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 »


Notre Espoir
Music by Henri Betti
Lyrics by Maurice Chevalier
Performed by Maurice Chevalier
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User Reviews

Powerful, spell-binding, four hour documentary about the resistance in occupied France in World War Two
23 July 2000 | by (Chicago, IL, USA) – See all my reviews

Stunning, honest, in-depth look at the real people who formed the resistance movement against the Nazis in France during the second world war. We hear also from those who felt resistance unnecessary, and those who collaborated with Nazi Germany. Examines all the nuances that make up the very different viewpoints from those involved. The camera just looking at the wife of a former German officer as he recounts his version of events is incredibly telling, although she never says a word. The film is full of moments like this one that allow the viewer to see the truth. A must see if one wishes to understand history. Never boring, in spite of its length. A bit hard to read the white on white subtitles at times.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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