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

 -  Drama  -  11 September 1970 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,004 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 38 critic

In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who can not walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.

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(scenario, adaptation and dialogue), (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Cast

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 ...
Remy
Nathan Miller ...
Baby Lemeri
Mathieu Schiffman ...
Mathieu
Jean Gruault ...
Visitor at Institute
Robert Cambourakis ...
Countryman
Gitt Magrini ...
Countrywoman
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Countryman
Laura Truffaut ...
Girl at farm
Eva Truffaut ...
Girl at farm
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

11 September 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wild Child  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$61,373 (USA) (15 January 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Truffaut remained true to Dr. Itard's written accounts in most respects. A few variations are: (1) Victor was not stark naked when first captured; he had the shreds of a shirt around his neck. (2) Victor's hair would have been much longer, because he was indifferent to hygiene or how he looked. (3) Jean Itard was merely a young medical student, while the film suggests that he was on an equal basis with Pinel. (4) Madame Guerin became almost a mother to Victor, always attending to him, whereas the film suggests that she merely helped to train him and to clean up after him. (5) Itard would rub Victor's back to relax and comfort him, but then had to worry about sexual responses. Victor also often wet his bed, but Itard never punished him; he decided to allow Victor to learn whether he preferred to lie in a wet bed or to get up to relieve himself. These problems are not shown. (6) In the scene in which Victor throws a tantrum about learning the alphabet, his and Dr. Itard's responses were different than are shown in the film. Real-life Victor bit his bedsheets and began to throw hot coals around the house before falling to the ground and writhing/screaming/kicking; and Itard (Truffaut) did not merely put him into the closet for a few moments. Itard admits [in translation] that he actually "violently threw open the window of his room, which was on the fifth floor overlooking some boulders directly below ... and grabbing him forcibly by the hips, I held him out of the window, his head facing directly down toward the bottom of the chasm. After some seconds, I drew him in again. He was pale, covered with a cold sweat ... I made him gather up all the [alphabet] cards and replace them all. This was done very slowly ... but at least without impatience." Viewers may thank Truffaut for choosing the lesser of two evil punishments! (7) Finally, Dr. Itard took care of Victor for 5 years; in 1806, Victor moved into Madame Guerin's house and stayed there for the rest of his life, with the French Government paying for his care. It is believed that he died there, without ever marrying. See more »

Goofs

The chalkboard goes from wet to dry between shots. See more »

Quotes

Le Dr Jean Itard: Canton of St. Sernin. A boy, 11 or 12 years old, naked and apparently deaf and dumb while searching for acorns and roots to eat was caught in the Caune woods by three hunters as he was about to climb a tree to escape from them. Taken to a nearby hamlet...
[he stops reading and cuts the article from the paper]
Le Dr Jean Itard: I could examine him and establish the degree of intelligence and the nature of ideas in an adolescent deprived since childhood of all education because he had lived apart from his species.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Highly recommended



If it weren't for several other strong works from Truffaut, this one would be my favorite. And it somes ways it is my favorite. The interaction between Victor and Dr. Itard was splendidly done. It was a joy simply to watch Truffaut on- screen directing the boy's progress, much like he must have done off-screen to get some very human reactions. At no point during this film did I think a scene was overdone or unnatural. It just seemed to flow from one small triumph to the next. My only complaint was that the whole experiment ended abrubtly, and so too did the movie. We are told by Dr. Itard that Victor is a extraordinary boy, but he has much training left to master. There were many points along the way where doubt lingered as to whether the wild child could be fully trained at all until the final scene. There we learn that Victor has a new home.

This movie was based on a true event which took place in the late 1700s. Unfortunately for the audience, the most pressing question of what became of Victor in his adult life is left unanswered. But fans of Francois Truffaut will find him even more engaging than in his role of Claude Lacombe in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". The roles are similar in many ways. If Lacombe could have taken home the child-like aliens to instruct, I'm sure he would have been much like Dr. Itard.


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