Up 53,795 this week

The Balcony (1963)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.0/10 from 286 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

Shelley Winters is the madame of a house where customers play out their erotic fantasies, oblivious to a revolution which is sweeping the country. When her old friend, the chief of police (... See full summary »



0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

Related News

Joe Melia obituary
| The Guardian - Film News
Joe Melia obituary
| The Guardian - TV News
Peter Falk obituary
| The Guardian - Film News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 6559 titles
created 27 Oct 2011
a list of 7798 titles
created 20 Oct 2012
a list of 1074 titles
created 18 Jun 2013
a list of 63 titles
created 16 Jan 2014
a list of 201 titles
created 28 Feb 2014

Related Items

Search for "The Balcony" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Balcony (1963)

The Balcony (1963) on IMDb 6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Balcony.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Road Movie (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Gil and Hank are two independent truckers who run into problems when they are forced to pay off traffic managers to get loads. They also have to pay off highway cops when their rigs are ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Strick
Stars: Robert Drivas, Regina Baff, Barry Bostwick
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Stephen Dedalus is a young man growing up in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. His search for knowledge and undestanding, and the decline of his family's circumstances, lead ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Strick
Stars: Bosco Hogan, T.P. McKenna, John Gielgud
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Francis the talking mule gets his owner in and out of trouble while he is taking basic training at West Point.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Donald O'Connor, Lori Nelson, Alice Kelley
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The film depicts the adventures of expatriate American writer Henry Miller and his friends, as they pursue art, money, food, and sex in Paris.

Director: Joseph Strick
Stars: Rip Torn, James T. Callahan, Ellen Burstyn
Hack Job (Video 2011)
Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

An anthology film with three stories, all taking place in the same small town.

Director: James Balsamo
Stars: James Balsamo, Michael Shershenovich, Dave Brockie
Never Forget (TV Movie 1991)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A dramatization of a holocaust survivor who confronted a holocaust denial organization's lies in court.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Leonard Nimoy, Dabney Coleman, Blythe Danner
Ulysses (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Dublin; June 16, 1904. Stephen Dedalus, who fancies himself as a poet, embarks on a day of wandering about the city during which he finds friendship and a father figure in Leopold Bloom, a ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Strick
Stars: Milo O'Shea, Barbara Jefford, Maurice Roëves
Vincent (TV Movie 1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A one-man filmed play of Leonard Nimoy's adaptation of "Van Gogh" (1979) by Phillip Stephens.

Director: Leonard Nimoy
Stars: Leonard Nimoy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young music student has a seizure forcing her to undergo brain surgery. She comes out of the surgery unable to count or read and has difficulty adapting to life.

Director: Gerald I. Isenberg
Stars: Leonard Nimoy, Penelope Milford, Christopher Allport
The Alpha Caper (TV Movie 1973)
Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A parole officer forced into retirement gets together three ex-convicts to pull of a $30-million armored car robbery.

Director: Robert Michael Lewis
Stars: Henry Fonda, Leonard Nimoy, James McEachin
Assault on the Wayne (TV Movie 1971)
Thriller | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During the Cold War enemy agents posing as US Navy crew sabotage a USN nuclear submarine and steal its anti-ballistic missile guidance system.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Lloyd Haynes, Dewey Martin
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Pilot for a proposed television anthology series with stories about love, either dramatic or comedic. In this pilot there were three different segments: in the first, a computer falls in ... See full summary »

Directors: John Badham, Arnold Laven
Stars: Rex Harrison, Bill Bixby, Lloyd Bochner


Complete credited cast:
Madame Irma
Police Chief
Peter Brocco ...
Arnette Jens ...
Kent Smith ...


