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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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Frankeur ...
Alain Cuny ...
L'homme à la cape / Man with cape
Bernard Verley ...
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
Agnès Capri ...
La directrice de l'institution Lamartine / Teacher
L'inquisiteur / The Inquisitor
L'ange de la mort / The Devil
Georges Marchal ...
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:






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Release Date:

15 March 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Milky Way  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The stories in Voie lactée, La (1969) are based on real historical episodes. Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière did extensive research for the film, primarily in the _Dictionary of Heresies_ by Abbé Pluquet. 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 »

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User Reviews

The cheeky "L'Age D'Or" Bunuel in full attack-mode!

There are two Bunuels: the cheeky Bunuel who makes movies filled with blatant symbolism and surrealism attacking religion and sexuality, and the narrative Bunuel, who makes more subtle films which approach these same issues in more mature ways.

The first Bunuel, the Bunuel of L'Age D'Or and Un Chien Andalou, was definitely at work on this project. The coherent narratives of Los Olivados, Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, Exterminating Angel or even Discrete Charm of the Bourgoise.

Bunuel loved ambiguity and abstraction. He loved making people feel uncertain of things in all his movies - yet many of them maintain a serene, smooth surface nonetheless - there may be dream sequences in them, and things out of the ordinary happening, yet they don't jump around in the madcap way this movie and L'Age D'Or do, constantly making the viewer adjust to a new scene with seemingly no relation to the last, which is afterwards resolved when the pilgrims appear and reinstate continuity.

The two pilgrim characters are our tour guides through a patchwork of historical vignettes involving important religious events.

The highlight of the film for me was when a priest is talking to a man and a woman through a locked door, locked on the advice of the innkeeper presumably to keep the chaplin from coming into their rooms and preaching to them, and the chaplin is talking to them about how Mary could have given birth and remained a virgin. He thinks of an example of this: like light coming through a window. Bunuel cuts from the priest sitting outside the room to the couple inside the room, and suddenly the priest is sitting inside the room talking to he couple. In the next shot, he is outside, and the following shot, inside again. A superb example of cinematic irony.

I'm actually not quite sure what i thought of the film - its certainly not among my favourite Bunuels (Discrete Charm of the Bourgoisie, Exterminating Angel, Los Olivados, L'Age D'Or), but its the sort of film that clearly rewards repeat viewings. As another reviewer commented, a knowledge of religious history reaped rich rewards from it, which makes me wish i knew a little more than i did.

Clifford's Commendations: Like with any Bunuel film, if you're christian, and you get it, you won't like it! If you're not christian, it'll help if you know some christian history to get all the laughs and satire on offer. Without this knowledge, from personal experience, the film has fruits to offer, but you won't enjoy it as much as many other Bunuels.

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