Shock Troops (1967) 720p

Movie Poster
Shock Troops (1967) - Movie Poster
Action | Drama
Frame Rate:
25 fps
fre 2.0  
Run Time:
110 min
IMDB Rating:
7 / 10 
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Directors: Costa-Gavras [Director] ,

Movie Description:
A French resistance group liberates some prisoners from the German. Could one of the prisoners be a spy?


  • Shock Troops (1967) - Movie Scene 1
  • Shock Troops (1967) - Movie Scene 2
  • Shock Troops (1967) - Movie Scene 1

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A baker's dozen!

Following his dazzling directorial debut with 'Compartiment Tuers' Costa-Gavras was approached by producer Harry Saltzman. The director professed a wish to film 'The Human Condition' by André Malraux but unsurprisingly Saltzman showed reluctance! Instead they settled on a film about the French Resistance based upon the novel by Jean-Pierre Chabrol who had served in the communist-led FTP maquis.

The plot concerns a group of Resistance fighters who have succeeded in their mission to help twelve men condemned to death by the Germans to escape from prison. Much to their surprise however there is a thirteenth! Is he a spy, a collaborator or a plant? As the pursuing Germans close in it is decided that he must be eliminated.........

The film boasts an impressive cast list including Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain who had first appeared together in Claude Chabrol's 'Le beau Serge' whilst veteran Charles Vanel again effortlessly steals most of his scenes. Bruno Cremer and Jacques Perrin both play roles not entirely dissimilar to those they had played in the excellent '317th Platoon' but the contrast between that film and this could not be greater. This is more gung-ho and derring-do with a bit of comedy relief thrown in. By far the most interesting part is the 'extra man' of the superlative Michel Piccoli. His character has been written not as a villain but in the director's words as 'a lost one who has chosen not to engage or take sides.' This obviously undermines the myth of the unified resistance of the French and no doubt contributes to the film's commercial failure. Perhaps Saltzman should have gone with the director's first choice!

The film itself never stops to draw breath, contains plenty of rapidly delivered dialogue and the thrilling action sequences had to be shot quickly by Jean Tournier as they only has one camera! Christian Gaudin's contribution towards the editing is particularly impressive.

Costa-Gavras' meticulous approach is never more apparent than in the concluding scenes on the Alés Bridge. The final shot, once seen, is unlikely to be forgotten.

Un homme de trop

The writer of the IMDb intro obviously did not watch the movie, as the enigmatic "homme de trop" played wonderfully by Michel Piccoli is not an enemy agent. And why is it labelled here as "shock troops" - an irrelevant title? This marvellous action movie has recently (march 2017) been screened in a restored version on French-German TV channel ARTE. Costa Gavras knows how to buld excitement and the editing is slick. A lot of resources must have gone into the movie which was an Italian-French co-production. The concluding battle with German forces features tanks, aircraft and hundreds of infantry - all very impressive. The closing shot was filmed at the impressive Viaduc de Garabit in the south of France which has been used in several other movies.

Finally restored !!!

Being a Costa-Gavras fan this was the last film of him I never saw before. I only had my set of 24 lobby cards that really made me want to see it for almost 30 years. Exceptional cast, wonderful film. The camera work is outstanding and the "Gavras touch" is all over the film, he followed it with Z, L'AVEU and STATE OF SIEGE - all classics. UN HOMME DE TROP looks like a practice ground for those highly political films, and a very good one indeed.
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