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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 53,185 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?


Marc Caro:  [Dark post-apocalyptic atmosphere]  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 »


Miette: One?
[One grunts]
Miette: You asleep?
[One breathes deeply and mumbles]
Miette: What did you do before?
One: One sailor. Harpooned Whales. One night
One: One hear whales singing. After
[gestures throwing of harpoon]
One: always always the target I miss. One loses job.
See more »


References Heavy Metal (1981) See more »


Bon Anniversaire
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

M. Perlman parle francais aussi!
16 May 2003 | by (Houston, TX CSA) – See all my reviews

"City of Lost Children" is a beautifully-realized if derivative dark fantasy in which a mad scientist named Krank, aided by a half-dozen clones, a midget woman, and a brain in a tank, abducts children to his offshore lab so he can steal their dreams. Seems he's unable to have any of his own. A sideshow strongman, played by a radiantly fit Ron Perlman, goes in search of his little brother, who has been taken by Krank's goons. Perlman, in another of his growing gallery of bizarre roles, is a perfect example of why I like character actors better than big-name stars. And how many languages does he speak, anyway? French here, Spanish (and English, of course) in "Cronos"; polyglot in "The Name of the Rose"; what next?

The strongman, named One, enlists the aid of Miette, a homeless, streetwise girl who, along with her fellow urchins, is part of a ring of thieves employed by a pair of sinister female Siamese twins named the Octopus. (Watch carefully how these evil twins smoke a cigarette. There are more weird characters per square inch in this flick than anywhere else outside a Heironymus Bosch painting.) Miette is played by Judith Villet, whose gonna-be-a-great-beauty looks, her air of intelligence and experience beyond her years, make her a sort of Gallic Natalie Portman.

Anyway, that's the plot: rescue little brother from the mad doctor. The images are the thing: with its rendering of a bleak, low-tech retro-future, "City" looks more like a Terry Gilliam movie than "Twelve Monkeys" does! And it slyly slips in ideas and images from other sources, to good effect: Krank himself is as much of the mad-doctor stereotype as is the character in "The Nightmare Before Christmas"; his outlandish electro-headgear is similar to that used in Disney's "Merlin Jones"; a nightmare on the loose swoops low along the ground through streets and alleys as a trail of green mist, improving on a similar image from "Bram Stoker's Dracula"; there's a confrontation in dreamland a la the "Elm Street" series; and while the idea of a brain in a tank isn't a new one, this is the first benign one I've ever seen. Familiar or not--and I'm thinking also of "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T"--"City of Lost Children" is still engaging, enjoyably weird, fantastic and funny, helped greatly by the fact that One and Miette are so endearing. The pace is a tad slower than it might have been. But this is, after all, a French movie.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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This film. It is INCREDIBLE! (first time watcher) 8paul
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