8.1/10
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The Rules of the Game (1939)

La règle du jeu (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 8 April 1950 (USA)
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) (as Koch)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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
...
Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
...
Octave
Pierre Magnier ...
Le général
Eddy Debray ...
Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay ...
Monsieur de St. Aubin
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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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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
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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

Robert de la Cheyniest: [to Schumacher] I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can't expose my guests to your firearms. It may be wrong of them, but they value their lives.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Peter von Bagh (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Nous avons l'vé l'pied
(uncredited)
Written by Francis Salabert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Closest to Mozartean perfection
31 January 2001 | by (Portland, Maine) – See all my reviews

This is the film I usually think of as my favorite of all time. It is perhaps the closest that cinema has come to the perfection of a Mozart opera. I'm thinking of "Marriage of Figaro" and "Cosi fan Tutte" in particular as the Mozart operas most closely related to Renoir's cinema masterpiece. Like those operas, there is a masterfully proportioned blend of outrageous humor and deep pathos. It is a comedy, but it is a particularly civilized form of comedy that you will not encounter in another film, except maybe in some films of Charlie Chaplin. Above every human situation in the convoluted plot there is the all-pervading sadness for a fading civilization about to be extinguished. The ambiguities of that civilization are perfectly captured in two hours of cinematic heaven. Everything about this film is extraordinary, and I long to see it issued on DVD, and only Criterion will be able to do it justice. I hope they will turn to it soon!


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