Shelley Winters is the madame of a house where customers play out their erotic fantasies, oblivious to a revolution which is sweeping the country. When her old friend, the chief of police (Peter Falk), asks her to impersonate the missing queen in order to reassure the people and halt the revolution, she offers instead three of her customers to play the general, bishop and chief justice, all of whom have died in the revolution. Written by bajac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

4 December 1963 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Balkonen  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


Although initially refused a UK cinema certificate by censor John Trevelyan the film was passed uncut after successful showings by local council authorities. See more »


The Soldier's Tale
Composed by Igor Stravinsky
Conducted by Robert Craft
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Fascinating Allegory About Power; Thoughtful, Funny and Unrelenting
2 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Failed minds, postmodernists who recognize no means of defining the categories of reality, and recognize no hard-and-fast universe of what is real and what is not are "impractical" at achieving any sort of results; how could anyone unable to define what a film is confront an allegorical work of art? How, I ask could anyone understand a one-to-one correspondence between a 'second level of reference' and a primary one, if one is helpless to comprehend the priorities and internal-dynamic properties of the first? Case in point: the way in which imprecise thinkers try, mentally, to approach Joseph Strick's well-paced filmic version of Jean Genet's "The Balcony". "The Balcony" is a favorite film of mine; not because of its obscurity, and I grant it can be read in several ways at some places; I like it rather because its author tries to deal with the false philosophy of "postmodernism" itself; this is a film used for exposing its utter vacuousness. The way the author, and Ben Maddow in his perceptive screenplay, tried to show why pretension, authority-structures and believers are an endless circle of meaningless human shells was devastatingly simple. The author staged a revolution, in an unnamed urban city. Instead of dealing with specifics, the filmmaker followed his plot line by providing graphic images of what happens during any rebellion or revolt--a categorical expose of rebellions and revolutions as violent exercises of disagreement by dissidents; then he confined the dramatic action for the most part to a brothel; there under the direction of Madame (Shelley Winters) and her assistant (Lee Grant), clients play out their fantasies about power--using women as their paid "victims", co-participants and surrogate result-receivers and perpetrators. The Madam's boy friend, the real Chief of Police, (Peter Falk) then enters and is desperate. The General of the army, the Bishop of the Church and the the chief Justice of the country have all been killed; Madam suggests replacements--her best clients are better than the originals at these roles. He is persuaded. So are they. But once they have been sworn in outside, the rebellion gets real for them too. And they, and the rebel leader and the chief, are all driven back inside, to confront the emptiness of their exercises of power--the fact that only power over the real universe and oneself matter; that any other sort of "power- mongering" is meaningless after all; since pretensions are universal and a pragmatic structure that argues only that, "The Establishment needs to be maintained", its proponents forget that this is as anarchistic a premise as is anarchy--"any rebellion on any terms"--would have been. In the film, there are a few moments that seem like stage moments; but most of the narrative I suggestis fought out on a idea-level far above the average film. As the Madam, Shelley Winters is very capable but seems to play the film on too literal a level here and there; Grant is much slyer and in keeping with the spirit of the work. As the police chief, Falk keeps his difficult role this side of surreality with considerable skill; as his opponent, Leonard Nimoy seems very capable also. As the three power figures, Kent Smith as the General is superb, full-voiced, authoritative and compelling; Jeff Corey makes an arch Bishop, intellectual and devious; and Peter Brocco as the Judge is a well-trained classic actor also, very much capable of delivering judgments. As the women they boss over and are controlled by, Arnette Jens, Joyce Jameson and Ruby Dee are all very good and very intelligent; it is to be regretted all have been denied more work in films and the longer parts they deserved to play. The film's ending is celebrated; as some reviewers have noted, the ending working as well on film as it did in the staged version--you will have to view the film to judge this point for yourself; but the film seems to have been made yesterday, as others have suggested largely because its authors handle ideas about reality on a level of categorical truth, not specifics. George Folsey is credited with the cinematography, which is quite varied and difficult; the remainder of the credits are those of the original stage production used here in a translated fashion. The use of the characters within the brothel to comment upon the actions going on in the outside world needs to be noted; this chorus-like rediscovery, notable in "Pride and Prejudice" for instance, is a genuine reviving of an idea-level often missing from post WWII works. The title "The Balcony" refers to the idea that those not immediately engaged in activities within the "house" are spectators of reality, hence able to comment upon its ongoing progress; this also means they can do so in a sense relative to the world outside their limited mini-universe, being detached observers like those in a theatrical "balcony". I urge everyone interested in powerful drama to give this interesting "stunt" or limited-allegory of the world a try. I am an admirer of its purpose and of its execution.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Interview with Shelley Winters nrobertb
Discuss The Balcony (1963) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: