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 »


Dr. Claude Levy: France is the only government in all Europe whose government collaborated. Others signed an armistice or surrendered, but France was the only country to have collaborated and voted laws which were even more racist than the Nuremberg laws, as the French racist criteria were even more demanding than the German racist criteria. It's not something to be proud of.
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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

Can't stop thinking about this
6 September 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I've only seen the first installment, but I can't stop thinking about two things in particular. Firstly, the haberdasher (and World War I veteran), of Clermont Ferrand who took out a newspaper ad to declare he was not Jewish after he was suspected of being so along with his three brothers. Secondly, the bourgeois chemist who was so scared of his child born in 1942 being malnourished, that he fed the blighter as much as he could and he was now (1969), the tallest of his siblings at 1m85cm. The history of ordinary people can very often be so much more vivid than the dry recantation of the big events we read in text books and see in other much more turgid documentaries. Definitely a must- see and I can certainly comprehend why it was not shown on French TV until years later in 1981.

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