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Belle de Jour (1967)
"Belle de jour" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  10 April 1968 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 27,481 users  
Reviews: 108 user | 123 critic

A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.


(as Luis Bunuel)


(novel) (as Joseph Kessel de l'Académie Française) , (adaptation) (as Luis Bunuel) , 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Sorel ...
Pierre Clémenti ...
Françoise Fabian ...
Macha Méril ...
Muni ...
Maria Latour ...
Claude Cerval
Michel Charrel ...
Iska Khan ...
Asian client
Bernard Musson ...
Marcel Charvey ...
Prof. Henri
François Maistre ...


Severine is a beautiful young woman married to a doctor. She loves her husband dearly, but cannot bring herself to be physically intimate with him. She indulges instead in vivid, kinky, erotic fantasies to entertain her sexual desires. Eventually she becomes a prostitute, working in a brothel in the afternoons while remaining chaste in her marriage. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!




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Release Date:

10 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belle de Jour  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Luis Buñuel knew that Catherine Deneuve was unhappy, but he felt that it was mostly because she didn't understand his working style and the reasons behind his choices. "She didn't want her breasts to be seen," he recalled, "and the hairdresser put a strip of fabric around her. She had to appear nude for a moment, putting on a stocking to keep her breasts from being seen during that movement, she bound them up in a taffeta band." See more »


When the client that wants to be spanked rejects Belle Du Jour she puts her robe back on but not her bra. Then when she sees the Asian client a few moments later, she takes off her robe and her bra is on. See more »


Séverine Serizy: Pierre, please, don't let the cats out.
See more »


Referenced in Eddie (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of Bunuel's more well-known works; an interesting morality story with Deneuve
19 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Luis Bunuel, notorious for his use of simple, striking, yet un-cannily affecting surrealism in movies, keeps it down to a lower (yet still imaginative) key for Belle Du Jour. This works though because un-like a film like Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie where surrealism was like another character amidst the other character's dreams and nightmares, this one only keeps in surrealism for the sake of the lead character's inner demons poking up through the every-day malaise. This lead, Severine, is played in one of Catherine Deneuve's key career performances, that finds that two-sided-ness she feels while married to her husband Pierre.

She loves him, but there's something that she's not getting out of the marriage that's leaving her empty, aimless, and her fantasies- however in the realm of (dark) fantasy- go to show she needs to do something during the day. She then finds out about a high-class brothel with only a couple of workers already employed. At first reluctant, she gives in to her temptations, serving the odder types of Paris looking for a good time, with one of them, Marcel (Pierre Clementi) falling head over heels for her.

What seemed most intriguing about the film was how Bunuel dealt with the themes- the two crucial ones being morality and sexuality. His imagery is direct, maybe too direct, but it gets its points across with a realism that is alluring and far & away (almost like a satire of such a life). She can't stop what she's started, and she doesn't really know how to end it unless she gets caught.

Then with the sexuality, it's never over-emphasized (i.e. no nudity, outside of a quick couple of shots of nudity), and no one is shown having sex on screen. What comes out is the emotional tally of Severine, the other girls, and the supporting characters that come in and out of the brothel. It may seem dated at moments, and the observatory notes go to making the film seem a tad longer than it is. But never-the-less, Belle de Jour is a worthwhile, memorable effort of the 1960's cinema.

And, at many times, it's quite funny. More than that, a laugh riot.

24 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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