The Eighth Day (1996)
"Le huitième jour" (original title)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  7 March 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,792 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 15 critic

An unusual and wonderful friendship develops between a busy but unhappy salesman and a resident of a mental asylum.


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pascal Duquenne ...
Henri Garcin ...
Le directeur de la banque
Isabelle Sadoyan ...
la mère de Georges
Michele Maes ...
Nathalie (as Michèle Maes)
Fabienne Loriaux ...
la soeur de Georges - Fabienne
Alice van Dormael ...
Juliette Van Dormael ...
Marie-Pierre Meinzel ...
La vendeuse du magasin du chaussures
Sabrina Leurquin ...
La serveuse du snack
Laszlo Harmati ...
Luis Mariano
Alain Bougnet
Magali Cote
Jean Désert


Georges has Down's syndrome, living at a mental-institution. Harry is a busy businessman, giving lectures for young aspiring salesmen. He is successful in his business life, but his social life is a disaster since his wife left him and took their two children with her. This weekend his children came by train to meet him, but Harry, working as always, forgot to pick them up. Neither his wife nor his children want to see him again and he is driving around on the country roads, anguished and angry. He almost runs over Georges, on the run from the institution since everybody else went home with their parents except him, whose mother is dead. Harry tries to get rid of Georges but he won't leave his new friend. Eventually a special friendship forms between the two of them, a friendship which makes Harry a different person. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

7 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Eighth Day  »

Box Office


FRF 25,000,000 (estimated)


$328,452 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil tied for the Best Actor Award at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival for their roles in this film. This was the first time such an event had happened. See more »


Harry: [fed up with Georges] Get out! Go find some other sucker to help you out!
[leaves Georges in the rain. He eventually comes back]
Harry: Put this on, you'll get soaked and chill.
[puts his coat on Georges]
Georges: [overjoyed] You like me!
See more »


References Rain Man (1988) See more »


Jesus He Knows Me
Written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford (as Michael Rutherford)
Performed by Genesis
See more »

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User Reviews

13 April 2001 | by (La Rioja, Spain) – See all my reviews

For anyone with a moderate sensibility, a moderate feeling of the human and humane condition, for anyone capable of getting above the Hollywood ilk, for anyone who is satisfied seeing cinema which does not have a series of Seagals/Willis/Van Dammes blasting the brains out of anybody or seeing who gets into bed with whom, for anyone whose intellectual level reaches a capacity to grasp, sympathise with, comprehend, laugh WITH, cry WITH natural tender heart-warming hilarious compassionate HUMAN BEINGS, `Le Huitième Jour' is waiting for you. Jaco van Dormael has not achieved simply a masterpiece, that would have been too simplistic; he has achieved one of those rare monumental works of art in the cinematographic world which defies any kind of encapsuling. Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? No: it is the story of Georges, a wonderful funny pitiful laughable loving frightened beautiful personality, a sufferer of the Downes Syndrome. It is a story which has you laughing through your tears, but this is not one of those classic tear-jerkers; this film moves through a world that has you at once mixing your feelings of compassion or pity or even shame with those of admiration, warmth and even love. A successful banking salesman, Harry, bumps into Georges: they were both going in opposite directions with absolutely opposing ideas, problems and priorities; skillfully van Dormael melts these two unlikely men into a warm friendship, but which is so much more than the good buddy friendship of those having a beer down the road. This is a relationship which develops into a profound needing by both for the other. The cuasi-surrealist scenes fit in perfectly: Georges recalls (or invents) past scenes of his life while either day-dreaming or sleeping; even the almost phantasmagorical final scene is totally correct. The only scene which might be considered a little out of place is when they steal a bus and drive it out of the show-rooms. However, this does not detract from the whole. This film is a monument. Even if your French is not up to much, please bear seeing it with sub-titles. `Le Huitième Jour' is worth the trouble. As for anything else, well, just read the following commentaries – I go along with all of them. This film is a joy, it is majestic, it is unique. If you have seen `Rain Man' which I consider an excellent film, you must see this one: it is far superior because it has not the superficial veneer of famous Hollywood-produced world-renowned actors; it has Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil – TEN oscars for these two, and three more for Jaco van Dormael. Who cares…………? Yes: 11 out of 10 if the IMDb rating doesn't break down under the strain.

Magnifique! Chapeau!

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

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