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The Red Shoes (1948)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  6 September 1948 (UK)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 18,940 users  
Reviews: 133 user | 129 critic

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.


(fairy tale), (original screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marius Goring ...
Jean Short ...
Gordon Littmann ...
Julia Lang ...
A Balletomane
Bill Shine ...
Her Mate
Léonide Massine ...
Ljubov (as Leonide Massine)
Anton Walbrook ...
Austin Trevor ...
Prof. Palmer
Eric Berry ...
Irene Browne ...
Lady Neston
Irina Boronskaja (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Jerry Verno ...
Stage-Door Keeper
Ivan Boleslawsky


Under the authoritarian rule of charismatic ballet impressario Boris Lermontov, his proteges realize the full promise of their talents, but at a price: utter devotion to their art and complete loyalty to Lermontov himself. Under his near-obsessive guidance, young ballerina Victoria Page is poised for superstardom, but earns Lermontov's scorn when she falls in love with Julian Craster, composer of "The Red Shoes," the ballet Lermontov is staging to showcase her talents. Vicky leaves the company and marries Craster, but still finds herself torn between Lermontov's demands and those of her heart. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Between her art ... and her dreams ... was her heart See more »


Drama | Music | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

6 September 1948 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Las zapatillas rojas  »

Box Office


£500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The 15-minute (approximately) "Ballet of the Red Shoes" used a corps de ballet of 53 dancers. See more »


As Julian Craster walks to the theater, he is seen through an archway when a horse drawn cart passes. Stepping into the street he slips on what appears to be a fruit but doesn't fall, recovers and continues walking. See more »


[first lines]
[holding doors closed]
Doorman: They're going mad, sir. It's the students.
[From outside]
Julian Craster: Down with tyrants!
Manager, Covent Garden: All right, let them in.
See more »


Featured in The Screen Writer (1950) See more »


Music by Adolphe Adam
Arranged by Gordon Jacob
Played by rehearsal pianist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A true masterpiece
25 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A great film speaks to each of us in a different way. To me this more than a colourful piece of escapist entertainment, this was a glimpse into a world of magnificent color, sumptious settings, French Haute Couture, the theatre, music, luxury hotels, elegant opera houses, chaffeured Rolls Royce cars, travel to the South of France - in short, everything that a child in the near bankrupt England in 1948 had never seen and could barely imagine.

I was fascinated not only by the glimpse of an elitist life, but of the time capsule which the film presented of a time and place that no longer exists as it was at that time. The views of London in 1948, are similar to watching "World War II in Color" on the history channel. When the ballet company travelled, they took the train. Rationing may still have existed back then, and travellers could not take money out of the country, except for a ridiculously inadequate amount; therefore, if you went abroad you had to know someone with whom you could stay. I also found myself wondering how they got the money to make a technicolour film in 1947, when they began filming.

Part of the film takes place in Monte Carlo, only 20 years after the heyday of the famous Ballet Russe. In fact the ballet company in the film is quite obviously based on the Diaghilev Company. Former member Leonid Massine has a major part in the film, and Marie Rambert has a cameo role.

This is also a ballet film for those who do not really care for ballet. The plot is simple - rising young ballerina falls in love with rising young composer and must choose between him and a career possessively controlled by the impressario - and acts as a frame for the ballet. The film is as near perfection as it is possible to get, and watching it in 2004, it does not seem to have dated at all. Everyone, especially Anton Walbrook, is perfectly cast. The script is witty and occasionally humorous. The technicolour photography is superb, especially capturing Moira Shearer's flaming red hair.

The audio commentary on the DVD adds immensely to the enjoyment of the film, which is one that can be watched over and over. o understand how great this film really is, try watching Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" travesty afterwards.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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