IMDb > The Firemen's Ball (1967)
Horí, má panenko
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The Firemen's Ball (1967) More at IMDbPro »Horí, má panenko (original title)

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Down 24% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Milos Forman (screenplay)
Jaroslav Papousek (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Firemen's Ball on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1968 (USA) See more »
A Masterpiece from Czechoslovakia
The fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday... See more » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
The Firemen's Ball See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Jan Vostrcil ... Head of Committee
Josef Sebánek ... Committee Member #2
Josef Valnoha ... Committee Member
Frantisek Debelka ... Committee Member #1
Josef Kolb ... Josef
Jan Stöckl ... Retired Fire Chief
Vratislav Cermák ... Committee Member
Josef Rehorek ... Committee Member #4
Václav Novotný ... Committee Member
Frantisek Reinstein ... Committee Member
Frantisek Paska ... Committee Member
Stanislav Holubec ... Karel
Josef Kutálek ... Ludva
Frantisek Svet ... Old Man
Ladislav Adam ... Committee Member
Jirí Líbal
Antonín Blazejovský ... Standa
Stanislav Ditrich ... Waiter
Milada Jezková ... Josef's Wife
Jarmila Kucharová
Alena Kvetová ... 'Miss' Contestant
Anna Liepoldová ... 'Miss' Contestant
Miluse Zelená ... 'Miss' Contestant
Marie Slivova ... Beauty Contestant
Hana Hanusová ... Jarka
Hana Kuberová ... Drunk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Karel Valnoha ... Committee Member #3 (uncredited)
Vlastimila Vlková ... Woman (uncredited)

Directed by
Milos Forman 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Milos Forman  screenplay
Jaroslav Papousek  screenplay
Ivan Passer  screenplay
Václav Sasek  story

Produced by
Rudolf Hájek .... producer
Carlo Ponti .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Karel Mares 
Cinematography by
Miroslav Ondrícek 
Film Editing by
Miroslav Hájek 
Production Design by
Karel Cerný 
Art Direction by
Karel Cerný 
Set Decoration by
Vladimir Macha  (as Vladimir Mácha)
Costume Design by
Zdena Snajdarová 
Makeup Department
Rudolf Hammer .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jaroslav Solnicka .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jaroslav Papousek .... assistant director
Art Department
Saul Bass .... poster designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Adolf Böhm .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Eduard Kaderábek .... assistant camera
Jaromír Komárek .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Stepán Konícek .... conductor
Other crew
Vladimír Bor .... production team
Jirí Sebor .... production team
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Horí, má panenko" - Czechoslovakia (original title)
"The Firemen's Ball and Lottery" - USA (DVD title)
See more »
71 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Finland:S | France:U | Netherlands:18 (orginal rating) (1969) | Sweden:11 | UK:U (original rating) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:6

Did You Know?

Banned in 1968 by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Simpsons Movie (2007)See more »
From Me to youSee more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
The Firemen's Ball, 8 November 2010
Author: random_avenger

Milos Forman's best known film is probably the awarded 1975 mental institution tale One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson, but his early Czechoslovakian movies are not to be missed either by admirers of his later work. The 1967 comedy The Firemen's Ball has been interpreted as an allegory for the Socialist system that had a major effect on how people lived in Eastern Europe at the time, but it also works as an entertaining little flick in its own right.

The loose plot was inspired by an actual firemen's ball that Forman and his screenwriter friends once attended. The aging fire department of a small village is arranging a ball in honour of their elderly chairman who is turning 86 and, unbeknownst to him, dying of cancer. The program is to include at least music, dancing, a beauty contest for the ladies and a lottery with various prizes, but it seems that Murphy's Law is alive and well in the village: the lottery prizes keep getting stolen at an increasing rate, nobody wants to participate in the beauty pageant and the general chaos grows more and more out of control. Soon the firemen get to demonstrate their occupational skills in a genuine incident.

Most of the actors were reportedly real firemen from the town where the movie was shot, but despite their lack of acting experience they fit in their roles perfectly. The grumpy men's arguments about the stressful arrangements are pretty hilarious, but the women are funny too even though their roles are somewhat smaller. Also, personally I didn't find any of the reluctant beauty contestants ugly at all, unlike the frustrated committee members! In addition, I should give a nod to the catchy ballroom music that is playing for a lot of the time and even references a Beatles song at one point. It is possible that the atmosphere-driven collection of errors and misadventures may feel aimless to some viewers who would prefer a stronger plot, but those with a fondness for looser narratives should find it easy to enjoy the firemen's adversities.

Besides the comical bumbling, there are also more melancholic moments in the short movie. The fire scene near the end carries a feel of powerlessness when an old man watches his house burn down while the firemen futilely try to put the flames out by shoveling snow into the fire. Still, the service of drinks is never interrupted during the turmoil, keeping up appearances no matter what. The whole plot line of the stolen lottery prizes also culminates in a wistful moment when the honorary chairman finally gets to accept his gift after sincerely thanking his colleagues for the help they have given over the years. This lack of the oft-mentioned solidarity among the masses (not so much among individuals) may have been what prompted the Czechoslovakian officials to originally ban the film "forever".

As for myself, I can say I enjoyed The Firemen's Ball more than Loves of a Blonde (1965), the other early Forman film I have seen at the moment. Czech cinema in general is something I'd like to get better acquainted with later, but for now I can say that The Firemen's Ball is probably my favourite of the handful of movies I have seen from the country.

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