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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 10,610 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)

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) on IMDb 7.9/10

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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?


Balthazar was an untrained donkey during most of the filming, which made Bressons's work a real challenge. The only scene for which the donkey was trained was the circus math trick. 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 »


Marie's mother: He is in despair. Comfort him.
[Marie's father turns away]
Priest: You must forgive. Everyone. Much will be forgiven you. You have suffered.
Marie's father: I may suffer less than you think.
Priest: [Reading] God does not foresake forever. He may punish, yet he will have compassion. H does not willingly afflict the children of men.
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
See more »

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User Reviews

Confessions of a Philistine
12 November 2007 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

Au Hasard Balthazar will generally elicit reviews from two types of people: those who consider it an incomprehensible piece of art-house crap, and those who marvel at the genius of Bresson.

I, however, fall somewhere in the middle. I'm aware that Bresson's movie is filled with symbolism and layered with subtext, but his approach turns me off. Bresson's mantra is this: no acting under any circumstances. Step 1 is to hire non-actors. Step 2 is to direct them not to emote. Step 3 is to keep reshooting the scene until the actors give up emoting. It was common for him to do 30 takes of even the simplest scenes. He doesn't do this to be cruel, but because he sincerely believes the truth of the material cannot be revealed until the people saying the lines stop thinking about the fact that they are saying lines. A kind of brute force method of ensuring that no one on his set is attempting to craft a performance. He definitely gets what he's after, but whether or not it's worth seeing is questionable.

As a movie viewer raised in the spoon-fed post-Spielberg Hollywood era, I find it tough to get through Bresson. I disliked Balthazar, but not because I think it's crap. Bresson made his film inaccessible so it would be hard to understand, but because it's so pretentious I didn't WANT to understand it.

58 of 98 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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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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