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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
"Au hasard Balthazar" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  25 May 1966 (France)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,620 users   Metascore: 100/100
Reviews: 65 user | 90 critic | 8 from

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.



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Title: Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Green ...
François Lafarge ...
Jean-Claude Guilbert ...
Philippe Asselin ...
Marie's father
Nathalie Joyaut ...
Marie's mother
Marie-Claire Fremont ...
Baker's wife
Jean-Joël Barbier ...
The Priest
Guy Renault
Jean Rémignard ...
Guy Brejac
Mylène Weyergans
Jacques Sorbets ...
Police Officer
François Sullerot ...


This is the story of a donkey and the somewhat difficult life it leads. During a summer holiday, the baby donkey is a child's pet but when they return home, it begins it's life of misery. It works as a farm animal, pulling a delivery cart and working as any manner as various owners require of it. Meanwhile, the young girl who first acquired Balthazar as a pet grows up, only to be badly treated herself by an indifferent and selfish boyfriend. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

25 May 1966 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Au Hasard Balthazar  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,325 (USA) (17 October 2003)


$39,388 (USA) (12 December 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The main actress of this movie, Anne Wiazemsky, also became an author; in her book "Jeune Fille", she describes the making of the movie. See more »


The "for Sale" sign that is on the fence when Balthazar runs through the gate is different to the one seen in close-up. Also, when he runs through the gate, the sign is in shadow but in close-up it is in full sun. See more »


Gerard: Lend him to us.
Marie's mother: He's worked enough. He's old. He's all I have.
Gerard: Just for a day.
Marie's mother: Besides, he's a saint.
See more »


Referenced in The Road to Bresson (1984) See more »


Piano Sonata No.20 in A Major, II. Andantino (D. 959)
Written by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

One of the most memorable endings in cinema
24 August 1999 | by (toronto) – See all my reviews

The film's ending is one of the most memorable in cinema, and achieves an eerie grace, consistent with its almost unique tone - allusively Biblical and allegorical, yet resistant to specific meanings and interpretations. The plot is a narrative of human cruelty and escalating despair, but always with enough mystery in the motivation to ward off easy condemnations; and perhaps even to indicate divine guidance. Throughout, Wiazemsky seizes on the donkey as a symbol of transcendence(her mother calls it a saint in the end); it's formally christened at the beginning and undergoes something approaching a formal funeral, all of which gives its life the contours of a spiritual journey of discovery. The narrative encompasses both revelations (the interlude in the fair; new tortures like the mean old man who starves and beats him) and retrenchment; both life's austerity, its roots in servitude, and its enormous potential dignity. Never was a donkey filmed so evocatively

  • but as always with Bresson, the simplicity is thrilling too - there's no

false artistry here; no dubious anthropomorphism. A necessary film, and I'm amazed that I'm the first one to be commenting on it here.

70 of 101 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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this movie sucked ratsnbats
is this the best movie involving an animal with tragedy? meeyakey22
Can someone translate the title for me? rsimanski
Deserves to be in the top 250 QuickSickNick
The donkey is the only one who can act in this movie! Felix_le_Chat
I didn't cry psy_spectre
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