The Wild Child (1970)
"L'enfant sauvage" (original title)

G  |   |  Drama  |  11 September 1970 (USA)
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In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who cannot walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.



(scenario, adaptation and dialogue), (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Pierre Cargol ...
Victor, l'enfant sauvage
Le Dr Jean Itard
Françoise Seigner ...
Madame Guerin
Jean Dasté ...
Professor Philippe Pinel
Annie Miller ...
Madame Lemeri
Monsieur Lemeri
Paul Villé ...
Nathan Miller ...
Baby Lemeri
Mathieu Schiffman ...
Jean Gruault ...
Visitor at Institute
Robert Cambourakis ...
Gitt Magrini ...
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Laura Truffaut ...
Girl at farm
Eva Truffaut ...
Girl at farm


1798. In a forest, some countrymen catch a wild child who can not walk, speak, read nor write. Doctor Itard is interested by the child, and starts to educate him. Everybody thinks he will fail, but with a lot of love and patience, he manages to obtain results and the child continues with normal development. This is based on true story. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


At last an adult film to which you can take your children.




G | See all certifications »



Release Date:

11 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wild Child  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,680 (USA) (7 November 2008)


$61,373 (USA) (15 January 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Los Angeles opening of this film occurred one week before the discovery of an American "wild child", a young girl who had been kept isolated from human contact much of her life. The team of doctors working with her, arranged a private viewing of the French film for inspiration. See more »


When getting ready to see the neighbors, the boy's hands are on the same pane of glass in the window, but in the next cut, his hands are on different panes. See more »


Le Dr Jean Itard: For the present, his emotions appear unaffected. Despite the ill-treatment he endured at the institute, no one ever saw him cry.
See more »


Referenced in Day for Night: An Appreciation (2003) See more »


Concerto for Piccolo and Strings in C Major RV 443
by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A true story
29 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

This austere ,black and white movie might be Truffaut's peak.Recalling sometimes,in its spirit,Penn's "miracle worker",the work suffuses with humanism,belief in dignity of man .The child ,for Truffaut,is a frail human being,who needs (and deserves ) education.Hence,some critics called "wild child" the positive side of "the 400 blows".Perhaps so,but ,in my humble opinion,the 1969 effort is much stronger than the rather academic first attempt.Following Doctor Itard's report with absolute fidelity,and portraying him with gusto,Truffaut is a much better actor here than he 's in Spielberg's "close encounters".The production is pared down to the essential,using old-fashioned techniques,recalling silent movies.I do not think,like M.Maltin,that it "loses steam half-way through".On the contrary,the most important scene in the whole movie comes in the last third:Victor,the wild child ,unfairly punished,rebels.He can see the difference between good and bad.Might it be possible that moral conscience should be innate? Does society,as Rousseau believed it pervert man? At the beginning of the movie,remember how cruel was our civilized populace to the different child: showed in public,like a queer animal,to make dough. All teachers in the world should see this masterpiece.

NB:In France,in primary school,a lot of pupils read Victor's story.

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