Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Sami Bouajila
Jamel Debbouze
Roschdy Zem
Samy Naceri.
Directors
Rachid Bouchareb.
Screenwriters
Olivier Lorelle
Rachid Bouchareb.
Running Time
128 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Days Of Glory
The tale of North-African volunteer troops in World War II


submit to reddit


Plot
In 1943, 130,000 North African men volunteer to help free France from Nazi occupation. Among them are Saïd (Debbouze), Abdelkader (Bouajila), Messaoud (Zem) and Yassir (Naceri), whose destinies are entwined as they fight from Italy to Alsace.


Review
Days Of Glory

We’ve become too used to our race-related tales of historical injustice coming packaged by Hollywood with a fat white ribbon wrapped around them. You just know that if Ed Zwick had made Days Of Glory (called Indigènes, or ’natives’ in France), he’d have set the Caucasian corporal dead centre, where he could earn the grudging respect of his North African troops as they march towards their unsung doom. As it is, the corporal in question is a pale blur on the sidelines in Rachid Bouchareb’s vision of a war fought passionately by men you wouldn’t blame for caring little about their colonial masters.
 
Hardly surprising, given Bouchareb’s French-Algerian roots, but refreshing nonetheless. In a manner reminiscent of Sam Fuller’s critical The Big Red One, the film zones in on a small core of characters and turns them from green recruits to weary, hardened warriors through a punchy, episodic structure, as they trudge north to liberate a homeland they’ve never even seen.
 
Bouchareb doesn’t scrape deep enough to reveal precisely what compels sullen, illiterate Algerian peasant boy Saïd (Jamel Debbouze, of Amélie and Angel-A fame) or the sensitive, erudite Abdelkader (Sami Bouajila, who resembles a North African Ethan Hawke) to take up arms. Leathery mountain man Yassir (Samy ‘Taxi’ Naceri) is clearly in it for the spoils; sharpshooter Messaoud (Roschdy Zem) arguably for the girls — but is that really all it is?
 
Come the tense finale, as the quartet endeavour to defend an ailing Alsatian village, the question ceases to nag. It’s not the why that’s important, it’s the actions of these men — which only intensifies your outrage that the colonial troops were so shabbily treated after the war’s end. It’s a shame Bouchareb feels he needs a modern-day postscript to ram the point home, but we can forgive him that. After all, Days Of Glory is a truly excellent war picture. Bouchareb portrays battle as a series of dull, bloody and almost inevitably fatal thuds rather than pyrotechnic spectacle, and this admirable earthiness ensures the film remains awfully gripping without ever tumbling into Boy’s Own territory.


Verdict
A war film more of sober, grim reflection than balls-out escapades. Yet it grips consistently, its bursts of combat delivering gut-punches of veracity.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Days Of Glory
Empire Star Rating

Some may argue it is dull and boring, but this film is not about full blown action; it is more of a character piece that explores the dedication of the North African soliders that were poorly treated by the French. And it does this so well even though the action sequences could have benefited with a higher certificate rating . And to those who say it is dull and boring - whilst you no doubt will understand the film's message, you have missed so much. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by koreanjase at 22:26, 14 July 2008 | Report This Post


Not bad at all...

Some may argue it is dull and boring, but this film is not about full blown action; it is more of a character piece that explores the dedication of the North African soliders that were poorly treated by the French. And it does this so well even though the action sequences could have benefited with a higher certificate rating . And to those who say it is dull and boring - whilst you will no doubt understand the film's message, you have missed so much. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by koreanjase at 22:22, 14 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: *possible spoilers*

Ooops, was about to say "As good as Talledega Nights but not a patch on Anchorman"... ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 21:53, 14 November 2007 | Report This Post


RE: *possible spoilers*

The unfortunate thing about the war genre, is that it can be very difficult to provide the film going public with something new.  It's been drummed into us through countless films that 'War is Hell', that war produces impossibly strong bonds between the men in arms involved, and that those within the enemy side are just like our own boys, not simply faceless monsters.   That's not to say that the countless number of films and series, old and new (Saving Private Ryan, Band of... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sway at 19:55, 14 November 2007 | Report This Post


*possible spoilers*

an important message that sometimes is rammed in your face a bit too much. the fact that one of the main characters only has one arm, so is constantly shown with his hand in his pocket prevented me from aking this as seriously as I think it was intended... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by davey_wan at 10:03, 24 September 2007 | Report This Post


RE: Warning: This is not a war film

A decent war film but none the tour de force I thought it would be. It's well know how this film has changed policy in France and the final scenes are basically a big 'fuck you' at the French government but all this aside, it's a decent little war film dealing not so much is the men but what they hope to gain from it. The Algerian corporal unites the other natives with his dream that they, like all other French soldiers, deserve some libertity, equality and fraternity despite the poo... More

Posted by Timon at 13:52, 19 April 2007 | Report This Post


Warning: This is not a war film

About 5% of this film has combat scenes in it. It's mostly about how badly the French dealt with their African and North African soldiers in WW2. Which is fine. Except it's badly directed and dull. And it has Jamel Debbouze in it who's an OK actor but in real life only has one arm. The film makers think they get away with this by having him walking around with a prosthetic arm tucked in a pocket. I gave this film the very rare distinction of leaving before the end as it was so slow. And I like F... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by platham42 at 11:36, 09 April 2007 | Report This Post


Fusing the personal and the political, this stirring war drama comes with a modern-day resonance and plenty of punch. Recommended. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 16:46, 31 March 2007 | Report This Post


SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's Three Favourite Scenes Of 2014
A hat-trick of moneyshots from the last 12 months

The 32 Funniest Movie Moments Of The Year
2014's side-splittingest scenes

The 10 Best Games Of The Year
2014's top pixel-pushers duke it out for the number one slot

Dan Stevens: The Breakout Star Of 2014
We congratulate The Guest star on his year to remember

The 15 Most Memorable Character Deaths Of The Year
2014’s RIP honour roll

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)