The Red Balloon (1956)
"Le ballon rouge" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Family, Fantasy, Short  |  11 March 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 11,550 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 45 critic

A red balloon with a life of its own follows a little boy around the streets of Paris.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Pascal - le petit garçon
Georges Sellier ...
Le marchand
Vladimir Popov ...
Un locataire
Paul Perey
Sabine Lamorisse ...
La petite fille au ballon bleu
Michel Pezin
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Renée Marion ...
La mère de Pascal


A boy makes friends with a seemingly sentient balloon, and it begins to follow him. It follows the boy to school, to the bus, and to church. Boy and balloon play together in the streets of Paris and try to elude a gang of boys that wants to destroy the balloon. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Fantasy | Short


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 March 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Red Balloon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Awards: Best Foreign Film (Mexico, 1958). * Gold Medal (Tokyo, 1958) See more »


Just after the scene where the boy is turned away from boarding the bus, you see him running off with the balloon in his left hand and the satchel in his right however in the next shot it is reversed. See more »


Pascal - le petit garçon: Could you hold my balloon while I'm in school?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Avec le concours: Des Enfants De Ménilmontant et Des Ballons De La Région Parisiénne (Translation: With the assistance of: The Children of Ménilmontant and The Balloons of the Paris region.) See more »


Remade as Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

we were shown this film in school, but did you fear the emotions?
29 August 2005 | by (san francisco bay area) – See all my reviews

Wow, I thought of this film recently and remember it fondly. So, I looked it up on IMDb, hoping that this hadn't been a dream, and that it really existed. I wish I could see this film again today.

A little boy is chosen by a red balloon, which colours his otherwise dreary, grey days. I was shown this film in class in kindergarten (late '70s) and again in grade school, I believe. When I first saw it, it was with a rather existential, perhaps detached, view of it. Not much reaction, really. I didn't quite know what to make of it. Fortunately, I didn't rely on a little gang of pals to tell me what to think about it. I had never seen anything like it. It struck me that it was foreign. I liked that about it. The foreignness intrigued me, also the fact that it was old. It always impressed me how kids wore little grown-up shoes in '50s Europe. The quietness of the little boy, Pascal, also had a profound impact on me. I never understood the need for us kids in the U.S. to constantly yak about endless bull**** in order to feel secure. We never enjoy the silence. This carries on into adulthood. There's meaningless small talk, endless jibber jabber, all in an effort to hide, behind voluminous verbiage, our true sensitive selves from the big bad world. There's an existentialist problem for you. If there are any xenophobic misgivings against "the French," it's because they've long faced the human condition in a way that we as "Americans" are far too infantile as a culture to do; and, at this point, far too stunted with cultural arrested development to ever hope to do so.

I suppose the cruel little boys in the film symbolised the barbaric/insensitive "American" sensibility which I had grown used to. And the story the film conveys through such brilliant, yet simple, symbolism illumines such a range of themes—from xenophobia, alienation, solitude and introspection to friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Simply brilliant. This film probably taught me more than a handful of my first years of schooling combined. By the time I saw this film the second time my eyes were filled with wonder and, toward the end of the film, welled over with tears.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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