MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,363 this week

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

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  8 April 1950 (USA)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 17,176 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 92 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.

Director:

Writers:

(scenario & dialogue), (collaborator)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 37 titles
created 02 Aug 2012
 
a list of 32 titles
created 05 Dec 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 28 Jul 2013
 
a list of 26 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Rules of the Game (1939)

The Rules of the Game (1939) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Rules of the Game.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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 POW 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
Tokyo Story (1953)
Drama
    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
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet
L'Atalante (1934)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When Juliette marries Jean, she comes to live with him as he captains a river barge. Besides the two of them, are a cabin boy and the strange old second mate Pere Jules. Soon bored by life ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Vigo
Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Michel Simon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

This tale centers around the love between Baptiste, a theater mime, and Claire Reine, an actress and otherwise woman-about-town who calls herself Garance. Garance, in turn, is loved by ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
Sunrise (1927)
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
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Ugetsu (1953)
Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka
L'Avventura (1960)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nora Gregor ...
Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
Paulette Dubost ...
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)
...
Julien Carette ...
Marceau, le braconnier (as Carette)
Roland Toutain ...
André Jurieux
Gaston Modot ...
Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
...
Octave
Pierre Magnier ...
Le général
Eddy Debray ...
Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay ...
Monsieur de St. Aubin
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

servant | party | love | flight | secret | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Rules of the Game  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 5,500,500 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite now being considered by historians to be one of the best films ever made, the picture almost became a lost art. Claiming that it was bad for the morale of the country (due to impending war), the French government banned the film about a month after its original release. When Germany took over France the following year, it was banned by the Nazi party as well, who also burnt many of the prints. Allied planes then accidentally destroyed the original negatives. It was thought to be a lost picture. In 1956, some followers of director Jean Renoir found enough pieces of the film scattered throughout France to reconstitute it with Renoir's help. Renoir claimed only one minor scene from the original cut was missing. See more »

Goofs

When you first see Christine and Lissette, there is a man visible in Christine's dressing-table mirror. See more »

Quotes

Geneviève de Marras: Love, as it exists in society, is merely the mingling of two whims and the contact of two skins.
See more »


Soundtracks

Dreizehn deutsche Tänze, K. 605, No. 1
(1791) (uncredited)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conducted by Roger Desormière
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

historically essential but not entirely satisfying
8 August 2005 | by (Astoria, NY) – See all my reviews

At the risk of seeming heretical, I have to confess that having finally seen this film (at the American Museum of the Moving Image in NY), I found it disappointing to some degree.

I can appreciate the provocative candor with which Renoir has created this satire/indictment of a society which has lost its moorings. I think I'm capable of seeing what he was trying to do, and respect the goals he seems to be aiming for. I can also appreciate much of the acting (Nora Gregor seems especially luminous), the dramatic/narrative organization, the witty structural recurrences of things like the old man's "they're a dying race" lines and indeed the overall enormity of Renoir's ambitions. I like what he set out to do, and in most ways I was "on his side" as I watched the film.

And yet -- I find that it doesn't quite all add up for me. Most surprisingly the film seems to be without a very distinct visual style style beyond its overall professionalism. By 1939, the work of Hitchcock, Murnau, Lang, Flaherty, Lubitsch, Eisenstein, Whale, and others had already rampantly shown the potentials of visual style and expressive composition even in the talkie era. Renoir himself had already achieved a masterful job of subtextual visual strategy and meaningful compositions a few years earlier in his powerful GRAND ILLUSION. But that visual confidence is no way in evidence here. Is it because of how many different cinematographers there were?

I'm sure some will point out this or that scene and all the interesting objects within it, a certain fluidity of camera-work, intelligent use of depth-of-focus, interesting overhead shots in the hallway as people headed off to bed at the château, or some of the shots in the kitchen, the hunt or even the almost surreal party .

I will grant you that there is there are some fairly impressive shots now and then, with perhaps the opening scene of the reporter on the runway the most "showy." But after one viewing I have yet to be convinced that there is any distinctive visual personality to the picture. Professionalism, yes. The occasional interesting shot, yes. But the visual creativity or a bravura sense of cinematic identity from the director? I thought not.

But the underlying ideas are what is most important in RULES OF THE GAME, and I give Renoir plenty of credit for successfully exploring them in such a complex way. There are a lot of characters, and we have a strong sense of who they all are once up at the château (contrast this with GOSFORD PARK, where there are a couple of random young men among the upper class whose identities are still a bit obscure when the film is over).

Renoir seems to be balancing on a difficult tightrope of effectively telling a complex story with characters who are not truly meant to be "real" but rather to some degree caricatures in a larger satirical whole. This is perhaps the greatest ambition of the film, and while I'm not convinced it really works, I'm impressed with the diligent thoroughness of how he has attempted to construct it. Much has been said and written about how the public turned against the film when it was released, but I wonder if the real culprit was that the film seems a bit unmoored from any specific context from which an audience could approach it. It has numerous elements of farce, but it is not a farce. It has very witty lines and eventually an overabundance of buffoonery and implausible behavior (from nearly everyone concerned by the last reel or two), and yet it is not a comedy. During the hunt it juxtaposes shots of servants and gentry with rabbits and pheasants, and you understand the irony intended, but that scene, for example, seems a bit meandering in execution. Is it a fable? Not really that either. I'll admit that a work of art need not comfortably fit into any category, yet one still feels a bit bewildered by what Renoir expects you to make of this narrative, or how he expects you to process the characters.

For while certain things work beautifully and other things seem contrived, I often felt caught in a structure where Renoir was deceiving me into trying to relate to the characters as real people (and many of the fine performances help that tremendously), only to pull out the rug and say, in essence, "haha! I have a satirical agenda here which requires that the integrity of these characters is expendable." Yes, one could say that it is the paradox of that rug-pulling which represents the genius of the film. No one is immune to the absurdity at the heart of this script. But ultimately, I suspect that I either want the characters to seem genuine, OR I want the satire or farce to be the point. In this film, neither is exactly true.

I would see this film again, because I agree with others posting here that there is enough in it to warrant additional viewings. It is undeniably an essential landmark in the history of cinema. But I would also agree with those who say it is overrated. For me it lacks the honesty AND the visual distinction of GRAND ILLUSION, and also, despite its ambitions, lacks the basic humanity at the core of something like Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT. Admittedly this film came first, but when you have a director with the visual pedigree, philosophically and genetically, of Jean Renoir, I expect a more satisfying sense of the auteur as filmmaker, not merely as writer and actor. Where this picture is concerned, Renoir succeeded best as a thinker, and secondly as its writer and as a director of actors. In terms of control of its visual sense and aesthetic as cinema, I'm not sure he did quite as effective a job as he might have.


67 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?