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

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  8 April 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 19,183 users  
Reviews: 87 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)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nora Gregor ...
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)
Julien Carette ...
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?


After the success of La Grande Illusion (1937) and La Bête Humaine (1938), Jean Renoir and his nephew Claude helped set up their own production company, Les Nouvelles Editions Francaises. This was their first production. See more »


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


Robert de la Cheyniest: Excuse me you know you're no fool, you're a poet, a dangerous poet.
See more »


Referenced in Bad Company (1972) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Everyone has their reasons.
19 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jean Renoir said that this was not intended to be a social commentary, and whether he truly intended it to be (he referred to it as, "An exact description of the bourgeoisie of our time.") or not, it is hard to dismiss that it hit close to home. So offended were the masses that the picture was banned. It is said that behind every joke there is truth, and whether this was intended to be a joke or not, Renoir still found truth. One could argue the director's intentions all day, but one matter that cannot be disputed is that this film is extraordinary! As a handful of French men and women converge on a château for a hunting expedition, their love affairs clash with their obligations to society's game. For instance, one cannot leave one's lover to be with another until he has confessed his adultery to her. Attempts to leave with another man's wife are particularly difficult, as well, unless the other man has a mistress of his own. These are but a few rules of the game. The old are for the old, the young are for the young. Members of one social order are forbidden to see members from another, and so on. Combine these rules with a tangled web of countless love affairs between a handful of people, and you can see the madness that erupts during the course of this movie. The parts are all played well, but it is the writing and directing of Renoir that makes the film the masterpiece that it is. Keeping all of these sordid affairs in order is an achievement in its own right, but Renoir moves his pieces all over the board like a skilled chess player, achieving his goal while never forgetting the rules of the game!

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