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Le Boucher (1970)

Le boucher (original title)
An unlikely friendship between a dour, working class butcher and a repressed schoolteacher coincides with a grisly series of Ripper-type murders in a provincial French town.




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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins. See more awards »


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Lucienne Delamare and Pierre Maury are having an affair. Lucienne's husband Paul is the mayor, and a French deputy. Pierre's wife Clotilde has been weak and sickly for years. Lucienne's ... See full summary »

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Four Parisian women navigate the world of romance and daily life looking to fulfill their dreams but often find real-life to be inescapable.

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After long absence, a man returns to his hometown only to find his best friend has become an alcoholic.

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Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... See full summary »

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A wealthy wine grower has trouble with his wife, his children, his best friend, and his mistress across the way, who is murdered.

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Complete credited cast:
Antonio Passalia ...
Pascal Ferone ...
Père Cahrpy / Uncle Cahrpy
Mario Beccara ...
Léon Hamel
William Guérault ...
Roger Rudel ...
Commissaire Grumbach / Inspector Grumbach


Butcher Popaul meets schoolteacher Helene at a wedding in a small rural French village. They become friends. But girls are murdered in the area and Helene finds at the scene the lighter she gave Popaul... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 December 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le Boucher  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Claude Chabrol was famous for his drunken antics on movie sets. Stéphane Audran remembers that, one day during the shooting of Le Boucher (1970), he drank so much wine that he had to be brought away with a cart. See more »


When the blood from a murder victim drips down onto a girl from a cliff above, the hand shown dripping the blood looks fake. See more »


Hélène: [Walking through a cavern] You must understand that the instincts, the feelings, and even the intelligence of Cro-Magnon man was definitely human. The only differences to the problem were his needs to survive.
Student: What does "survive" mean?
Hélène: It means to stay alive. He began to draw. Do you know what we call desires when they lose their savage quality? Aspirations. If Cro-Magnon had not survived, the world in which we live wouldn't exist.
See more »


References Strangers on a Train (1951) See more »


Plaisir D'Amour
Music by Johann Martini (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Slow burning French classic
7 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

Le Boucher is a lesson in suspense from French director Claude Chabrol. There is very little in the way of action in this film; but it doesn't matter, because the director knows how to handle suspense, and so despite the fact that there isn't much going on; the film is always interesting. In fact, many modern directors could benefit from watching this film. Through a detached atmosphere and an isolated French setting, Chabrol has created a movie seething with tension, and in a way that always allows the audience to fully take it in. The fact that the movie is beautifully photographed helps the film tremendously, as even if even less happened in the film - the visuals alone would elevate it above the norm. The plot follows the friendship between a local butcher and the school's headmistress, Helene. The pair grow to like each other in the midst of a local maniac mutilating girls in their village. As a birthday present, Helene presents her friend with a lighter; but things turn awry when the teacher discovers the latest victim...with the lighter she bought her friend at the scene of the crime.

Le Boucher stars Stéphane Audran in the lead role. This beautiful actress is superb at providing the lead, and also fits into the film brilliantly as she bodes well with the exquisite cinematography. The film is obviously a product of the time in which it was made, as the visuals are similar to a lot of other mystery films being released around the same time. The plot takes obvious influence from the Clouzot French classic 'Les Diaboliques', but this is not merely a rip-off - Le Boucher has a style all of it's own. Jean Yanne stars opposite Audran as the title character, and he too is excellent in his role. He creates just the right ambiguous atmosphere around his character, which ensures that the tension is instilled as it should be and the climax is believable. Le Boucher will no doubt annoy many due to the fact that not a lot happens, but unlike other films where nothing happens, such as The Blair Witch Project, there is always enough suspense here to ensure that the film doesn't become boring. On the whole, this is a great little thriller and comes with high recommendations.

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