IMDb > The Grand Illusion (1937)
La grande illusion
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The Grand Illusion (1937) More at IMDbPro »La grande illusion (original title)

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Overview

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8.2/10   21,926 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Charles Spaak (scenario and dialogue) &
Jean Renoir (scenario and dialogue)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Grand Illusion on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 September 1938 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A Great Drama of Human Emotions
Plot:
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German POW camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A Vision of Reality the Way it Shouldn't Be... See more (113 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jean Gabin ... Le lieutenant Maréchal
Dita Parlo ... Elsa - Farm Woman
Pierre Fresnay ... Le captaine de Boeldieu

Erich von Stroheim ... Le captaine von Rauffenstein (as Eric von Stroheim)
Julien Carette ... Cartier - l'acteur (as Carette)
Georges Péclet ... Le serrurier (as Peclet)
Werner Florian ... Le sergent Arthur
Jean Dasté ... L'instituteur (as Daste)
Sylvain Itkine ... Le lieutenant Demolder (as Itkine)
Gaston Modot ... L'ingénieur (as Modot)

Marcel Dalio ... Le lieutenant Rosenthal (as Dalio)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jacques Becker ... L'officier anglais (uncredited)
Habib Benglia ... Le sénégalais (uncredited)
Pierre Blondy ... Un soldat (uncredited)
Albert Brouett ... Un prisonnier (uncredited)
George Forster ... Maison-Neuve (uncredited)
Georges Fronval ... Le soldat allemand qui tue le capitaine de Boeldieu (uncredited)
Karl Heil ... Un officier de la forteresse (uncredited)
Carl Koch ... L'ordonnance de von Rauffenstein (uncredited)
Little Peters ... La petite fille d'Elsa (uncredited)
Claude Sainval ... Le capitaine Ringis (uncredited)
Michel Salina ... (uncredited)
Claude Vernier ... L'officer prussien (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Renoir 
 
Writing credits
Charles Spaak (scenario and dialogue) &
Jean Renoir (scenario and dialogue)

Produced by
Albert Pinkovitch .... producer (uncredited)
Frank Rollmer .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Joseph Kosma (music)
 
Cinematography by
Christian Matras (photography)
 
Film Editing by
Marthe Huguet (film editor) (as Huguet)
Renée Lichtig (1958 version)
Marguerite Renoir (film editor) (as Margueritte)
 
Production Design by
Eugène Lourié  (as Lourié)
 
Set Decoration by
Eugène Lourié  (as Lourié)
 
Costume Design by
René Decrais (costumes) (as Decrais)
 
Makeup Department
Raffels .... make-up
 
Production Management
Raymond Blondy .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jacques Becker .... assistant director
Robert Rips .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Alexandre Laurié .... props (as Lourié)
Raymond Pillon .... props (as Pillon)
 
Sound Department
Joseph de Bretagne .... sound engineer (as De Bretagne)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean Bourgoin .... assistant cameraman (as Bourgoin)
Ernest Bourreaud .... assistant cameraman (as Bourreaud)
Claude Renoir .... assistant cameraman
Sam Levin .... set photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Suzy Berton .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Emile Vuillermoz .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Barnathan .... location manager
Pierre Blondy .... general manager
Françoise Giroud .... script girl (as Gourdji)
Carl Koch .... technical consultant
Robert Rips .... set manager
Herman G. Weinberg .... subtitler: English (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La grande illusion" - France (original title)
"Grand Illusion" - Australia (video box title), USA
See more »
Runtime:
114 min | 94 min (1937 release) | Germany:107 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Finland:K-8 (1959) | Finland:(Banned) (1942) | Finland:K-16 (1937) | Germany:12 (f) (1948) | Germany:(Banned) (1937-1945) | Italy:T (re-rating) (1947) | Italy:(Banned) (original rating) (1938-1947) | Malaysia:U | Netherlands:14 (re-rating) (1958) | Netherlands:14 (re-rating) (1947) | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1937) | Norway:12 (1959) | Norway:16 (1937) | Portugal:M/6 | South Korea:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) (cut) | UK:U (video rating) | USA:Unrated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The first foreign language film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (French).See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: As the WWI German soldiers are celebrating a French fort's capture, the map on the wall of the officers club is clearly an inter-war (1919-1938) map of Germany.See more »
Quotes:
Lieutenant Maréchal:So you're digging a hole like Monte Christo. What a laugh.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Si tu veux margueriteSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
30 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
A Vision of Reality the Way it Shouldn't Be..., 20 August 1999
Author: Donald J. Lamb from Philadelphia, PA

It is a wonder to see a film from the 1930's so definite in its view and opinions, yet so touching and revelatory. Jean Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION is a film of great importance, one that improves with each viewing. Having just finished the picture again for the first time in some 7 years, I was struck by its freshness. It is an Anti-War film set during World War I that is something to watch. It demands intense viewing.

This is a French work of art by the great Renoir, who would make his most acclaimed film, RULES OF THE GAME, two years later. If you ask me, GRAND ILLUSION is the superior pic and holds up immeasurably better. The small doses of humor and original characters in this film foresee the classic "shooting party" of RULES OF THE GAME. With this movie, Renoir uses prisoners-of-war and the ludicrous element of war so prevalent in early 20th Century Europe and merges them into a film not unlike a play (an extremely well-written play). The viewer has no illusions as to whether or not a war is happening. We happen not to see any battles or gunplay, rather, the human element between men and women who are not so different no matter their ethnicity.

Renoir's camera is an incredible tool used throughout. He probes the characters at the various prison camps with some smooth dolly shots and brilliant use of focus and pull-backs. It seems like an extension of his hand, much like his father's paintings. One striking scene has some weary soldiers singing the French "Las Marseilles" after getting third hand knowledge of a French victory over their German captors. Any scene with Erich von Stroheim is interesting because he is human and not some mindless German dictator so many people would come to know at the time of the film's release. He is a broken man, scarred by war and looking to gain a friend in the enemy. This is rare.

As far as prison camp films go, these guys seem to have it easy, however the fact that they are officers gives us some explanation. The story-line effectively moves from escape attempts to human realization of the situation they are in. Parts of it reminded me of STALAG 17, Billy Wilder's 1953 classic no doubt inspired by GRAND ILLUSION. This is Wilder's film without the Hollywood touch, realist and sometimes drab. Abel Gance's J'ACCUSE would follow a year later. If you want to see some anti-WWI films with two completely opposite methods of warning beneath the surface, see these two flicks back to back.

The illusion of reality is shattered by war, Renoir is telling us. If only it could be as simple as those amazing shots of the countryside from inside the German woman's house: a breathtaking, simple look at a peaceful scene the way it should be.

RATING: ***1/2

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