16 user 2 critic

This Special Friendship (1964)

Les amitiés particulières (original title)
THIS SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP tells of the tender relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and the upperclassman who is the object of his desire. All set in the rigid atmosphere of a Jesuit run... See full summary »



, (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Set in The Netherlands at the end of WW II, this touching story, told in flashbacks, explores the complex and romantic relationship between an adult soldier and a displaced, lonely adolescent boy.

Director: Roeland Kerbosch
Stars: Maarten Smit, Andrew Kelley, Jeroen Krabbé
The Fire That Burns (TV Movie 1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two boys in their early teens in a strictly-run pre-WWII Catholic School form a firm friendship which is troubled by an abbot who is obsessed with the younger of the students.

Director: Christophe Malavoy
Stars: Christophe Malavoy, Michel Aumont, Naël Marandin
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two precocious boys explore their sexuality at boarding school.

Directors: Ernst Johansen, Lasse Nielsen
Stars: Anders Agensø, Peter Bjerg, Ove Sprogøe
Close to Leo (TV Movie 2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When 21 year-old Leo, the oldest of four brothers, announces to his rural French family that he's HIV+ family bonds are tested. The family decides that 11 year Marcel, the youngest, is too ... See full summary »

Director: Christophe Honoré
Stars: Yaniss Lespert, Pierre Mignard, Marie Bunel
Jet Boy (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A drug dealer finds an unlikely traveling companion in an runaway kid trying to dodge social services.

Director: Dave Schultz
Stars: Branden Nadon, Joe Norman Shaw, Dylan Walsh
The Boys of St. Vincent (TV Movie 1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The true story of boys being sexually abused at their orphanage ran by a religious community in Newfoundland.

Director: John N. Smith
Stars: Henry Czerny, Johnny Morina, Brian Dooley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young boy falls in love with a handsome policeman who is investigating his family's criminal activities.

Director: Auraeus Solito
Stars: Nathan Lopez, Soliman Cruz, J.R. Valentin
Brecha (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A particularly vivid and realistic portrayal of the emotional rupture between a father recently released from jail and his 12 year-old son, following a dark family tragedy that no one has strength enough to confront.

Director: Iván Noel
Stars: Francisco Alfonsin, José Ramón Lafita, Lola Mendoza
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A fatherless boy whose fixation on a mysterious stranger leads him blindly into a tragedy that is to mark him for life.

Director: Iván Noel
Stars: Francisco Alfonsin, Pedro Salido Saborido, Gonzalo Sánchez Salas
Brotherly (2008)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Based on a true story of two brothers in 1970's Ohio. It tells of their abandonment by their alcoholic parents and how the brothers turned to each other for support.

Director: J.C. Oliva
Stars: Kevin Fabian, Malcolm McRae, Mathis Fender
Aclà (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Brutal film about the exploitation of a young Italian boy, who is virtually sold to the operators of a sulphur mine where he is beaten and sexually molested.

Director: Aurelio Grimaldi
Stars: Francesco Cusimano, Tony Sperandeo, Luigi Maria Burruano
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Reine is supposed to go to a summer camp called 'Childrens island' but decides to remain in Stockholm over the summer while his mother is working at a hospital. She thinks he is at the camp... See full summary »

Director: Kay Pollak
Stars: Tomas Fryk, Anita Ekström, Ingvar Hirdwall


Complete credited cast:
Francis Lacombrade ...
Georges de Sarre
Didier Haudepin ...
Alexandre Motier
François Leccia ...
Lucien Rouvière
Dominique Maurin ...
Marc de Blajean
Louis Seigner ...
Le père Lauzon / Father Lauzon
Le père de Trennes / Father Trennes
Lucien Nat ...
Le père supérieur / Father Superior


THIS SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP tells of the tender relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and the upperclassman who is the object of his desire. All set in the rigid atmosphere of a Jesuit run school. Written by Jim Stark

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What Was Their Guilt?



