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

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Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   21,608 votes »
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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Charles Spaak (scenario and dialogue) &
Jean Renoir (scenario and dialogue)
Contact:
View company contact information for La Grande 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 4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(137 articles)
The Definitive War Movies: 10-1
 (From SoundOnSight. 2 July 2014, 8:30 AM, PDT)

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User Reviews:
"Good company" is harder to make than "good war" 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)
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)
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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


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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:
Goebbels made sure that the film's print was one of the first things seized by the Germans when they occupied France. He referred to Jean Renoir as "Cinematic Public Enemy Number 1". For many years it was assumed that the film had been destroyed in an Allied air raid in 1942. However, a German film archivist named Frank Hansel, then a Nazi officer in Paris, had actually smuggled it back to Berlin. Then when the Russians entered Berlin in 1945, the film found its way to an archive in Moscow. When Jean Renoir came to restore his film in the 1960s, he knew nothing of Hansel's acquisition and was working from an old muddy print. Purely by coincidence at the same time, the Russian archive swapped some material with an archive in Toulouse. Included in that exchange was the original negative print. However, because so many prints of the film existed at the time, it would be another 30 years before anyone realised that the version in Toulouse was actually the original negative.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:
Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
It's a Long, Long Way to TipperarySee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
54 out of 71 people found the following review useful.
"Good company" is harder to make than "good war", 19 May 2000
Author: chromo from san francisco, usa

From Jean Renoir's autobiography, My Life and My Films (1974):

"If a French farmer should find himself dining at the same table as a French financier, those two Frenchmen would have nothing to say to each other, each being unconcerned with the other's interests. But if a French farmer meets a Chinese farmer they will find any amount to talk about. This theme of the bringing together of men through their callings and common interests has haunted me all my life and does so still. It is the theme of 'La Grande Illusion' and it is present, more or less, in all my works."

In a sense, 'La Grande Illusion' is a counterpoint in an argument of stories: in one corner, Jean Renoir & friends singing about humor and good cheer; in the other, a handful of Germans demanding bigotry and murderous pride.

My opinion of the movie is quite high, but I think, from having read that book and a few others, that the real accomplishments in 'Illusion,' artistic and thematic, come directly from Renoir's deep affection of people and our loves.

To live your life with love and humor takes thoughtful delicacy. It's much easier to close your heart, fence yourself in, and never have a true friend in your life: and such closed-hearted people are inevitably the ones who coolly turn the political screws until the world bursts into famine and war.

It was too much to think that 'La Grande Illusion' would prevent the then coming war, as Renoir hoped. But to look at the story again, as a lyrical anti-fascist statement and a call to weigh friendship and good company over nationalism (of any sort), that I think is where the story gets really good.

The modern era continues to give us a real choice. We can kill, without effort, to subdue the stranger. Or we can join the stranger for a meal and a conversation, and become friends. Which of these is the true vision of the world's "leaders"? Cold hearts, cold future.

Something to think about as you watch the movie.

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