Orpheus (1950)
"Orphée" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Fantasy, Drama, Romance  |  29 November 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 7,050 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 58 critic

Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess). They fall in love. Orphee's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
François Périer ...
The Princess - Death
Marie Déa ...
Henri Crémieux ...
Juliette Gréco ...
Roger Blin ...
The Poet
Edouard Dermithe ...
Paul Amiot ...
René Worms ...
Raymond Faure
Pierre Bertin ...
Le commissaire
Jacques Varennes ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
André Carnège ...
Claude Mauriac


Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess). They fall in love. Orphee's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the Underworld. Although they have become dangerously entangled, the Princess sends Orphee back out of the Underworld, to carry on his life with Eurydice. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poet | underworld | radio | mirror | death | See All (35) »


Fantasy | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Orpheus  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Orphee's obsession with deciphering hidden messages contained in random radio noise is a direct nod to the coded messages that the BBC concealed in their wartime transmissions for the French Resistance. See more »


Heurtebise: I am letting you into the secret of all secrets, mirrors are gates through which death comes and goes. Moreover if you see your whole life in a mirror you will see death at work as you see bees behind the glass in a hive.
See more »


References The Blood of a Poet (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

Surreal and Poetic
20 September 2004 | by (Scotland) – See all my reviews

This film is an updating of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The film updates the action to post-war France, with Orpheus (played by Jean Marais) a famous but dis-satisfied poet.

The film focuses on the themes of love and death. Most notably Orpheus falling in love with a glamorous incarnation of Death (Maria Casares).

Writer-director Jean Cocteau turns the everyday world into a magical realm. Mirrors turn to pools which are portals to other worlds, car radios pick up coded messages from Death's World. In less talented hands than Cocteau's, the delicate fantasy could have easily become ridiculous but he handles it with brilliance and the film works perfectly.

Here Cocteau creates a truly poetic film. The story is magical and entertaining and the film is filled with wonderously surreal images (particularly striking is the frequent use of filming an action performed backwards, and then reversing it which creates a very strange impression).

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