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Alphaville

Released May 5, 1965 1h 38m Sci-Fi Drama Mystery & Thriller List
92% Tomatometer 49 Reviews 81% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings
Government agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is dispatched on a secret mission to Alphaville, a dystopian metropolis in a distant corner of the galaxy. Caution is hot on the trail of rogue agent Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) and a scientist named Von Braun, the creator of Alpha 60, a computer that uses mind control to rule over residents of Alphaville. Caution is aided in his quest to destroy the despotic computer ruler by Von Braun's own daughter, Natacha (Anna Karina). Read More Read Less
Alphaville

What to Know

Critics Consensus

While Alphaville is by no means a conventional sci-fi film, Jean-Luc Godard creates a witty, noir-ish future all his own.

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Critics Reviews

View All (49) Critics Reviews
Bilge Ebiri New York Magazine/Vulture For all its influence, Alphaville still looks and feels like no other movie. More than a prophecy, it is poetry. Dec 18, 2023 Full Review Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News It's so archly intellectual that you fear it might splinter if you poke it in the ribs. It's also endlessly playful in its worship of American movie tropes, and deeply resourceful. Rated: B May 29, 2014 Full Review Ty Burr Boston Globe Nothing about this strange, moving work of agit-pop has ever seemed out of date. If anything, "Alphaville" moves closer to relevance with every passing year. Rated: 4/4 May 1, 2014 Full Review Dennis Harvey 48 Hills A sci-fi noir maze... Sep 19, 2023 Full Review Kristy Strouse Film Inquiry Visually stunning, but ultimately peculiar, Alphaville isn't a sci-fi you've seen. The deliberate attempts to unease, and extend our curiosity in a stylish display make this darkly enticing film stand out. Jul 8, 2022 Full Review Mattie Lucas From the Front Row Take(s) elements of classic Hollywood and twist(s) them into a haunting foreshadowing of the Godard to come. Rated: 3.5/4 Jul 28, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (712) audience reviews
Dani G Very strange ¿sci-fi? film. The dialogue, the scenes, the sequences, everything.... But then I remember... It's a Godard film, so it's ok. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/29/24 Full Review Alejandro E Sea como sea, aún cuando unos cuantos no sepan qué pasa en la trama, tiene bien ganado su status, a base de dar una nueva cara al género noir-policiaco, y convertirse en escuela para las futuras generaciones. Una de las que no hay que dejar escapar. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/01/24 Full Review Kevin L Very Godard. And not in the 𝘉𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘦 𝘈' 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦, 𝘉𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 or 𝘝𝘪𝘷𝘳𝘦 𝘚𝘢 𝘝𝘪𝘦 sense. But in those films where meaning and themes seem to blur amid so much symbolism, imagery-laden dialogue/voice-over, that the results are overly nebulous or arbitrary for me. As a political allegory with some sci-fi elements, it's visually striking and captivating in its first half before the film gets too didactic in the final third. Alphaville is challenging in places and thematically familiar in others. 𝘈𝘭𝘱𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦 is challenging in places and thematically familiar in others. But I also found it tedious and a bit repetitive. Funny how in all the reviews I've checked out for the movie, no one has mentioned how women are portrayed and treated. Or is that just expcted and par-for-the-course in noir flicks? I did appreciate Constantine's and Karina 's performances. 3.2 stars Rated 3 out of 5 stars 09/05/23 Full Review CKB Having fallen asleep more than once trying to watch this oddly static movie, this time I stayed with it through the end by paying attention to its many references to the mid-1960s milieu. Godard wants to quickly lay down his ideas of the moment and throws together movies to illustrate them with little planning and improvised dialogue. When he is working with lively young actors like Belmondo in a freewheeling film like Breathless, his improvisatory approach works well. But not in Alphaville, which portrays a locked-down dystopian world where showing emotion is punishable by death, and its star Eddie Constantine is locked into the stone faced Lemmy Caution tough-guy character from his 1950s detective flics. Here Godard is imitating his mentor Jean-Pierre Melville's film noir style, but very badly. Melville, an independent filmmaker always strapped for money, famously cut corners by using hand-held cameras for street shots and minimal sets, but he carefully thought out each scene and his films are full of arresting visuals. Godard often seems to take a bunch of random shots for a scene and slaps something together in the editing room. He cares more about his ideas and words than what we see on the screen, which doesn't make sense for a visual medium like film. And those ideas seem rather quaint today. Godard is reacting to the 1960s mania for ‘modernizing' everything plus Cold War era fears of authoritarian governments stealing our humanity from us, but by the 21st century the real danger has turned out to be corporate control of us as consumers and worker clones. And then Godard's answer to society's dehumanization is poetry, still a thing in 1965 but now sadly outmoded as an art form that matters. Alphaville has some historical value as a snapshot of mid-1960s fears, but it is not great art. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 06/29/23 Full Review Fra B Godard doesn't need, doesn't have and doesn't want the means future directors (Kubrick, Scott, Gilliam, Lucas, Spielberg etc. etc.) will use; he compensates everything with his cinematic brilliance and poetry. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 10/17/21 Full Review William L Godard sets up a futuristic noir with technology and logic as the new gods, mortal consequences for disagreement, and with only one weakness: hardboiled American agent Lemmy Caution. In the first few minutes, he infiltrates this dystopian, retrofuturistic world before an attempted passionless seduction and a frenzied attack by an assassin, setting up questions about his character, circumstances, and purpose, before diving into an empty pool with explanations. Alphaville plays out like some sort of mildly entertaining version of an Ayn Rand novel, where celebrations of the individual are literally so profound as to defeat the world's most powerful supercomputer, which has optimized everyday life to the extent that it robs existence of all enjoyment and purpose. Personal expression and creativity are seen as the vanquishers of cold logic in an surprisingly childish overall plot that lets Constantine's Caution behave as the most obvious spy of all time being pursued by a particularly unmotivated police department. Witness as this hero shows poetry to a brainwashed woman to allow her to understand love, whoopee. Compared to the many other novels and films that have equated technological advancement and the loss of the self, Alphaville is both poorly conceived and remarkably dull for a film, particularly one whose working title as per the director was 'Tarzan versus IBM'; it just happens to have Godard's name attached to it to keep it hanging around. (2/5) Rated 2 out of 5 stars 07/13/21 Full Review Read all reviews
Alphaville

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Government agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is dispatched on a secret mission to Alphaville, a dystopian metropolis in a distant corner of the galaxy. Caution is hot on the trail of rogue agent Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) and a scientist named Von Braun, the creator of Alpha 60, a computer that uses mind control to rule over residents of Alphaville. Caution is aided in his quest to destroy the despotic computer ruler by Von Braun's own daughter, Natacha (Anna Karina).
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Producer
André Michelin
Screenwriter
Paul Éluard, Jean-Luc Godard
Distributor
Janus Films
Production Co
Athos Films, Filmstudio, Chaumiane
Genre
Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery & Thriller
Original Language
French (France)
Release Date (Theaters)
May 5, 1965, Original
Rerelease Date (Theaters)
Feb 7, 2014
Release Date (Streaming)
Oct 4, 2011
Box Office (Gross USA)
$46.6K
Runtime
1h 38m
Sound Mix
Mono
Aspect Ratio
35mm