Un flic

Un flic

original film poster
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Produced by Robert Dorfmann
Written by Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring Alain Delon
Catherine Deneuve
Richard Crenna
Music by Michel Colombier
Cinematography Walter Wottitz
Edited by Patricia Nény
Release dates
October 1972 (France)
Running time
98 min.
Country France / Italy
Language French
Box office $8,831,458[1]
1,464,806 admissions (France)[2]

Un flic (English: A Cop, also known as Dirty Money) is a 1972 French film, the last directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. It stars Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve and Richard Crenna.

Delon had previously worked with Melville on Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge playing the role of a criminal. In Un Flic Delon's role was reversed. He plays the cop, Edouard Coleman, this time in pursuit of Simon, a notorious Paris thief, who is very hard to pin down.

Delon's character in Un Flic, perhaps in part borrowing from the detective Maigret, shifts between respected police commissioner and an ashamed assassin whose main motivation is pride. At the end to the film, Coleman (Delon) turns his head away from Simon (Crenna) as he falls helplessly to the street side on an early Paris morning, then looks around the empty streets to see who has witnessed the crime of his police duties. Coleman is one of Delon's most masterly performances.


"The only feelings mankind has ever inspired in policemen are those of indifference and derision..." (Eugène-François Vidocq)


Four men rob a bank in Saint-Jean-de-Monts.[3] A detective (Delon) tries to catch the team responsible for the lethal bank robbery, foil a drug smuggling operation and hold on to his girlfriend (Deneuve), whom he shares with a nightclub owner (Crenna), his friend and a prime suspect in the robbery.

The notoriety and shared knowledge between the players intensifies into the film, similar to a le Carré adaptation with the protagonists confronting each other at the climax of the story. The short stories and anecdotes that lead viewers to the conclusion, become a melange of real time actions scenes and non verbal interactions that hint at spy mystery, while remaining open to the viewer's interpretation.

In one scene, all three protagonists can be seen at a bar, sharing a drink and glancing at each other as strangers, each one guarding his or her real identity. Hence Melville's license to play with characters and plots to leave space for the film genre to shine through. The nightclub owner dies when the cop shoots him. It is then revealed that the owner had no gun when he pulled on his coat ("Think you fired a bit too soon"). The cop is too caught up in being a good cop to see his work as police brutality, yet is left to his cold reason that it is his job and he will do it again.

Cast and crew

The crew included Sophie Tati (editing department) and Pierre Tati (second assistant director), the son and daughter of Jacques Tati.


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