À Nous la Liberté (1931)
"À nous la liberté" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  31 December 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,966 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 41 critic

A famous left-wing satirical comedy about two ex-convicts, one of whom escaped jail and then worked his way up from salesman to factory owner, where he oversees a highly mechanized ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Henri Marchand ...
Rolla France ...
Paul Ollivier ...
L'oncle (as Paul Olivier)
Jacques Shelly ...
André Michaud ...
Le contremaitre
Germaine Aussey ...
Maud - la femme de Louis
Léon Lorin ...
Le vieux monsieur sourd
William Burke ...
L'ancien détenu
Vincent Hyspa ...
Le vieil orateur


A famous left-wing satirical comedy about two ex-convicts, one of whom escaped jail and then worked his way up from salesman to factory owner, where he oversees a highly mechanized operation where the workers are reduced to mere automatons. Fearful of being exposed over his past, at first by his friend and later by another gangster, the owner chooses to give his factory to the workers, then escapes with his friend to the freedom of the open road. The production company for "A Nous la Liberte" was for more than a decade embroiled in a lawsuit claiming that Charles Chaplin had seen their film and plagiarized many ideas from it as he developed "Modern Times." Written by footsperry

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Le chef-d'oeuvre de René Clair


Comedy | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

À Nous la Liberté  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Charles Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) premiered, the original distribution company of À nous la liberté, Tobis, wanted to sue. Director René Clair refused to join such a suit, saying that he considered it a compliment if Charles Chaplin based his film on René Clair's, but the suit went ahead nevertheless. Tobis, sued United Artists and Charles Chaplin for plagiarism. The suit, with separate segments in France and in the US, went on for more than a decade, right through WWII. Charles Chaplin, at the request of his lawyers, finally settled, but never admitted to the charge. René Clair stayed aloof from the affair, and he and Charles Chaplin, whom he greatly admired, remained friends. See more »


[first lines]
[Voice over Singer]: Liberty is the happy man's due / He enjoys love and skies of blue / But then there are some / Who no worse crimes have done / It's the sad story we tell / From a prison cell
See more »


Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Fails on Many Levels
26 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In René Clair's "A Nous la Liberté," Henri Marchand and Raymond Cordy are woefully miscast as two ex-convicts. I had high hopes for this picture, but ultimately the humor fails to produce laughs and the satire is misguided and disconnected from the truth.

The tone of the movie is sharply uneven and that's likely due to the fact that the movie had no shooting script and the actors were forced to improvise. This ultimately leads to the fragile and disjointed structure. I have no idea why René Clair trusted these actors to build the foundation for his movie - they simply do not have the screen presence or charisma to carry a film. On that basis alone, the movie is not effective and thus I cannot recommend it.

With that said, the score provided by Georges Auric is one of the positive aspects of this movie, as it attempts to match the movements of the assembly line. It almost makes up for the lack of chemistry between Marchand and Cordy.

René Clair shows glimpses of promise and with better actors he might have pulled this off, but his lack of vision is accentuated by the lack of truth in the messages he attempts to portray.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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