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 September 1964 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Heimliche Freundschaften  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie is based on Roger Peyrefitte's book. Peyrefitte studied in religious schools during his childhood, lived older/younger male to male love with a fan of his book, and outed many homosexual celebrities of his time, including his friend Henry de Montherlant, whose book (later a movie) La Ville Dont le Prince Est un Enfant has some coincidences with Les Amities Particulières. See more »


When Lucien looks at his watch we can see that the time is 6:15 but he reads it as 10:35. See more »


Pange lingua
Written by Thomas Aquinas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Heartrending portrayal of a misunderstood passion

This is the film adaptation of Roger Peyrefitte's novel telling the deeply moving love story of brilliant 16 year-old aristocrat Georges de Sarre and beautiful 12 year-old Alexandre Motier at St. Claude's, a French, Catholic boarding-school in the 1920s. Though chaste, their love is passionately expressed through poems, gazes and the odd kiss, and there is no mistaking the sensuality underpinning it.

Whether consummated or not, for many centuries such intense love affairs between younger and older boys were a feature of boarding-school life that brought joy and relief to some of the more feeling and less hung-up sort of adolescents, as well as grief and catastrophe to the minority whose liaisons were discovered and crushed by the Christian authorities. They were essentially pederastic, satisfying different emotional needs in the younger and older participants, though the disparity in age lent them special intensity for both.

This ancient tradition more or less died a generation or so ago; the boys who would once have partaken or at least have approved of romantic friendships nowadays either never see their appeal, brought up as they are in a society so antagonistic to them, or shun them through terror of being misunderstood and branded as gay. Indeed, the number of reviews of this film implying gayness is proof they are right to fear it is now practically impossible to escape being judged according to the new dogma insisting on a fixed sexual orientation for even early teens.

It is salutary to remember that however responsible the priests at St. Claude's were for the tragedy of Alexandre and Georges and however misguided the abhorrence of sin that drove them to act as they did, they acted as gentle lambs compared to the savagery with which their post-Christian successors today would crush an affair that any older and younger boy had the temerity to get embroiled in. Our new moral dictators would of course destroy Alexandre to save him from an unequal relationship rather than from the sin of homosexuality, but that would make no difference to either the cruel outcome or the monstrous bigotry behind it. Ironically it would actually increase the perverse injustice of such interference: Alexandre is typical of the younger boy in a special friendship in that his emotional need for it is evidently greater and so it is even more vital to his happiness than to Georges's that it should not be broken up.

Considering special friendships at boarding-school seem to have disappeared from our emotional landscape and are now so badly misunderstood, we must be forever thankful that in the short space of time when they were still fairly widely understood and it had also become possible to write candidly about such delicate matters, not only did such a talented writer as Peyrefitte preserve their character for us so evocatively, but that a film was made of it before the moral panic about teenage sexuality which arose in the 80s made such an undertaking unthinkable.

Unsurprisingly, the film is not as outstanding as the novel, though mostly faithful to it. The most significant change is that, in the novel, Georges was only fourteen, but as he seemed a little improbably sophisticated for even a French patrician of that age, this was actually an improvement. The problem with the adaptation to film is largely the common one of condensation. Because we do not get to know the protagonists quite so well, it is harder to be so deeply moved by their plight. Mostly gone too is the richly elaborated conflict in the boys' minds between the influences of puritanical Christian doctrine and the boy-admiring Graeco-Roman attitudes it drove into hiding. Nevertheless, the film is well acted, atmospheric and near the end soars towards the heights of aching pathos achieved in the novel.

Peyrefitte was much involved in the making of the adaptation to film, which makes for a fascinating footnote: he was rewarded by meeting on the set the love of his life, 12-year-old Alain-Philippe Malagnac, who had a minor role in the film as a choirboy and introduced himself to the author as a fan of the novel, a story Peyrefitte recounted in Notre amour (1967).

Edmund Marlowe, author of Alexander's Choice, an Eton love story, www.amazon.com/dp/1481222112

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A bold topic for a 1964, isn't it? beckersheinz
Time the movie is set in rsdorsett
For fanatics of this film only ggray33
It's On YOUTUBE tailagent99
actual age of older boy ggray33
Discuss This Special Friendship (1964) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: