“It is about the Algerian war, but those

not interested in Algeria may substitute

another war; “The Battle of Algiers” has a

universal frame of reference.”

— Roger Ebert

A still from The Battle for Algiers

People of the world associate the motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” with the French revolution. While the slogan established itself under the Third Republic at home, people who the French colonised in the coming days had to wait for long to enjoy Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The age of colonialism was nothing short of living under barbarianism of the so-called enlightened nations for the colonised ones.

Many books and documentaries tore the farce of civilisational mission apart under which countries like France and Britain plundered the subject nations. One such film was The Battle for Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo. Ever since it released in 1966, The Battle of Algiers has remained one of the most influential political films in history. The film depicts people’s struggle against a colonial power, complexity, brutality and the pains of war in Algeria against French occupation. 

The French government banned the film for one year. However, even when the official lifted the ban, the movie was still not publicly screened for another four years. The movie’s relevance has not faded away even today. The Battle of Algiers provides a useful vehicle for the discussion of colonialism, wars of national liberation, and leftist politics, as well as contemporary issues regarding terrorism, torture, and the American military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.