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Day for Night (1973)

La nuit américaine (original title)
2:47 | Trailer

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A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dani ...
Jean Champion ...
Bertrand, le producteur
Alphonse (as Jean-Pierre Leaud)
Nike Arrighi ...
Odile, la maquilleuse
Maurice Seveno ...
Le reporter TV
David Markham ...
Dr. Michael Nelson
Bernard Menez ...
Bernard, l'accessoiriste
Gaston Joly ...
Lajoie, le régisseur
Zénaïde Rossi ...
Madame Lajoie


The shooting of "Je vous presente Pamela" (may I introduce Pamela) begins. This is the story of en English married wife falling in love and running away with the father of her French husband. Will be simultaneously shown the shooting, the behavior of the people (including the technical team) on the set, and a part of their private life (a factor of complication)... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A movie for people who love movies.


Comedy | Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

7 September 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Day for Night  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,808 (USA) (25 July 1997)


$17,808 (USA) (25 July 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(dream sequences)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are references to two French film-makers, Jean Vigo (a street sign for "Rue Jean Vigo") and Jean Cocteau (wall hanging with Cocteau's name on it). See more »


During the filming of the car crash scene, when the stunt man backs up the car driving through the the open door, and when he jumps free as the "driverless" car supposedly heads for the cliff where it will crash, someone else is visible inside the car, actually driving. See more »


director Ferrand: Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Lillian and Dorothy Gish. See more »


Referenced in Striking Back (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A movie made with skill and affection
16 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

François Truffaut's "Day for Night" ("La nuit américaine") is a movie about the making of another movie, "Meet Pamela" ("Je vous présente Pamela"). From the snippets we see of "Meet Pamela", it looks like an insignificant and silly little film, even though its stars are fond of describing it to the press as a "modern tragedy." However, they mostly don't have time to philosophize about the larger meaning of "Meet Pamela"--they're just trying to film the darn thing!

"Day for Night" is an ensemble movie, showing how the many kinds of people on a film set surmount the many minor crises inherent in film-making. There are romantic entanglements and misalliances, as well as technical problems (e.g. the film's title refers to the necessity of shooting a nighttime scene using daylight and a special filter).

Valentina Cortese has some unforgettable, hilarious scenes as Severine, an alcoholic actress who can't remember her part. Also good are Nathalie Baye as an unflappable continuity girl; Jean-Pierre Léaud as an intense but callow young actor; and Jacqueline Bisset as an actress trying to survive the movie-making process after having suffered a nervous breakdown the prior year.

All these elements make "Day for Night" an entertaining movie. But upon reflection, I'm amazed at the craftsmanship it involved. Taking on the role of Ferrand, the director of "Meet Pamela," is Truffaut himself. He makes Ferrand into a professional, unassuming, and likable figure--it feels as though Truffaut put a lot of himself into his role. So it takes some conscious effort to disentangle Truffaut from Ferrand, but once that happens, Truffaut's astounding achievements become clear. As co-writer of the screenplay, Truffaut had a hand in everything that is said; as director of "Day for Night," he set up every shot in the movie. Even the shots in which he appears as Ferrand. Even the complicated shots that show the backstage workings of a movie set and feel so realistic that it's strange to think of them as having been set up. He shoots "Meet Pamela" unexceptionally, usually with a static camera (Ferrand-style) while the "real-life" scenes use hand-held cameras and other exciting techniques (Truffaut-style). It would probably take multiple viewings to appreciate all of what Truffaut did here.

I suppose this means that "Day for Night" is a noteworthy example of the "auteur theory." But that sounds like too dry and academic a summary for a movie that was made not only with superb skill, but also with a palpable love for cinema and love for life.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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