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The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

Le déclin de l'empire américain (original title)
Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Dominique Michel ...
Dorothée Berryman ...
Diane Leonard
Pierre Curzi ...
Geneviève Rioux ...
Évelyn Regimbald ...
Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy
Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo ...


Four very different Montreal university teachers gather at a rambling country house to prepare a dinner. Remy (married), Claude (a homosexual), Pierre (involved with a girlfriend) and Alain (a bachelor) discuss sex, the female body and their affairs with them. Meanwhile, their four female guests, Louise (Remy's wife of 15 years), Dominique (a spinster), Diane (a divorcée) and Danielle (Pierre's girlfriend) are spending the time at a downtown health gym. They also discuss sex, the female body and, naturally, men. Later in the evening, they finally meet at the country house and have dinner. The discussion? Well, you can guess it... However, a ninth guest, named Mario, who used to know Diane, drops in on the group for some talk and has a surprise of his own. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sex | dinner | university | gym | weekend | See All (70) »


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Decline of the American Empire  »

Box Office


CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)


$1,902,706 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Referenced in Speaking Parts (1989) See more »


Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
See more »

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User Reviews

This one really picks up steam as it goes along!
28 October 2003 | by (Torrance, CA) – See all my reviews

Another outstanding work from Denys Arcand! You definitely have to have a taste for dialogue-driven stuff for this, but if you have the patience you will be rewarded. In the first 20 minutes I thought it might be just another analysis of the male-female relationship dynamic. But it surprised me with a few twists and of course some outstanding acting. I can't believe this is the same Remy Girard from the Les Boys movies. BTW, this film IS available on DVD, as are many other Quebec films featured on IMDB, but not listed as available on DVD. You can usually find them at www.archambault.ca or better yet, travel to Montreal and go to the store on St. Catherine and Berri.

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