Donkey Skin (1970)
"Peau d'âne" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  20 December 1970 (France)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,605 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 36 user | 38 critic | 7 from

A fairy godmother helps a princess disguise herself so she won't have to marry a man she doesn't love.



(fairy tale),
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Cast overview, first billed only:
La princesse / La reine bleu
Le roi bleu
La reine rouge, la seconde reine
Le roi rouge, le seconde roi
Henri Crémieux ...
Le chef des médecins (as Henri Cremieux)
Sacha Pitoëff ...
Le premier ministre (The Minister) (as Sacha Pitoeff)
Pierre Repp ...
Jean Servais ...
La voix de (voice)
Georges Adet ...
Le savant
Annick Berger ...
Romain Bouteille ...
Le charlatan
Louise Chevalier ...
La vieille fermière
Sylvain Corthay ...


The education of a princess wrapped in a love story. A king and queen live happily until her sudden death. The king decides to marry his lovely daughter. She's willing, but the Lily Fairy serves as a social conscience, intent on thwarting incest. She instructs the princess to request a series of dresses impossible to make; however, the king's tailor succeeds. So the fairy plots the princess's escape, wearing the skin of the king's prize donkey. She's spirited away to be a scullery maid dressed in the noisome skin. A wandering prince sees her in the woods and is smitten. Can love find its course, and does the princess learn a lesson of life's hardships? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 December 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Donkey Skin  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(restored version)| (original version)| (restored version)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Donkey Skin proved to be Demy's biggest success in France with a total of 2,198,576 admissions. See more »


Narrator: The vicissitudes of life fall on kings as well, and the greatest good is always mixed with misfortune.
See more »


Referenced in L'âge des possibles (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

This is a classic!
6 August 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Being a university student in the 60's, in Toronto, it was a given that one saw as many foreign films as possible. The French New Wave was happening so we all trudged off to see the latest incomprehensible (to me) Godard or the new, much more accessible Truffaut or the ever bleaker Bergman or the latest jaw-dropper from Fellini and woe betide you if you dared to admit that you didn't "get" Antonioni. We knew how to pronounce the names of Japanese and Czech directors and argued the merits of Bunuel. We were into it, man. Cinema (not "the movies") was our passion. So how did "Peau d'Ane pass us by? I'd seen "The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg" of course. Who hadn't? Jacques Demy and Michel Legrande were practically house-hold names and yet no one raced off to see "Peau d'Ane". I'm sure it must have had a theatrical release, here and I dimly remember being aware of it at the time but it certainly didn't have the "Oh muh God!" critical reaction and word-of-mouth that would have turned it into the cult hit that it should have been. With no CGI and, by today's standards, the simplest of special effects, this movie is utterly magical and astonishing. I suspect that, for 1970, it was just too "French". The story is an (apparently) beloved French classic by Felix Perrault but quite unknown outside French culture. The title, "Donkey's Skin" and a slightly ick-factor plot line may have put off critics and audiences at the time but I'm now convinced that every director of the spate of fantasy movies that we currently enjoy has been heavily influenced by "Peau d'Ane".

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