7.9/10
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Murmur of the Heart (1971)

Le souffle au coeur (original title)
This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Clara Chevalier
Benoît Ferreux ...
Laurent Chevalier
...
Charles Chevalier
...
Father Henri
Ave Ninchi ...
Augusta
Gila von Weitershausen ...
Freda (the prostitute)
Fabien Ferreux ...
Thomas
Marc Winocourt ...
Micheline Bona ...
Aunt Claudine
Henri Poirier ...
Uncle Leonce
Liliane Sorval ...
Fernande
Corinne Kersten ...
Daphne
Eric Walter
François Werner ...
Hubert
René Bouloc ...
Man at Bastille Day party
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Storyline

This is a jolly coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy named Laurent Chevalier who is growing up in bourgeois surroundings in Dijon, France. This is France in the mid-1950s rather than America in the 1990s. Thus, Laurent is unharmed by events which would irreparably shatter the self-esteem of a modern American adolescent: he gets drunk, he smokes, he has sex, he is smothered by his mother, he is ignored by his father, a priest makes a pass at him, he gets rheumatoid fever, etc. There's enough scandalous behavior in this film to make 100 made-for-TV movies, and yet this is a very happy and oddly innocent tale. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

17 October 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murmur of the Heart  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,200,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer/director Louis Malle based many aspects of the protagonist Laurent's life on his own experiences growing up. This included his love of jazz, curiosity about literature, the "tyranny" of his two older brothers who tried to introduce him to sex, and having a heart murmur. However, Malle grew up in the 1930's and 40's, not the 50's as Laurent does. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, Clara states that she saw The Barefoot Contessa in Paris. During this early part of the movie, the French are fighting the war in Indochina. The final battle of that war, Dien Bien Phu, occurred on May 7, 1954, 4 1/2 months before The Barefoot Contessa was released. In addition, Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th, also before the movie was released. See more »

Quotes

Augusta: What's this? Leave that child alone, you shameless slut!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murphy Brown: Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a beautiful coming of age story
30 June 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

There have been a million coming of age stories in the history of the world, most of them probably in the film medium. What a pathetic thing to have to endure something as trite as the American film American Pie when something like The 400 Blows exists. Murmur of the Heart will remind most of that classic, and, akin to French films such as Zero for Conduct, The 400 Blows, and Malle's own Au Revoir Les Enfantes, it is excellently acted, both by the adults in the film and the children (here, though, they're teens), and it is infinitely more truthful than most American films of the same genre. Murmur of the Heart falls just short of The 400 Blows, but it is a worthy successor to it. Beware, though. This film's main theme is sexuality, and there are some very disturbing scenes, even thought the mood of the film is quite light-hearted. 9/10


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