The Rules of the Game (1939)
"La règle du jeu" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  8 April 1950 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 19,461 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 98 critic

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.



(scenario & dialogue), (collaborator) (as Koch)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

2 wins. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
L'Atalante (1934)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo
Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Michel Simon
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Sunrise (1927)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
L'Avventura (1960)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.

Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien


Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
Lisette, sa camériste
Mila Parély ...
Geneviève de Marras
Odette Talazac ...
Madame Charlotte de la Plante
Claire Gérard ...
Madame de la Bruyère
Anne Mayen ...
Jackie, nièce de Christine
Lise Elina ...
Radio-Reporter (as Lise Élina)
Marceau, le braconnier (as Carette)
Roland Toutain ...
André Jurieux
Gaston Modot ...
Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
Pierre Magnier ...
Le général
Eddy Debray ...
Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay ...
Monsieur de St. Aubin


Aviator André Jurieux has just completed a record-setting flight, but when he is greeted by an admiring crowd, all he can say to them is how miserable he is that the woman he loves did not come to meet him. He is in love with Christine, the wife of aristocrat Robert de la Cheyniest. Robert himself is involved in an affair with Geneviève de Marras, but he is trying to break it off. Meanwhile, André seeks help from his old friend Octave, who gets André an invitation to the country home where Robert and Christine are hosting a large hunting party. As the guests arrive for the party, their cordial greetings hide their real feelings, along with their secrets - and even some of the servants are involved in tangled relationships. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One of the two or three greatest films ever made in France.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rules of the Game  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FRF 5,500,500 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was chosen by Premiere magazine as one of the "100 Movies That Shook the World" in the October 1998 issue. The list ranked the most "daring movies ever made." See more »


When the party first arrives at the château, a boom shadow falls on the back of the head of the old white haired guy standing there. See more »


Octave: The awful thing about life is this: Everybody has their reasons.
See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


En revenant d'la revue
Written by Louis Desormes, Lucien Delormel et Léon Garnier
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I love you. He loves you. She loves you. They want you. I want you. He wants her. She wants him. They want dead rabbits.
7 July 2008 | by (Orlando, Florida) – See all my reviews

Not all cake that looks good from the outside is good as its dancing down your throat. From a distance, The Rules of the Game looks visually stunning; but inside the package lies a broken story full of jumbled story lines, weak dialogue, shallow decisions, bizarre actions, characters that come out of nowhere, and character that literally disappear from the flick. The director has a good eye for shots, but the story needed oh so much help. Yes, I am fully aware that it's important in the history of film. But, an example I've used before; Faceball 2000 is the first first-person shooter game in console history. Does it make the game any good being a contributor? Of course not, but we are aware of its existence and bookmark in history. The Rules of the Game is a benchmark, much like how the French Revolution is a bookmark, one some would rather not talk about. However, I've already started babbling about the flick, might as well finish---something I was wishing the film could do.

He loves her. She loves him. He doesn't love her. She does love him but not that much. She wishes he could love her. He is a nice guy that secretly loves her. She is an idiot that loves someone else. Rabbits are hunted. This is more or less the plot of the movie. Yes, there are plenty of underlying details and plenty of themes explored, but it doesn't make up for the ridiculousness of the plot line involving several rich socialites and the web of love they are weaving (that escalates and involves more people during the climax at a dinner). The web isn't the annoying part; it's the ability to change your mind many times as the movie progresses as to whom you are attracted to, and just how much you are attracted to them. It strips away from the realism of the movie, and strips away at the credibility of the writing staff. Film historians love to point out that the movie is old and one mustn't watch the movie with a modern-day eye. My rebuttal is to watch some classic Charlie Chaplin, whose work came out mostly before this, and then see a good story with good themes.

The director knows how to craft a good shot and move the camera in a motion that involves the audience and makes them a member of the socialite clan. However, this is contradicted with the stupid-looking fights, the constant fainting, and one of the more disgusting scenes in cinema history: the extended sequence of rabbits getting shot. What on earth is going on when a movie is praised for its camera-work as it spends five minutes showing animals getting shot at? First off, the movie is long enough as it is, second off it doesn't contribute much to the plot, third off its just disgusting altogether. The director doesn't deserve to have his name mentioned in this paragraph for that sequence alone.

Might as well mention him in this paragraph. Eh, not yet. The acting of the movie is a mixed bag, too bad the dialogue doesn't help them much. Their true acting chops can be revealed towards the end, as each of the main characters is emotionally stripped and you see each of their flaws and anxieties towards the end. Too bad the ending comes out of nowhere, and really doesn't close out the story. After 100-plus minutes of bickering and dialogue-heavy conversations that really doesn't reveal anything other than love and lust, one would hope for an ending that can tie all loose ends. Not here.

What is it with the forgiveness of flaws in older movies? The theme of love here is butchered to a point of embarrassment. Just like Romeo and Juliet, the way love is presented here is all wrong. This isn't love; this is a lot of lust lusting about through the entire picture. Morality is shot in the foot and at the face as we see constant cheating, on-camera, and off-camera through verbal clues. From the beginning as the pilot curses the heavens and the woman he is "in love with," to the end as the backstabbing reaches a maximum level, this predates MTV's Real World. The difference is: this movie is considered a masterpiece. Why?

Bottom Line: Studying film becomes tough sometimes simply because of the requirement to appreciate and fall in love with several crucial movies of the early 20th century. Another trashy movie like this makes me almost want to switch majors, or change my title to "Modern-Day Film Critic." If this title doesn't exist, I shall be the first to achieve this because despite the camera-work, there isn't much positive to say about this movie. The story is a mess, the characters aren't that likable, there is very little comedy, there is very little entertainment value, and the tastelessness of it all just hampers the experience even more. Unless you want to cue this movie or copy the way the camera captures all that is going on, there is no reason whatsoever to watch this French mess. Bah, forget the use of decent English words: this movie sucks. There. Take my film degree if I am required to like it. Take it.

P.S. The director's name is Jean Renoir.

16 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Hunting scenes Dario_Uruguay
Is this film overrated? MovieMan0283
Who broke the rules and what was the game? thatweirdguy_44
100 Essential Films monkeeking
Who would rate this a 1 ? wmdsforsale
No. 3 Film Of All Time fellowmanuk
Discuss The Rules of the Game (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: