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Diabolique (1955)
"Les diaboliques" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  21 November 1955 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 37,769 users  
Reviews: 147 user | 104 critic

The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.


(as H.G. Clouzot)


(novel) (as Boileau) , (novel) (as Narcejac) , 4 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christina Delassalle (as Vera Clouzot)
Paul Meurisse ...
Alfred Fichet, le commissaire
Plantiveau, le concierge
Thérèse Dorny ...
Mme. Herboux
Michel Serrault ...
M. Raymond, le surveillant
Georges Chamarat ...
Dr. Loisy
Robert Dalban ...
Le garagiste
Camille Guérini ...
Le photographe (as Camille Guerini)
Jacques Hilling ...
L'employé de la morgue
Le soldat
Aminda Montserrat ...
Madame Plantiveau
Jean Témerson ...
Le garçon d'hôtel (as Jean Temerson)
Jacques Varennes ...
M. Bridoux, professeur


The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school's filthy swimming pool... but when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared - and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his 'killers' (and the audience) up the wall with almost unbearable suspense... Written by Michael Brooke <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


See it, be amazed at it, but... BE QUIET ABOUT IT! (original Finnish poster tagline) See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 November 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diabolique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Two women drive from the outskirts of Paris to Niort, the birthplace of director Henri-Georges Clouzot. See more »


When Christina drugs Michael on the bed she takes his shoes off, but when she and Nicole carry Michael to the bathtub his shoes are back on. See more »


[first lines]
Plantiveau, le concierge: Headmaster!
Michel Delassalle: Yes.
Plantiveau, le concierge: Isn't it time I rang the bell?
Michel Delassalle: It's okay. I'll unload the car myself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie ends with a text screen commenting on what the viewer has witnessed, and a request not to spoil the ending for those who are planning to see the movie. See more »


Referenced in The Tingler (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perhaps the greatest suspense film ever
14 October 2004 | by (North Carolina) – See all my reviews

Another terrific suspense film from Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques (also known as "Diabolique") is a tense story of murder, suspicion and revenge. The plot revolves around two women, Christina (Vera Clouzot) and Nicole (Simone Signoret) who conspire to murder the brutish man who is Christina's husband and Nicole's lover Michel, played by the delightfully sullen Paul Meurisse. He is the principal of a boarding school for boys who relies on Vera's money to support his excesses, and the two women are both teachers at the school.

Vera has her doubts about committing murder, even though Michel is incredibly abusive. But Nicole convinces her to help drug and then drown Michel. All seems to be going well until Michels body goes missing and the two women turn against each other. The situation is complicated further by the appearance of a retired police inspector who is determined to help Vera find her "missing" husband, despite the poor woman's protests. The tension continues to mount until the hair-raising climax.

This movie is on a par with some of Hitchcock's best work, although Clouzot doesn't mix much humor in with the suspense, as Hitch often did. However, Vera's interaction with the droll inspector does provides some chuckles. Unlike his previous film, The Wages Of Fear, Clouzot doesn't spend a whole lot of time on the set-up of the plot, but gets right to the meat of the matter, and from there Diabolique rolls along very quickly with barely a letup in the action.

I can't believe it took me so long to see this masterpiece. Highly recommended.

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Psycho or Les Diaboliques? zaxor99
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