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The Rules of the Game (1939)

La règle du jeu (original title)
Not Rated | | 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.



(scenario & dialogue), (collaborator) (as Koch)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
Mila Parély ...
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 ...
Pierre Magnier ...
Eddy Debray ...
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


Not Rated | 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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Voted as the 4th greatest film of all time in Sight & Sound's 2012 critic's poll. See more »


When the hunting party starts, the animals (notably the rabbits) barely move. Even when the beaters are close to them, they move at the last moment. This because the animals were not wild as the plot required, but actually bred in captivity and hence used to human presence. For information, the killing is real: many animals died during the movie. See more »


Marceau, le braconnier: A laughing woman is disarmed, you can do what you like.
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Referenced in Day for Night (1973) See more »


Un coup de soleil
Composed by Léopold Gangloff (1891)
Lyrics written Jules Baldran (as J. Baldran)
Musical Arrangement by Roger Desormière
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User Reviews

One of the All-Time Classics
14 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

I'm sure that pretty much anyone who decides to watch this film will be aware of it's status among many critics as one of the greatest films ever made. It may not be exactly that, but it is still a very good movie.

The basic story involves a group of wealthy French aristocrats getting together for a weekend's hunting party at a country chateau just before the start of World War 2. However it's not long before the guests, their hosts and the servants are involved in some complex romantic problems.

The film is beautifully made. Every shot is perfectly well composed and filmed. The film's director, Jean Renoir, was the son of the famous Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir, and Jean Renoir certainly had a good painter's eye himself.

The film depicts a world of casual cruelty and betrayal hidden behind it's polite and civilised facade. Everyone has to play by the iron-bound social rules ("the rules of the game") and those who don't, suffer for it.

Cynical, but often very amusing, this film provoked riots when it premiered in France in a severely shortened form. It exists in various different lengths. The version I saw was a restored 110 minute version on DVD.

This is a film that will not be to all tastes, but it is required viewing for all fans of French cinema or for anyone interested in the history of world cinema.

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