Up 11,350 this week

Ridicule (1996)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 5,188 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 33 critic

To get royal backing on a needed drainage project, a poor French lord must learn to play the delicate games of wit at court at Versailles.



(scenario), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 11 Jun 2011
a list of 24 titles
created 24 Jun 2012
a list of 42 titles
created 5 months ago
a list of 32 titles
created 3 months ago
a list of 40 titles
created 3 weeks ago

Related Items

Search for "Ridicule" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Ridicule (1996)

Ridicule (1996) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Ridicule.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twelve-year-old Antoine falls profoundly in love with a voluptuous but suicidal hairdresser, a formative experience he never forgets. Much later in life, he seeks to repeat his romance by ... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, Roland Bertin
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

It's night on a Paris bridge. A girl leans over Seine River with tears in her eyes and a violent yearning to drown her sorrows. Out of nowhere someone takes an interest in her. He is Gabor,... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Vanessa Paradis, Daniel Auteuil, Frédéric Pfluger
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three men, three women, opposites, possibilities, and tastes. Castella owns a industrial steel barrel plant in Rouen; Bruno is his flute-playing driver, Franck is his temporary bodyguard ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Jaoui
Stars: Anne Alvaro, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Alain Chabat
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A teacher and a gangster meet by chance in a small town pharmacy. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-François Stévenin
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In a small French colony, a drunken man kills someone. While a guillotine is being shipped in, he changes, becoming a good and popular man.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Frenchwoman tells her marital troubles to a man she mistakes for a psychiatrist, and soon they form an unusual relationship.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Fabrice Luchini, Michel Duchaussoy
Monsieur Hire (1989)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A recluse is accused of murdering a young woman simply because his neighbors think he is strange.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier
Love Street (2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A handyman in a 1940s Paris brothel tries to help the prostitute he loves with her singing career and romantic life.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Patrick Timsit, Laetitia Casta, Vincent Elbaz
Tango (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vincent, a stunt pilot, is acquitted of murdering his wife and her lover. However, a few years later, L'Elegant, the Judge in the case, comes to blackmail him. The Judge's nephew, Paul, is ... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Richard Bohringer, Thierry Lhermitte
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

Director: Wolfgang Becker
Stars: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Three aging and failed comedians, Georges Cox, Victor Vialat and Eddie Carpentier, hit the road again with a lousy production of a lousy play, of course under the worst possible conditions.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean-Pierre Marielle, Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Philippe Torreton, Alain Bashung


Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard Giraudeau ...
Bernard Dhéran ...
Monsieur de Montalieri
Carlo Brandt ...
Le Chevalier de Milletail
Jacques Mathou ...
Abbé de l'Epée
Urbain Cancelier ...
Albert Delpy ...
Baron de Guéret
Bruno Zanardi ...
Marie Pillet ...
Jacques Roman ...
Philippe Magnan ...
Baron de Malenval
Maurice Chevit ...
Le Notaire


In the periwigged and opulent France of Louis XVI, an unwitting nobleman soon discovers that survival at court demands both a razor wit and an acid tongue. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Il n'epargne personne. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic nudity, some sexuality and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

22 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baronul  »

Box Office


FRF 50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$48,539 (USA) (22 November 1996)


ITL 503,641,000 (Italy) (11 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Opening film at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. See more »


Gregoire Ponceludon de Malavoy: Le roi n'est pas un sujet.
See more »


Referenced in Baghead (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An excellent period film.
2 April 2001 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

Ridicule deals with the consequences of a monarch or ruler running his empire according to his own personal interests, rather than concern for the greater good of the people. There were also a couple of underlying themes, such as the distribution of social classes overall and the ignorance of the upper classes, as well as the human suffering that comes as a result of arrogance, ego, and social status. A romantic conflict was a significant part of the story, dealing with the pain and guilt that someone may feel from seducing one person for manipulative purposes and actually being in love with a different person.

