and deepened by his own experiences in the Resistance, this hard-bitten tribute to freedom fighters makes most current movies look flabby and undisciplined. Don't miss it.
  4. 100
    This restored 35mm print, now in art theaters around the country, may be 37 years old, but it is the best foreign film of the year.
  5. 100
    The result is a brilliant and relentless thriller, painted in Melville's trademark shades of charcoal and midnight blue, marked by daring escapes, unimaginable moments of self-sacrifice and unconscionable acts of betrayal.
  6. It's a white-knuckler all the way, with most of that tension coming from the smallest facial expressions exchanged in uneasy silence between compatriots who knew what they were getting into, but were nevertheless unprepared for the moral and emotional fallout of their patriotic actions.
  7. Everything Melville shows us, he shows us for a reason, and these reasons are never obscure but are rather pertinent to the action and to the moral movement of the world and the characters.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. LarryR.
    Dec 26, 2006
    10
    Certainly the best movie I've seen in 2006; one of the best in the past 5 years. From the opening shot to the haunting ending, I Certainly the best movie I've seen in 2006; one of the best in the past 5 years. From the opening shot to the haunting ending, I couldn't get the movie out of my mind for weeks. Collapse
  2. MatthewG.
    Dec 5, 2007
    10
    This film punched me in the chest and woke me up from my "modern cinema" induced coma. A masterpiece that captures humanity at it's best This film punched me in the chest and woke me up from my "modern cinema" induced coma. A masterpiece that captures humanity at it's best and worst. Expand
  3. ClayC
    Sep 15, 2009
    10
    A truly great film. Your users that have given ARMY OF SHADOWS poor reviews seem not just ignorant of cinema, but, especially, ignorant of A truly great film. Your users that have given ARMY OF SHADOWS poor reviews seem not just ignorant of cinema, but, especially, ignorant of history. (They actually seem to be just plain ignorant, and very full of themselves.) Expand
  4. JustinS.
    Jun 30, 2006
    9
    An excellent, gritty movie that never loses sight of the fact that the members of the Resistance were above all human, not action movie An excellent, gritty movie that never loses sight of the fact that the members of the Resistance were above all human, not action movie stars. It does seem rather dreary and depressing and lacks emotion other than fear and exhaustion and it doesn't give much sense of what the characters are thinking or feeling, but a terrific film nonetheless. Expand
  5. TimD.
    Oct 26, 2006
    8
    Stark, compelling, austere, engrossing, beautifully acted and directed. And, for me, about twenty minutes too long. If the running time had Stark, compelling, austere, engrossing, beautifully acted and directed. And, for me, about twenty minutes too long. If the running time had been more like two hours instead of 2:20, I would have given it a 10. Expand
  6. JohnN.
    Jul 9, 2007
    6
    I kept hoping for the plot to move forward, but it never picked up pace. The acting and cinematography were top notched but the story, I kept hoping for the plot to move forward, but it never picked up pace. The acting and cinematography were top notched but the story, outside of 1 or 2 good scenes just didn't hold my attention for 2 1/2 hours. PS..Had trouble with the DeNiro and Shelly Winters French look alikes...!? Expand
  7. AlyoshaM.
    Feb 15, 2008
    3
    I almost fell asleep watching this film. It has caused me to distrust the Metacritic ratings.

See all 37 User Reviews

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