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The City of Lost Children (1995)
"La cité des enfants perdus" (original title)

R  |   |  Fantasy, Sci-Fi  |  15 December 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 53,203 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 234 user | 71 critic | 16 from

A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Emilfork ...
Judith Vittet ...
Geneviève Brunet ...
Odile Mallet ...
Mireille Mossé ...
Serge Merlin ...
Rufus ...
Joseph Lucien ...
Mapi Galán ...
Briac Barthélémy ...
Pierre-Quentin Faesch ...


Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who cannot dream, kidnaps young children to steal their dreams. One (Ron Perlman), a former whale hunter who is as strong as a horse, sets forth to search for Denree, his little brother who was kidnapped by Krank's men. Helped by young Miette (Judith Vittet), he soon arrives in La Cite des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children). Written by Marie-Andree Poisson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

children | dream | aging | girl | rescue | See All (72) »


Some people follow their dreams. Others steal them. See more »


Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing and grotesque images of violence and menace | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

15 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The City of Lost Children  »

Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$1,513,028 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Octopus are conjoined twins joined at the leg, but the actresses who played them are not. A prosthetic third leg was designed and fitted to the actresses, but they could not walk while wearing it. This is why the Octopus sisters do not walk in any shot of their whole body. See more »


The words from The Original that Miette remembers in flashback (after she receives Uncle Irvin's dream message) differ slightly from what The Original actually said, although the point of the message is still the same. See more »


L'oncle Irvin: [after Krank's latest failiure] Who stole the child's dreams? Krank, in his evil schemes. But the happy tale had a sting in it's tail. The genius has a fit of pique, hear the genius shriek, the 'genius' is up a creek.
See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Lost City of Cinema-Gold!
1 September 2006 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

"The City of Lost Children" is unquestionably one of the most imaginative and exceptional films of the entire 90's decade and it pretty much represents an entire sub genre all by itself! It's a dark and often disturbing fairy-tale, but nevertheless magical and child-friendly. Since this is a film by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet, you simply know to expect a unique and surreal story (remember "Delicatessen"?) filled with extravagant characters and bizarre dreamscapes! It's enchanting to observe and quite challenging to follow, as there's always some ingenious gimmick to distract your attention from the main plot. I got hooked on it right from the GENIUS opening sequence in which a child's dream about Santa Claus slowly turns into an eerie nightmare. The action then cuts to the "main" character; the evil Krank who's unable to dream himself and hence kidnaps orphans in order to steal their dreams. Krank has an army of semi-human androids, one brother cloned six times, an uncanny midget-mother AND a malicious brain in a fish tank! Ron Perlman is a good guy for once! He portrays a simple-minded yet friendly strongman, assisted in the search for his abducted little brother by a witty young girl. "The City of Lost Children" is an amazingly energetic and vivid adventure and no self-respecting cinema fanatic can afford him/herself to miss it! It's funny, frightening, emotional and intelligent all at once. The decors are mesmerizing, the music is dazzling and the special effects are staggering. I can keep on mentioning good aspects, but it all comes down to one thing: watch this film!!! It's still regretfully underrated and we urgently need to change that!

33 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This film. It is INCREDIBLE! (first time watcher) 8paul
What a mess of a movie; awful streek53
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How did Ron Perlman end up in this movie? bko376
Bio shock? talan72
This movie reminded me of Pan's Labyrinth Chiscokid88-1
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