The story is of a man named Ponceludon de Malavoy who needs to drain a mosquito and disease infested swamp, but he needs King Louis XVI's help to do it. He travels to Versailles, but finds that he needs to have the sharpest of all wits in order for the king to recognize his problem at all. He finds himself in a society driven almost exclusively by the measure of each person's wit (or `hew-mah,' as they heard it was called in English), and the seriousness of Ponceludon's plight was second to this point, if it is noticed at all. It was more important to King Louis XVI to be entertained than it was to drain a swamp that was causing sickness and death even among children.

One scene in particular was very effective in demonstrating the ignorance of the upper class. There was a boy named Paul who was a deaf-mute, and seen as a `half-wit' by the upper class people. Obviously, in this society this is the last thing that anyone wants to be. He is exiled from the kingdom, sent to live with other ‘half-wits,' only to return later with several other deaf-mutes after having learned to communicate using sign language. They are introduced to the upper class members, who are skeptical about the worth of the half-wits' lives. When they see that these kids are able to communicate, they are noticeably impressed. They even give them a standing applaud when one of them manages to make a `play on signs.' They see that these kids are not only intelligent enough to communicate, but can even be witty using sign language, and this completely changes their view. They had always seen people like Paul as less important, simply because they are not able to speak or hear, which is clearly a symptom of classical ignorance.

Ridicule is a period film, and it was very effective in illustrating the differences between elements of society today and of the society of 1793. Obviously, honesty is very highly valued today. A recent survey showed that honesty is the third thing that women truly desire in a relationship (preceded by affection at No.1 and conversation at No.2). The same survey showed sex to be Number one on men's importance list, and this completes one of the sharpest contrasts seen in Ridicule. Ponceludon de Malavoy, the man seeking to have his swamp drained, is engaging in a sexual relationship with Marquis de Bellegarde, an attractive older woman of much higher social status (!!). When he informs her of his lack of emotional feelings for her, she responds in a way that, in my opinion, is exactly the opposite of the way a woman today would respond, by literally telling him to lie to her. She tells him, `Learn to hide your insincerity so that I can yield without dishonor.' Aside from the fact that this shows that she would rather be bedded than loved, at least by Ponceludon, it also enhances the drama caused by his love for someone else, and his obvious feelings of guilt about sleeping with another woman. Ponceludon does not love her, but knows that she is capable of improving his chances of getting help from the king.

Ponceludon, despite having sexual relations with Marquis de Bellegarde, the older upper class woman, is in love with a simpler, poorer woman named Mathilde. She develops very strong feelings for him as well, but she is engaged to a very old, very rich man. She is determined to remain engaged to him, even though he is currently married to another woman, so that he may finance her scuba diving interests. The fact that Ponceludon and Mathilde are both engaged in strikingly similar manipulative relationships makes their love for each other even more effective.

There were dancing scenes later in the film where everyone wears masks and huge elaborate wigs, which demonstrated a dire need to be accepted. The fact that all of the wigs and masks worn in this scene were strikingly similar suggested that these people desired to be as much like everyone else as possible, and that individuality is discouraged. The men wore white powder on their faces, blush on their cheeks, and even distinct amounts of lipstick. Aside from being another way of illustrating conformity, it also poses a huge difference between then and now. In today's society, men who wear that much make-up are most often the ones who are actually trying NOT to fit in with the general population.

One other thing that is worth mentioning is the fact that the exact words or topics spoken in the film are far less important than the way that they are said. Body language as well as things like costuming and make-up are far more important than the exact subjects that were spoken of. This was most effectively communicated to the audience by the fact that there were a few scenes where the French conversation was not subtitled. This forced the audience, particularly the English speaking audience, to focus more on the way the characters were speaking to each other rather than what exactly they were saying. This is very unusual, but is also noteworthy because it successfully furthers the meaning delivered by the film.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Fanny Ardant is fantastic novanna
Half of a Great Movie neckert7
Wonderful Film 1700s
Classifications in Ridicule acumensch
Don't you have the impression... intigfx
Mistake on photo 35/36 kkv-3
Discuss Ridicule (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: