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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 18,668 users  
Reviews: 133 user | 127 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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dance she did, and dance she must - between her two loves 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?


Art director Hein Heckroth was a painter who had never worked as the art director on a film before. He had designed the costumes for previous Archers productions like Black Narcissus (1947). He created a 15-minute "animatic" (filmed storyboard) reel to convey the type of mood and feel his sets would give, which acted as an ideal guide for cinematographer Jack Cardiff. See more »


When Vicky begins to dance with the "newspaper" character, only the words "Le Journal" are typed across his face. Partway through the dance his face is covered with newsprint. 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 »


Referenced in The Black Boots (1995) See more »


Sung by Margherita Grandi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Very Creative Movie About Creative Artists At Work
26 May 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The resourceful approach that characterizes so many of the Michael Powell/ Emeric Pressburger collaborations makes "The Red Shoes" one of the most creative and interesting of any of the "back stage" movies that show the lives and dreams of creative artists at work. The characters are quite interesting in themselves, and the story brings out some worthwhile aspects of each of their natures while giving a realistic and often fascinating look at their world.

By no means do you have to be a ballet fan to appreciate and enjoy the story or the settings. While fully convincing in themselves, they are also set up so that the most important aspects and conflicts of the plot could easily be applied to those working in other creative fields as well.

Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring make a nicely balanced and intriguing trio of main characters. The opening scenes work very well in bringing them together while being enjoyable to watch in themselves. From there, the creative tensions are built up steadily as the story itself becomes even more interesting. The script makes use of the best conventions of its genre, while never allowing itself to become formulaic.

There is also a good deal of creativity in many of the individual sequences. The opening scene at the opera is particularly clever in playing off of a viewer's initial expectations. The most spectacular sequence is the "red shoes" ballet segment itself, a very imaginative and enjoyable mini-movie that also parallels some of the main story's most interesting ideas. All in all, "The Red Shoes" well deserves its reputation as a distinctive classic.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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