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Le Crabe-Tambour (1977)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 338 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

A dying French naval frigate captain tries to make a last rendezvous in the winter storm-tossed seas off the Grand Banks, with "le crab tambour," a French war hero he had betrayed twenty ... See full summary »


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Title: Le Crabe-Tambour (1977)

Le Crabe-Tambour (1977) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Le médecin, Pierre
Aurore (as Aurore Clement)
Odile Versois ...
Pierre Rousseau
Jacques Dufilho ...
Chef mécanicien
Lt. Willsdorff, 'le Crabe-Tambour'
Yann Brannelec
Jean Champion
Nguyen Long Cuong
François Dyrek ...
(as Francois Dyrex)
Jean Hennau
Yves Morgan-Jones
Bernard La Jarrige ...
Le recteur
François Landolf ...
(as Francois Landolt)


A dying French naval frigate captain tries to make a last rendezvous in the winter storm-tossed seas off the Grand Banks, with "le crab tambour," a French war hero he had betrayed twenty years earlier. "Le crab tambour" the drummer crab" was a boyhood nickname for the handsome young Alsatian whom the film depicts proving his courage, first in the war in French Indochina, and then again in the "Generals' Revolt" in Algeria. Courtmartialed because friends like the French naval captain were afraid to risk their own careers by testifying for him, the exiled "crab tambour" and his trawler, The Shamrock, is now a legend among the Grand Banks fishermen. Written by Thomas Lipscomb <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Drama | War





Release Date:

9 November 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Drummer-Crab  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Performed by Led Zeppelin
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User Reviews

18 June 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I saw this film five or six years ago after selecting it at random on the "French" shelf of my local video store. It made quite an impact on me, but I subsequently forgot the title and had to go to quite some lengths to relearn it.

I wish I had the time and patience to write out my thoughts at length and with eloquence. Simply put, this feels like one of Joseph Conrad's sea novels, in particular "Lord Jim." It's gorgeously lit and shot -- in fact, I'd go so far as to call it a photographic masterpiece. Maybe the narrative unfolds a bit too slowly or bogs down here or there, but the film concludes beautifully and has haunted me ever since the one and only time I saw it. This may owe something to the casting of Jacques Perrin in the title role. For once here's someone with enough dash and je ne sais quois to justify an entire film spent in search of a supposedly legendary character. Even Brando somewhat disappointed in this regard in "Apolcaypse Now" (which, come to think of it, was very loosely based on Conrad).

It's inexplicable to me that "Le Crabe-Tambour" has never had, and likely never will, much of a following. For my money, the French have never excelled at "classical" film-making in the key of Hollywood. Nor am I typically a fan of that kind of thing; however, this film is an exception in either case. I just picked up the VHS box on the shelf at the verysame video store last night, which is what prompted my comment. I think I'll rent it again tomorrow.

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