Algerian cinema has a long and rich history, dating back to the country’s independence from France in 1962. Over the years, Algerian filmmakers have tackled a wide range of themes and subjects, from the country’s struggle for independence to contemporary social issues.

Some of the most renowned Algerian directors include Merzak Allouache, Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina, and Rachid Bouchareb, who have all made significant contributions to the development of Algerian cinema.

Algerian movies have been well received both locally and internationally, with many films winning awards at major film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, and Berlin. Some of the most iconic Algerian films include “The Battle of Algiers” (1966), “Chronicle of the Years of Fire” (1975), and “Zabana!” (2012).

Best Algerian Movies

Algerian cinema is a fascinating and diverse world, offering a unique perspective on Algerian history, culture, and society.

1. Z (1969)

“Z” is a political thriller film directed by Costa-Gavras and released in 1969. The movie is based on the 1963 novel “Z” by Vassilis Vassilikos, which fictionalizes the assassination of Greek left-wing politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. The film features an international cast including Yves Montand, Irene Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant. “Z” was highly praised for its depiction of political corruption and the power of civil disobedience, and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1970.

 

2. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

“The Battle of Algiers” is a 1966 film directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, depicting the Algerian struggle for independence from France in the 1950s and early 1960s. The movie is based on real events and explores the tactics and strategies employed by both sides during the conflict, with a focus on the urban guerrilla warfare that characterized the struggle.

The film has been praised for its powerful and realistic portrayal of the Algerian independence movement, as well as its examination of the use of violence and terrorism in political conflicts. It was also noted for its innovative use of documentary-style filming techniques, which added to its realism.

 

“The Battle of Algiers” has become a classic of political cinema and is often cited as an influence on subsequent films about guerrilla warfare and revolutionary struggles. It has been widely studied and analyzed in academic circles for its insights into the complexities of political conflict and the role of media in shaping public opinion.

The Battle of Algiers (The Criterion Collection)
  • Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi (Actors)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo (Director) - Franco Solinas (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3. Papicha (2019)

“Papicha” is a 2019 Algerian drama film directed by Mounia Meddour. The story takes place during the Algerian Civil War in the 1990s and follows the life of a young woman named Nedjma, who is a fashion student in Algiers. She organizes a fashion show featuring designs that challenge the strict rules of the Islamic fundamentalist regime. The film was praised for its powerful message about the struggle for women’s rights in Algeria and its representation of the country’s culture and history. It was Algeria’s submission to the 92nd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

 

   
Papicha (2019) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - France ]
  • Papicha (2019)
  • Papicha (2019)
  • Lyna Khoudri, Shirine Boutella, Amira Hilda Douaouda (Actors)
  • Mounia Meddour (Director) - Papicha (2019) (Producer)
  • French, English (Subtitles)

4. Days of Glory (2006)

“Days of Glory” (original title: “Indigènes”) is a 2006 war drama film directed by Rachid Bouchareb. The film follows the story of four North African men who join the French army during World War II to fight against Nazi Germany. The film highlights the discrimination and mistreatment the soldiers face due to their North African origin. “Days of Glory” won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007.

Days of Glory (Indigenes)
  • Days Of Glory - DVD Brand New
  • Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila (Actors)
  • Rachid Bouchareb (Director) - Olivier Lorelle (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

5. The Stranger (1967)

“The Stranger” is a classic Algerian film directed by the renowned Algerian filmmaker, Lamine Merbah. The movie tells the story of a young Algerian man who returns to his village after several years of studying in France, only to find that his people are living in poverty and oppression under the rule of a corrupt local mayor.

The film is known for its strong political message, which criticizes the colonial legacy of French rule in Algeria and the ongoing struggles of the Algerian people for independence and self-determination. It also touches on themes of identity, culture, and tradition, exploring the challenges faced by Algerians as they navigate their place in a changing world.

“The Stranger” is widely considered one of the most important Algerian films of all time, and it continues to be celebrated for its powerful storytelling, strong performances, and bold political commentary.

The Stranger [Blu-ray]
  • Ariel Levy, Luis Gnecco, Lorenza Izzo (Actors)
  • Guillermo Amoedo (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

6. The Last Queen (2022)

“The Last Queen” is an upcoming historical drama television series based on the life of Queen Mary I of England. It is set to premiere in 2022 and stars British actress Charlotte Hope in the lead role. The series will follow the turbulent life of Mary I, who is also known as “Bloody Mary” due to her persecution of Protestants during her reign in the 16th century. The show is being produced by Sony Pictures Television and is expected to air on Starz in the United States and on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom.

