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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

I got bored to death.
13 March 2009 | by (Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

This film made me realize there are many things I am not good at. First, a mariner's life. Second, small towns & closed societies. Third, military life. Fourth, French films with too little dialogue :)?

I was truly disappointed with this one. I understand there are "big philosophical issues" here, but sincerely, the only one I truly understood was the talent's parable (which we know since early childhood) and a mild idea of the "Heart of darkness", rightly induced by the mention of another of Conrad's novels, being read by the Captain.

Yes, the images are fantastic. The sea that almost got frozen seemed unbelievable, and some close up takes of the ship made it even beautiful. But the "antropological" slant of the ship's life, machines, fishermen, sailor's "humour", "stories" and appeals to authority finally got on my nerves. Let alone Lt. Willsdorff! I suppose the mention of a military officer arrying a cat ALL the time would make any true one sneer. 'Le Crabe-Tambour' was totally lost in his own world. He showed his leadership with the Africans, when he made them win a battle. When was later made "general" he seemed, for the first time, to enjoy himself, not studying them like, say, an ethnographer.

But it wasn't enough.

"The meaning of silences"... Good for putting yourself to sleep.

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