This French film is a crime saga that puts the emphasis on the different shades of morality rather than on thrills. After escaping from prison, Mickey (Gerard Depardieu) and his elderly mentor face a gangster hit squad and a shootout with the police. They retreat to a ranch owned by Noel (Yves Montand), a former underworld figure who is now a successful businessman. When the police arrive looking for the escaped convicts, the laidback chief inspector (Michel Galabru) contrasts sharply with his younger colleague (Gerard Lanvin), an impatient law-and-order fanatic.

The storyline of Choice of Arms zigzags all over the place. Although Mickey has killed three men, he proves capable of deep affection for his motherless little girl. Noel is ready to return to the rule of the jungle in order to protect his beautiful wife (Catherine Deneuve) and the life they have built together. The young thug and the aging entrepreneur have more common than either of them realizes.

It is not easy to define right or wrong here. The trigger happy young cop kills an innocent bystander in his pursuit of Mickey; the hardened criminal is humanized by his daughter; Noel, given a choice between love and hate, follows the dictates of his conscience. Choice of Arms speaks softly but convincingly about things that matter.