Sale
The Last Queen
  • Hardcover Book
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 372 Pages - 01/05/2021 (Publication Date) - Harper Collins (Publisher)

 

 

7. DNA (2020)

DNA (2020) is a science fiction film directed by William Eubank and written by Eubank, Carlyle Eubank, and Christopher Landon. The film follows a group of scientists who are on a mission to study the effects of deep-sea drilling on marine life, but their mission takes a dangerous turn when they discover an unknown species of creature.

   

The film stars Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, and T.J. Miller. The plot of the film revolves around the group of scientists who find themselves trapped in their underwater laboratory after an earthquake damages their equipment and releases the unknown creature.

As the group tries to figure out how to escape, they begin to realize that the creature they discovered has a connection to human DNA, and it may have been responsible for the disappearance of previous underwater missions. The film combines elements of science fiction, horror, and thriller genres to create a tense and suspenseful atmosphere.

Overall, DNA received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the film’s suspenseful tone and strong performances, while others criticized the script for being too predictable and formulaic. Despite the mixed reviews, DNA was a commercial success, grossing over $50 million worldwide.

8. Alexandria… Why? (1979)

“Alexandria… Why?” is a film directed by Youssef Chahine, released in 1979. The film explores the multicultural society of Alexandria, Egypt, and the struggles faced by its inhabitants during the 1940s.

The title of the film reflects the question asked by the main character, Yehia, who is a young man trying to make sense of the world around him. Yehia is torn between his Western-style education and his Arab heritage, and he is trying to understand why the world is the way it is.

The film deals with themes such as colonialism, nationalism, identity, and sexuality, and it features a diverse cast of characters from different backgrounds and social classes. Through their stories, the film offers a nuanced and complex portrayal of Alexandria and its people.

Overall, “Alexandria… Why?” is a thought-provoking and visually stunning film that offers a unique perspective on the city and its history.

Alexandria...Why? [DVD]
  • Ahmed Zaki, Farid Shawqi, Naglaa Fathy (Actors)
  • Youssef Chahine (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9. Two Men in Town (2014)

“Two Men in Town” is a 2014 crime drama film directed by Rachid Bouchareb. The film is a remake of the 1973 French film of the same name and stars Forest Whitaker, Harvey Keitel, Brenda Blethyn, Luis Guzmán, and Dolores Heredia.

The plot of the film revolves around William Garnett (Forest Whitaker), a newly released convict who is trying to stay on the right side of the law after serving 18 years in prison for murder. However, Garnett is constantly tempted back into a life of crime by his former criminal associates and corrupt police officers, including his parole officer Emily Smith (Brenda Blethyn) and Sheriff Bill Agati (Harvey Keitel). Garnett’s struggle to stay out of trouble is made more complicated by his friendship with a local woman named Teresa (Dolores Heredia) and her son.

The film explores themes of redemption, temptation, and the difficulty of making a fresh start after a life of crime. It received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the performances of the cast, particularly Whitaker and Keitel, while others criticized the film’s slow pacing and lack of originality.

10. Honey Cigar (2020)

“Honey Cigar” (original title: “Cigare au miel”) is a 2020 Algerian film directed by Kamir Aïnouz. The film follows the story of a young woman named Dounia, who lives in the Algiers neighborhood of Bab El-Oued during the Algerian civil war in the 1990s.

Dounia, played by Lyna Khoudri, is a headstrong and independent woman who dreams of a better life for herself and her family. She becomes involved in a forbidden romance with a young man from a different religious background, while also navigating the dangers of living in a war-torn country.

   

The film explores themes of love, identity, and resistance, highlighting the struggles of young people during a turbulent period in Algeria’s history. It has been praised for its strong performances and its portrayal of complex and nuanced characters.

“Honey Cigar” has been well-received by audiences and critics alike, and has been recognized with several awards and nominations at international film festivals. It is a powerful and poignant portrayal of a young woman’s journey to find herself and her place in a world that is constantly changing.

 

12. Outside the Law (2010)

“Outside the Law” (original title “Hors-la-loi”) is a 2010 French-Algerian historical drama film directed by Rachid Bouchareb. The film tells the story of three Algerian brothers who become involved in the Algerian independence movement against French colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s. The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 and was later nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. The film features an ensemble cast including Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem, and Sami Bouajila. It offers a powerful and thought-provoking portrayal of the struggle for Algerian independence and the human toll of colonialism.

