24 user 33 critic

The Milky Way (1969)

La voie lactée (original title)
Two drifters go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way, they hitchhike, beg for food, and face the Christian dogmas and heresies from different Ages.


(as Luis Bunuel)


(as Luis Bunuel),

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

This surrealist film consists of a series of only vaguely related episodes, most famously the dinner party scene in which people sit on lavatories round a dinner table, occasionally ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Jean-Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celi, Michel Piccoli
Tristana (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shortly after her mother's death, an innocent and youthful woman will find refuge into the household of her middle-aged aristocratic guardian, who will submit her to his sexual advances.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Fernando Rey, Franco Nero
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Celestine, the chambermaid, has new job on the country. The Monteils, who she works for are a group of strange people. The wife is frigid, her husband is always hunting (both animals and ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Michel Piccoli, Georges Géret
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Recounted in flashback are the romantic perils of Mathieu, a middle-aged French sophisticate as he falls for his nineteen year-old former chambermaid Conchita.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Ángela Molina
Nazarin (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A priest in a poor community lives a charitable life in accordance with his religious principles, but many others do not return the favor.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Marga López, Francisco Rabal, Rita Macedo
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Simon, a deeply religious man living in the 4th century, wants to be nearer to God so he climbs a column. The Devil wants him come down to Earth and is trying to seduce him.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Silvia Pinal, Claudio Brook, Enrique Álvarez Félix
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur
The Young One (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A jazz musician seeks refuge from a lynch mob on a remote island, where he meets a hostile game warden and the young object of his attentions.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Zachary Scott, Bernie Hamilton, Key Meersman
Viridiana (1961)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Silvia Pinal, Fernando Rey, Francisco Rabal
El (1953)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A husband's suave exterior unravels after his marriage, and he unleashes his paranoid and volatile temper on his wife, which escalates to more dangerous and unpredictable tantrums.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Arturo de Córdova, Delia Garcés, Aurora Walker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The wife of a physician who diligently cares for the poor, grows weary of their dull South France factory town and pressures her older husband to move to glorious Nice, on the Mediterranean... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Georges Marchal, Lucia Bosé, Julien Bertheau
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The delirious journey of a mental disordered man, who is obsessed in making the perfect crime.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Ernesto Alonso, Miroslava, Rita Macedo


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Cuny ...
L'homme à la cape / Man with cape
La Vierge Marie / Virgin Mary
Bernard Verley ...
Jésus / Jesus
François Maistre ...
Le curé fou / French Priest
Claude Cerval ...
Le brigadier / Brigadier
Muni ...
La mère supérieure / Mother Superior
Julien Bertheau ...
Richard 'maître d'hôtel' / Maitre d'Hotel
Ellen Bahl ...
Madame Garnier
Le marquis de Sade / The Marquis
Agnès Capri ...
La directrice de l'institution Lamartine / Teacher
Michel Etcheverry ...
L'inquisiteur / The Inquisitor
L'ange de la mort / The Devil
Le jésuite / The Jesuit


Two drifters go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way, they hitchhike, beg for food, and face the Christian dogmas and heresies from different Ages.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

15 March 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Milky Way  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to his autobiography, _My Last Sigh_, Luis Buñuel got the idea of making the film after reading _Historia de los heterodoxos españoles_ by Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo. See more »


During the seen with the "free love" Catholics in the forest, the wide angle shots are taken during the day, while the close-ups and medium shots are clearly not during the day. See more »


Rodolphe, un étudiant protestant: Faith doesn't come to us through reason but through the heart
See more »


Featured in Regarding Buñuel (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

THE MILKY WAY (Luis Bunuel, 1969) ***1/2
14 August 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

In view of its subject matter – the gleeful put-down of Christian dogma, a lot of which is contradictory anyway (explaining the flood of religious sects we have all suffered from!) – this has always been the one Bunuel film that is perhaps hardest to warm up to; more than any other of the director's work, its relentlessly didactic nature requires one's full attention throughout – and, needless to say, the experience can be somewhat daunting (it's definitely not the ideal choice for a beginner!). However, THE MILKY WAY is still a milestone in the Surrealist director's career: his previous effort, the chic and sexy BELLE DE JOUR (1967), had performed exceptionally well at the box-office – hence, Bunuel was given carte blanche on the next one; typically, he responded by delivering that which, on the surface, amounts to the exact opposite of what was expected of him: a distinctly uncommercial venture!

