Down 8,276 this week

The Balcony (1963)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.1/10 from 271 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

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 250 titles
created 24 Apr 2011
a list of 7490 titles
created 20 Oct 2012
a list of 1071 titles
created 18 Jun 2013
list image
a list of 760 titles
created 27 Jul 2013
a list of 198 titles
created 6 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Balcony" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Balcony (1963)

The Balcony (1963) on IMDb 6.1/10

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
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young, idealistic man returns home to the plantation where he grew up in servitude. With him, he brings his fiance, Lutiebelle, in hopes of convincing the plantation owner that she is ... See full summary »

Director: Nicholas Webster
Stars: Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Godfrey Cambridge
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 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
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Lady of the Night ~ the story of two baby girls, born near in proximity, but worlds apart in life, - Molly Helmer, the daughter of a thief, and Florence Banning the daughter of the judge ... See full summary »

Director: Monta Bell
Stars: Norma Shearer, Malcolm McGregor, Dale Fuller
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A New York bandleader journeys to Hollywood when he is offered a contract with a studio, but he is determined to do things his way and not theirs.

Director: Victor Schertzinger
Stars: James Cagney, Evelyn Daw, William Frawley
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Will Handy grows up in Memphis with his preacher father and his Aunt Hagar. His father intends for him to use his musical gifts only in church, but he can't stay away from the music of the ... See full summary »

Director: Allen Reisner
Stars: Nat 'King' Cole, Eartha Kitt, Cab Calloway
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Leonard Anderson
Stars: Ann Mae Winburne's International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Billie and Millie, Kenneth Broomes
Go Man Go (1954)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The story of Abe Saperstein and the creation of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Director: James Wong Howe
Stars: Dane Clark, Patricia Breslin, Sidney Poitier
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A black high school senior struggles with becoming a man, and living in a middle class white neighborhood in the late 1950s U.S. In protest of the paternalistic views of the Civil War ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Leacock
Stars: Johnny Nash, Estelle Hemsley, Ruby Dee
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Evan and Tina want to live their lives differently. They go to live on an island. Tina's mother is concerned about her daughter's future. There is smuggling going on on the island.

Director: Pat Jackson
Stars: John Cassavetes, Virginia Maskell, Sidney Poitier
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Joseph Lerner
Stars: Joe Louis, Ruby Dee, Katherine Byars


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

We are all naked under our clothes.
23 September 2004 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

The Balcony is not just an ordinary extension to your house ... in this film it is a place where mortal men go to live out their fantasies. It is a modern day dream castle, where men can escape from the hardships of the real world and act out lives of important people that they may never have the opportunity of becoming. I use the word men for a reason in this review, because the "Balcony" is a brothel. It is a place where men go to fulfill not just their sexual fantasies, but also their dreams. If one wants to become the Bishop; he can go to the "Balcony" and demand that women tell him their sins. If one wants to become the strongest General in the English army with a trusty steed by his side all that he needs to do is go to the "Balcony" and a woman will become his sidekick. There is even a place for men to become Justices of the Supreme Court; carrying out sentences to the women that they hire. Rooted with deep political and sexual undertones, this black comedy digs deep into your soul and your mind. Adapted by the play by Jean Genet, we watch as three men live out their fantasies as their troubled country is rocked right outside the doors by a gang of rebels.

With the revolution happening outside, the business has been tough, but the ladies seem to be surviving. Everyone is happy, until Peter Falk enters the scene. He plays the police chief who is trying to bring the rebels outside to justice. He is also the man who is dating the owner of the brothel played by Shelly Winters. He does not know how to bring the rebels to justice and keep the moral of the people and troops together when the Bishop, General, and Justice have all been murdered. Then he finds his answer in the least of places. He gets the women of the brothel to ask the three men to become stand-ins for the actual leaders of the country. After much persuasion, they say "yes" and begin their voyage outside into the "real world" wearing the masks of their fantasies. At first they succeed, but soon the power reaches even these imposters as they begin to change the rules in their positions. As relations begin to heat up again, a surprise twist shows us that role-play can happen in the most common places.

Director Joseph Strick takes on quite a daunting task with his film adaptation. The Balcony is very racy at times and definitely pushes the envelope, but it is the film's subtle humor that keeps it from becoming all too serious. The wild fantasies played out inside the Balcony are turned into something that can put an end to the violent revolution. While the film is mainly comedic, there are metaphors abound. The brothel itself becomes the main symbol of an unruly, but acceptable, community where morals and standards are nowhere to be found.

The violence outside its doors mirrors the activity in the brothel. It seemingly tells us that without standards anything can happen and be accepted. The brothel may even come out on top, as the madam says, "We don't allow death in here." I felt as I watched it that I was watching a film that had been made this year. The dark themes, the powerful images, and even the switching ending are all issues that Hollywood uses in everyday film today. It is not something that you see in 1963 (when this film was made). I applaud this film for taking chances, and while it isn't the greatest film out there, it should gain respect with the deeply rooted symbolism that it carries. I especially loved the ending. Look to see an interesting 'side' of Nimoy and Falk. This film also explores the issue that we may carry the clothes of power, but without them ... without anything on our backs ... we are just the same as the next man or woman. We are all human.

I also enjoyed the idea of throwing standards to the wayside. That is the major theme of this film. Without standards, you have the violence that happened outside of the "Balcony" ... without standards you have people imagining worlds that do not exist, living lives that they have not earned, and not caring about consequences just people's reaction to themselves. This is obvious when the three unknowns head out onto the city to bring peace, God, and justice to the unknowing people. They do not care that they do not have the training for this power, all they care about being able to feel like they have the power if only for just one moment.

Overall, this film was a scary and interesting when you begin to think about it on a different level than just a comedy. This movie will rank as one of the oddest films I have ever watched in my film career, but one that will remain in my mind forever.

Grade: **** out of *****

11 of 12 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: