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

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  7 March 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,663 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The musical score was composed by director Jaco Van Dormael's brother Pierre van Dormael. See more »


[last lines]
Harry: On the eighth day, God created Georges. And he saw that it was good.
See more »


Referenced in Pumpkin (2002) See more »


(from operette "Le chanteur de Mexico")
Music by Francis Lopez (as Francis López)
Lyrics by Raymond Vincy
Performed by Luis Mariano
See more »

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User Reviews

Of Mice And Rain Men
17 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

Foolishly, without bothering to learn any more about it than that it involved Daniel Auteuil and a guy with Downs Syndrome, I avoided this classic til a couple of days ago when they were offering the video for silly money. Let me put my ten cents in with every comment I have read here immediately and state categorically that this film is a JOY. Okay, you know going in that a major character is handicapped so you figure that at some point the movie is going to manipulate your emotions and you're ready for that but, like most things, it's all in the wrist, and this one has an extra metatarsal. It is, of course, the salesman who spends his life lecturing on how to manipulate the buyer who is himself manipulated by Georges - nice touch naming him after the 'normal' one of the two buddies in 'Of Mice And Men', where the retarded Lenny is looked after by George - the irritating, exasperating, impossible lovable guy who walks into his life after Harry nearly ran into his. Okay, to make this work you need to create a character who is the complete opposite of Georges, a guy literally too busy making money and being successful to stop and smell the roses. A guy who misses his daughters dreadfully since his estranged wife - it's not clear if they are divorced or just separated - took them away yet is so busy that he completely forgets to pick them up and leaves them waiting alone at the train station; who opts to attend a conference on his daughter's birthday, you get the picture. Georges misses someone, too. His mother, who is dead. Time and again in his loneliness and hurt he conjures her up and we see the great love they shared. This then, is the back story and the scene is set for what Hollywood used to call a 'meet-cute'. Here, Auteuil, in despair, his mind in a turmoil, driving through the rain runs over something large which he failed to see. Turns out to be the dog that had attached itself to Georges who has lit out from his residential home after watching all the other residents being picked up by relatives. Now all that is left is for Georges to 'change' Harry, to humanise him if you will and this he does in spades. This is a film chock full of laughter and tears and the fact that a leading French actress Miou-Miou agreed to play what is little more than a cameo as Harry's estranged wife speaks volumes for the quality of the writing. Now and again the cynicism surrounding the gongs of filmdom, especially the Oscars, get it right and how appropriate that BOTH these superb actors copped the 'Best Actor' nod at Cannes. 10/10

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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