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Irma la Douce (1963)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  5 June 1963 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,060 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 35 critic

In Paris, an ex-cop falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time. Not so easy...


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nestor Patou / Lord X
Lou Jacobi ...
Bruce Yarnell ...
Herschel Bernardi ...
Hope Holiday ...
Joan Shawlee ...
Amazon Annie
Kiki the Cossack
Paul Dubov ...
Police Sergeant
Diki Lerner ...
Herb Jones ...
Casablanca Charlie
Ruth Earl ...
One of the Zebra Twins
Jane Earl ...
One of the Zebra Twins


Naive, by the book French police officer Nester Patou, is transferred to the Red Light district. Upon witnessing what must be a brothel, he calls the station and organizes a raid, transporting all the 'ladies' to the jail. This unfortunately disrupts the well organized system of the police and the Pimps union. Not to mention inadvertently netting his station superior at the brothel. Fired, he goes to a bar to drink, is befriended by Irma, beats up her pimp, and finds he is now Irma's new pimp. Nester's doesn't like the thought of his girl seeing other men, so comes up with a plan. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Come along on the wildest joy-ride of them all... See more »


Comedy | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irma la dulce  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jack Lemmon married actress Felicia Farr in Paris during this 1962 shoot. See more »


When Nestor and Irma first meet, Nestor says he received a medal for performing 'mouth to mouth respiration' on a drowning child. Of course, he means 'mouth to mouth resuscitation'. See more »


Irma La Douce: A painter once lived here. Poor guy, he was starving. Tried everything, even cut his ear off.
Nestor Patou: Van Gogh?
Irma La Douce: No, I think his name was Schwartz.
See more »


References Gunga Din (1939) See more »


Our Language of Love
Music by Marguerite Monnot
Original French lyrics by Alexandre Breffort
English lyrics by Julian More, David Heneker and Monty Norman
Theme song played several times in the background of André Previn score.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Delightful Fairytale
10 April 2009 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In Paris, after six months working with children, the decorated rookie policeman Nestor Patou (Jack Lemmon) is assigned to work in the red light district on the Casanova Street, a place crowded of streetwalkers, pimps and corrupt police officers. The honest Nestor, who is naive and strictly by the book, notes the movement of couples in the Casanova Hotel and befriends the prostitute Irma La Douce (Shirley MacLaine) believing that she is a lady. When he discovers that she is also a streetwalker, he calls the central station for a raid in the hotel. However, among the arrested costumers is the corrupt Chief of Police Lefevre (Herschel Bernardi) that has a scheme with the pimps union. Nestor is fired with a dirty record and has difficulties to find a new job; he goes to the bistro of the versatile and experienced Moustache (Lou Jacobi) to drink, and he starts a conversation with Irma La Douce. However, her bully pimp Hippolyte (Bruce Yarnell) fights against Nestor, but he beats him up. Irma brings Nestor home and he becomes Irma's pimp. However he falls in love for her and he is jealous when she meets a client. He decides to create the wealthy British Lord X to be the only regular client of Irma. But things go wrong when Nestor is jealous of Lord X and decides to end his character.

"Irma la Douce" is a delightful fairytale of the fantastic Billy Wilder, certainly one of the five top-directors of Hollywood ever. Based on a play, this delicious romantic comedy has witty and cynical screenplay and dialogs, supported by the chemistry of the charming and gorgeous Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon, who had worked together three years ago in the masterpiece "The Apartment". Lou Jacobi plays a skilled man in hilarious situations. The lines of Jack Lemmon playing a British lord are very funny. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Irma la Douce"

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