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The Red Shoes (1948)

Not Rated | | Drama, Music, Romance | 6 September 1948 (UK)
1:38 | Trailer

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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 »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marius Goring ...
Ivan Boleslawsky
Léonide Massine ...
Ljubov (as Leonide Massine)
Irina Boronskaja (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Jean Short ...
Gordon Littmann ...
Julia Lang ...
A Balletomane
Bill Shine ...
Her Mate
Austin Trevor ...
Prof. Palmer
Eric Berry ...
Lady Neston
Ratov (as Albert Basserman)


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


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?


Much to his surprise, Michael Powell had great difficulty persuading Moira Shearer to be in the film. She held out for a year before giving in to him. Shearer herself, however, did not particularly care for Powell. In later years she described the making of the film as being a terrible ordeal. She said that Powell was distant and aloof and never really gave her much direction; and having to dance for hours on end on concrete floors also physically took its toll on all the dancers, making their legs swell up. See more »


The length of Julian's cigarette changes dramatically (gets longer and then gets much shorter than he could smoke it down to in the short time between shots) while he's playing the piano for Vicky in Lermontov's office. 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 Making of an Englishman (1995) See more »


Swan Lake
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played by an uncredited symphony orhestra
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A superb production, wonderful colour, but above all, superbly directed.

The performances are terrific (with only the odd unusual line delivery, partly due to english being many of the actors' second language, and partly due to the fact that all of the main dancing characters, are not professional actors at all, but dancers - including Moira Shearer, Australia's Robert Helpmann, Leonida Massine and Ludmilla Tcherina - which fact considering, they do marvellous jobs).

The story's passion for ballet and music comes across to the audience, and the story is compelling and fascinating, due to the way it is told. Moira Shearer, in a career-defining role, has a wonderful presence as the young dancer Victoria Page, who becomes a star of the Lermontov Ballet Company, and dances the lead in the ballet The Red Shoes. But Anton Walbrook is truly terrific as Lemontov. One particular moment i was very impressed with was when he begins to write a letter to Victoria, and there is a closeup of his face, and on his face we can read the emotions of his letter in a very subtle way. A marvellous scene. He has a germanic cold stare in this part which really brings it to life - the character of Lemontov is entirely in his eyes.

The score is fantastic, particularly the original ballet of the red shoes itself, composed for the film by Brian Easdale. The film has such a wonderful look partly due to the fact that its production designer was a painter, Hein Heckroth.

But the element which really makes this movie great is how superbly it is directed. With glorious use of colour, it is directed in a smooth, impeccable style in the manner of Renoir - except here each frame poses not as a painting, but as a moment from a ballet.

A wonderful film to watch.

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