Pépé le Moko (French for "Pépé, the Toulon man") is a 1937 French film directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Jean Gabin.

The film depicts an infamous gangster, nicknamed Pépé le Moko ('Moko' is slang for a man from Toulon). The film is based on Henri La Barthe's novel of the same name, and La Barthe contributed to the screenplay under the pseudonym "Détective Ashelbé". Pépé le Moko is an example of the 1930s French movement known as poetic realism, which combines gritty realism with occasional flashes of unusual cinematic tricks. The film is often considered an early predecessor of film noir.


Pépé le Moko

Pépé le Moko, a criminal on the run from the police in metropolitan France, lives in the Casbah quarter of Algiers, where he is out of reach of the local police. Inspector Slimane seeks a way to lure Pépé out of his refuge. He sees his chance when he learns that Pépé is in love with Gaby, the mistress of a rich businessman. Slimane leads Gaby to believe that Pépé had been killed. Gaby, who was on the point of joining him in his hiding place, now agrees to stay with her rich lover. When Pépé is informed that Gaby is about to leave Algiers for good he leaves the Casbah to find her and is arrested.

Critical reception

Pépé le Moko

English author Graham Greene in a review of the film stated "One of the most exciting and moving films I can remember seeing... Raises the thriller to a poetic level!" According to a BBC documentary, it served as inspiration for Greene's acclaimed novel, The Third Man.


The film was remade in America in 1938 as Algiers, starring Hedy Lamarr and Charles Boyer, and again in 1948 as Casbah, a musical starring Tony Martin, Märta Torén, Yvonne de Carlo, and Peter Lorre.


Pépé le Moko
  • Jean Gabin - Pépé le Moko
  • Gabriel Gabrio - Carlos
  • Mireille Balin - Gaby Gould, the beautiful Parisienne
  • Saturnin Fabre - Le Grand Père
  • Fernand Charpin - Régis
  • Lucas Gridoux - Inspecteur Slimane
  • Gilbert Gil - Pierrot
  • Marcel Dalio - L'Arbi
  • Charles Granval - Maxime
  • Gaston Modot - Jimmy
  • René Bergeron - Inspecteur Meunier
  • Paul Escoffier - Chief Inspecteur Louvain
  • Roger Legris - Max
  • Jean Témerson - Gravèr
  • Robert Ozanne - Gendron
  • Philippe Richard - Janvier
  • Georges Péclet - Barsac
  • Line Noro - Inès
  • Fréhel - Tania
  • Olga Lord - Aïcha
  • Renée Carl - La mère Tarte


Pépé le Moko

External links

Pépé le Moko
  • Pépé le Moko at the Internet Movie Database
  • Pépé le Moko at Rotten Tomatoes
  • Pépé le Moko at Metacritic
  • Pépé le Moko at AllMovie
  • Criterion Collection essay by Michael Atkinson

Pépé le Moko

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