That said, one can't very well overlook the director's approach to the material: it takes the form of a picaresque odyssey dealing with two men's pilgrimage from France to the burial site of a revered saint in Spain, and their many bizarre adventures along the way; Paul Frankeur and Laurent Terzieff appear in the lead roles. They meet scores of people who either help, hinder or simply baffle them – a few of these are actually historical figures (such as the Marquis De Sade, incarnated by Michel Piccoli) or even symbolic ones (say, Pierre Clementi's brooding Satan); most, however, are clergy (even if one proves to be a fugitive from a lunatic asylum!) or common people with a vested interest in Theology (for instance, the maitre d' played by Julien Bertheau – who, after imparting much spiritual wisdom to his 'congregation', denies food to the weary protagonists)!

The journey is interestingly book-ended by the duo's meeting with, first, a man (Alain Cuny) who predicts they will each have a child and, then, a whore (Delphine Seyrig) who offers herself up for the task; what ties the two scenes together is that both strangers supply the same cryptic names to the proposed offsprings i.e. "Ye Are Not Of The People" and "No More Mercy"! Incidentally, the film's episodic structure would be adopted again by Bunuel (indeed, it's improved upon) in two subsequent films – both sublime and uproarious – namely THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (1972) and THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY (1974); in fact, one could say that these three films comprise a trilogy whose loosely interrelated narratives (in which, literally, anything goes) basically encompass all of Bunuel's many and varied concerns over the years. THE MILKY WAY is certainly the most intellectual of the director's works, but it's all stylishly deployed (he'd retain the deceptively glossy look of BELLE DE JOUR, for which some would subsequently accuse him of selling out[!], throughout all his remaining efforts) and undeniably hilarious for those not offended by blasphemous irreverence.

Some more of the film's indelible images involve: Frankeur thinking of himself as Jesus about to shave off the trademark beard and being dissuaded from doing so by Mary (Edith Scob); Bernard Verley, then, is endearing as a thoroughly commonplace (if snobbish) Christ – his chilling last words (taken from St. Matthew's Gospel), that he came to cause discord within the family unit and that woe befall anyone who loves somebody else more than him, must constitute one of the most wicked finales to any film!; Terzieff's casual swearword costing them a lift by an ultra-conservative driver; his own jinxed nature (wishing a man who has bypassed them to die horribly in a road accident, which happens soon after), ditto when daring God to strike him with lightning and being amazed by the practically instant reply from on high; later, during a school activity in which little children are indoctrinated in religious intolerance, Terzieff also loudly imagines a group of revolutionaries (the events of May '68 were still vivid in people's minds) executing the Pope – played by Bunuel himself! – via firing squad. Incidentally, the director's own voice is heard – reciting a prayer in Latin! – on the radio of the aforementioned burning car; in the same vein, co-scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carriere – a regular Bunuel collaborator – makes an infrequent appearance before the cameras as a decadent bishop presiding over an orgy in the forest (another sequence that is exclusively in Latin). Two more stalwart presences from the Surrealist master's canon are Claudio Brook, playing another high-ranking church official exhuming the body of the saint – to whom our heroes (and, we are told, thousands every year) have come from afar to pay tribute – so as to excommunicate him in view of facts which have only just come to the fore(!), and Georges Marchal, seen dueling for his steadfast beliefs, but the point of the discussion is so muddled that it's soon forgotten by the participants – by the way, a crucified nun is also prominently featured in this scene! For the record, this film contains one of Bunuel's most famous dictums (spoken by an undefined character during a transcendental sermon by a particularly insistent priest), namely "My hatred of Science and Technology almost brings me to the absurdity of a belief in God"!

According to the extras on the Criterion DVD (these include an elaborate trailer, an introduction by Carriere, an interesting interview with noted film critic Ian Christie, and a 37-minute featurette which is given its due elsewhere), the conception for the script came at the 1967 Venice Film Festival after a screening of Jean-Luc Godard's LA CHINOISE, the Nouvelle Vague exponent's full-blown induction into the realm of Political Cinema. Incidentally, it's also said here that THE MILKY WAY garnered the best reviews of Bunuel's entire career!

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page