Outside the Law
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Debbouze, Jamel, Zem, Roschdy, Bouajila, Sami (Actors)
  • Bouchareb, Rachid (Director)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

13. London River (2009)

“London River” is a 2009 film directed by Rachid Bouchareb. The film explores the relationship between two strangers, a French woman named Elizabeth (played by Brenda Blethyn) and an African man named Ousmane (played by Sotigui Kouyaté), who both arrive in London in search of their missing children after the 7/7 terrorist attacks in 2005.

The film examines issues of cultural identity, prejudice, and the aftermath of tragedy. It received positive reviews for its performances and sensitive handling of the subject matter.

 

“London River” was screened at various film festivals and was nominated for several awards, including a César Award for Best Actress for Brenda Blethyn’s performance.

14. Le Bal (1983)

Le Bal is a 1983 French film directed by Ettore Scola. The movie is an adaptation of a play by Jean-Claude Penchenat and Jean-Marie Besset. It is a unique film that features no dialogue, and the story is told entirely through music and dance.

The film tells the story of a dance hall in Paris, from its opening in 1936 to its closure in 1982. Each sequence takes place during a different era, and the music and dance reflect the cultural and social changes of the time. The film features a variety of dance styles, including swing, tango, rock and roll, disco, and more.

Le Bal features a large cast of non-professional actors who were selected for their ability to dance. The film also features a variety of famous French songs, including Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” and Charles Trenet’s “La Mer.” The film’s music was composed by Vladimir Cosma, who also composed the music for many other French films.

Le Bal was critically acclaimed and won several awards, including the Best Director award at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. The film is often cited as a masterpiece of dance cinema and is celebrated for its ability to capture the spirit of an era through music and dance.

15. Héliopolis (2021)

“Héliopolis” is a 2021 film directed by Djaïma Amrani. It tells the story of a young man named Karim who lives in the Héliopolis district of Cairo, Egypt. Karim dreams of leaving the district and traveling the world, but he is held back by his family and his responsibilities as a caretaker for his disabled mother.

 

The film explores themes of identity, family, and the struggle to break free from societal expectations. It also provides a glimpse into life in Héliopolis, a diverse and vibrant neighborhood in Cairo that is home to people from different social classes and backgrounds.

The film features a mix of professional and non-professional actors, and it has received critical acclaim for its authentic portrayal of life in Héliopolis. Overall, “Héliopolis” is a moving and thought-provoking film that offers a fresh perspective on contemporary Egypt.

Heliopolis
  • E. NICOLAS, Céline (Author)
  • French (Publication Language)
  • 436 Pages - 04/27/2021 (Publication Date) - BOOKELIS (Publisher)

3 Characteristics of Algerian Movies

Historical and political themes: Algerian movies often focus on the country’s struggle for independence from France and the subsequent years of political turmoil. These movies explore the social and cultural changes that occurred during these periods and the impact they had on Algerian society.

Multilingualism: Algerian movies often incorporate multiple languages, including Arabic, French, and Berber. This reflects the country’s diverse linguistic heritage and the cultural influences that have shaped its history.

Realism and social commentary: Algerian movies often depict the everyday struggles of ordinary people and address social issues such as poverty, corruption, and inequality. These films offer a critical commentary on contemporary Algerian society and challenge viewers to think about the realities of life in the country.

3 Reasons To Watch Algerian Movies

Cultural Diversity: Algerian movies offer a unique perspective on North African culture, history, and society. They provide an opportunity to explore the richness and diversity of Algerian traditions, music, art, and architecture. Algerian films also shed light on the country’s complex political and social issues, offering viewers a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by its people.

Cinematic Artistry: Algerian filmmakers have developed a distinctive cinematic style that blends traditional storytelling techniques with contemporary themes and techniques. Many Algerian movies feature stunning cinematography, creative use of light and shadow, and powerful performances that capture the emotional depth of the characters and the stories they tell.

International Recognition: Algerian cinema has gained international recognition in recent years, with several films receiving critical acclaim and awards at major film festivals. This includes films like “Papicha,” “Until the End of Time,” and “The Battle of Algiers,” which have received widespread recognition for their artistic and social significance. By watching Algerian movies, you can become part of the global conversation about film and culture, and discover new perspectives on the world we live in.

Best Algerian Movies – Wrap Up

Algeria has a rich and diverse cinema tradition that reflects the country’s history, culture, and political struggles. From early pioneering films like “The Battle of Algiers” to more recent award-winning works like “Papicha” and “Until the End of Time,” Algerian cinema has produced a range of influential and thought-provoking films.

These films cover a range of themes, from the Algerian War of Independence to contemporary issues like women’s rights, terrorism, and social injustice. They also showcase the talent and creativity of Algerian filmmakers and actors, who have made important contributions to world cinema.