The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)
"Le chagrin et la pitié" (original title)

PG  |   |  Documentary, History, War  |  25 March 1972 (USA)
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From 1940 to 1944, France's Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and ... See full summary »


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Georges Bidault ...
Matthäus Bleibinger ...
Himself - Wehrmacht Soldier in the Auvergne (as Mathaus Bleibinger)
Charles Braun
Maurice Buckmaster ...
Himself - Former Head of the British Underground
Emile Coulaudon ...
Himself - Former Head of the Auvergne Maquis
Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie ...
Himself - Founder of the Liberation Movement
René de Chambrun ...
Himself - International Lawyer (as Count René de Chambrun)
Christian de la Mazière ...
Himself - Aristocratic Former Nazi
Darquier de Pellepoix ...
Himself - Handshake with Heydrich (archive footage)
Jacques Doriot ...
Himself - Head of the French Popular Party, 1942 (archive footage)
R. Du Jonchay ...
Himself - Head of the Resistance Movement (as Colonel R. du Jonchay)
Jacques Duclos ...
Himself - Former Secretary of the Clandestine Communist Party
Anthony Eden ...
(as Lord Avon)
Sgt. Evans
Marcel Fouche-Degliame ...
Himself - Director of the Combat Movement (as Marcel Degliame-Fouche)


From 1940 to 1944, France's Vichy government collaborated with Nazi Germany. Marcel Ophüls mixes archival footage with 1969 interviews of a German officer and of collaborators and resistance fighters from Clermont-Ferrand. They comment on the nature, details and reasons for the collaboration, from anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and fear of Bolsheviks, to simple caution. Part one, "The Collapse," includes an extended interview with Pierre Mendès-France, jailed for anti-Vichy action and later France's Prime Minister. At the heart of part two, "The Choice," is an interview with Christian de la Mazière, one of 7,000 French youth to fight on the eastern front wearing German uniforms. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

25 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sorrow and the Pity  »

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Did You Know?


Originally intended for French television but broadcasters refused to show it. See more »


Georges Bidault: Some people are resistants by nature. In other words, some people are naturally headstrong. Others on the contrary, try to adapt to the circumstances, and get what they can out of it. If you are a resistant over everything and nothing, you're exaggerating. But if you accept everything, you're lying.
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Featured in Sneak Previews: The Best Films of the '70s (1979) See more »


to 'Triumph over France'"
Written by Grigory Kaputnikov (pseudo-name Siegfried Karl Schlegelmeyer)
(heard in footage when Hitler cames to Paris)
See more »

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User Reviews

Best Documentary
22 January 2005 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Far and away the BEST documentary I've ever seen! I've only seen it once, in a theatre, about 32 years ago, but the images and the words of the people who told of their Occupation experiences still stay with me. I wondered then, and still do, how in the world the filmmaker got his subjects -- especially those who had admittedly collaborated with the Nazis -- to be so forthcoming. To me, that's the value that makes this movie stand head and shoulders above all other documentaries (including those of Michael Moore, whose work I also love): the way Orphuls gets right to the innermost soul of the people he films.

Now that it's out on DVD, I intend to buy it, no matter how overpriced or poor quality -- the film itself is that good.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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