Outside the Law

September 22nd, 2010


Outside the Law

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Still of Sami Bouajila, Jamel Debbouze and Roschdy Zem in Outside the LawStill of Jamel Debbouze and Roschdy Zem in Outside the LawStill of Bernard Blancan and Sami Bouajila in Outside the LawStill of Chafia Boudraa and Jamel Debbouze in Outside the LawStill of Jamel Debbouze in Outside the LawOutside the Law

A drama about the Algerian struggle for independence from France after WWII.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.4/10 (1,509 voted)

Critic's Score: 59/100

Director: Rachid Bouchareb

Stars: Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila

After losing their family home in Algeria, three brothers and their mother are scattered across the globe. Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement in France and Saïd moves to Paris to make his fortune in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. Gradually, their interconnecting destinies reunite them in the French capital, where freedom is a battle to be fought and won.

Jamel Debbouze - Saïd
Roschdy Zem - Messaoud
Sami Bouajila - Abdelkader
Chafia Boudraa - La mère
Bernard Blancan - Faivre
Sabrina Seyvecou - Hélène
Assaad Bouab - Ali
Thibault de Montalembert - Morvan
Samir Guesmi - Otmani
Jean-Pierre Lorit - Picot
Ahmed Benaissa - Le père
Larbi Zekkal - Le caïd
Louisa Nehar - Zohra
Mourad Khen - Sanjak
Mohamed Djouhari - L'entraîneur (as Mohamed Djouhri)

Taglines: Three brothers. One destiny. Freedom at all costs.


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 22 September 2010

Box Office Details

Budget: €20,000,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs

Runtime: France:  | USA:  | Argentina:

Anachronisms: The French air force plane in 1953 in Indochina seems to be a today's Hercule C130, instead of a Noratlas that was used then.

User Review

Mom, I don't want to lie to you.I killed people. I killed many. For a long time, I've known nothing but death.Forgive me,mum!


The standalone sequel to Rachid Bouchareb's 2006 film Days of Glory,Hors-la-loi starts at a time on which the previous movie ended. The Algerian-African soldiers, who fought for France against the Nazi Germany in the previous movie, this time, fight against the imperial France for Algeria's independence. The fact that some actors have acted in both movies create a sense of interconnection, indeed.

Against the backdrop of patriotic struggles of three Algerian brothers, the movie questions both the legacy of modern Western Europe and the hard-line policies of Algerian front of national liberation. From the three brothers, Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila) does a long stint in jail because of his opinions. Messaoud ( Roschdy Zem) goes on serving France as a soldier in the revolt against French rule known as the First Indochina War. He gets impressed by the determined struggle of the local Vietnamese. Saïd (Jamel Debbouze) feels obliged to leave his hometown Setif after the known massacre. He just takes his mom and leaves for France. Though he is not as politically motivated as the other two brothers he always takes his place beside his brothers. Abd-el-Kader, along with the help of Massoud, awakens a new soul of liberation movement in places like Renault workshops and local pubs. Said runs a cabaret and organizes box matches in a place where he started off as a pimp. Using Algerians in false ID and disguise, the liberation movement executes every important French police officer or soldier. The French decide to fight 'terrorism' with its own weapons so they create a secret organization which takes the appearance of a criminal organization and they indulge in 'terrorism' too.

In some ways, Bouchareb's movie reminded me of "La battaglia di Algeri " but Bouchareb should take credits for his guts. He never tries to present the viewer a rosy picture of the revolution. The liberation movement does not recognize love or brotherhood on the grounds that there should be no personal passion and gain. Just because the cause is just, the party takes away every individual value out the lives of its members. That's why Massoud never sees his son grow up properly and Abdelkader threatens to kill his brother if he lets his boxer fight for France. Besides,the movie does not ignore the clash between two separate Algerian nationalist movements, MNA and FLN. Some right-wing French people criticize the movie because of its so called 'anachronisms' and some others call it even 'anti-French' but Bouchareb does not really anathematize the French. In the movie we see communist French activists who actually help the struggle of Algerians. Bouhareb may have forgotten that cinema is, on some levels, a light entertainment. He may not have made the perfect movie which is about conveying the whole truth, but at least he tried to do portray a part of his country's immediate past. Outside the Law is not an anti-French movie but it is surely an anti-colonial movie which deserves critical acclaim.


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