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Le petit lieutenant
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Le petit lieutenant (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 28% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Xavier Beauvois (scenario) &
Guillaume Bréaud (scenario) ...
View company contact information for Le petit lieutenant on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 November 2005 (France) See more »
A rookie policeman from provincial Le Havre volunteers for the high pressure Parisian homicide bureau and is assigned to a middle-aged woman detective. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Out of a familiar genre something fresh and touching See more (23 total) »


  (in credits order)

Nathalie Baye ... Commandant Caroline "Caro" Vaudieu
Jalil Lespert ... Antoine Derouère

Roschdy Zem ... Solo
Antoine Chappey ... Louis Mallet

Jacques Perrin ... Le juge Serge Clermont
Bruce Myers ... L'Anglais
Patrick Chauvel ... Le lieutenant Patrick Belval
Jean Lespert ... M. Derouère, le père d'Antoine
Annick Le Goff ... Mme Derouère, la mère d'Antoine
Bérangère Allaux ... Julie Derouère, la femme d'Antoine
Mireille Franchino ... Mireille, la logeuse
Yaniss Lespert ... Alex Derouère, le frère d'Antoine (as Yanis Lespert)

Xavier Beauvois ... Nicolas Morbé
Philippe Lecompt ... Armurier
Pierre Aussedat ... Commissaire
Rémy Roubakha ... Marchand
Riton Liebman ... Jean (Alcooliques Anonymes)

Jérôme Bertin ... Alain (Alcooliques Anonymes)
Christophe Jannin ... Richard
Alex Agnostopoulos ... Hervé
Jacques Dohet ... Inspecteur
Christophe Auphan ... Stups 1
Eric Cotelle ... Stups 2
Loïc Hermetz ... Stups 3
Fabien Le Bars ... Stups 4
Foued Mansour ... Stups 5
Foued Mjahed ... Stups 6
Pascal Pecout ... Stups 7
Isabelle Tillou ... Pharmacienne
Arthur Smykiewicz ... Andrzej Walesa
Cyril Coatleven ... Feuvret
Luc Minouflet ... Skelettor
Alain Serra ... Jean-Pierre 1
Ludovic Legros ... Jean-Pierre 2
Arthur Beauvois ... Enfant canal 1
Antoine Beauvois ... Enfant canal 2
Ferdinand Régent ... Enfant canal 3
Michaël Sabot ... Brigadier fluvial
Wieslaw Puzio ... Kaminsky
Pekka Vahde ... SDF banc
Mélanie Leray ... Femme de Solo
Nina Zem ... Fille de Solo
Chad Zem ... Fils de Solo
Louis Chappey ... Fils de Malley
Pierre-Olivier Mattei ... Médecin légiste
Rafael Gray ... Photographe
Augustin Werkoff ... Le "héros" du Port Autonome
Claire Langmann ... Interne de garde
Michel Terrioux ... Musicien club de jazz
Ahmet Gülbay ... Musicien club de jazz
Michel Zenino ... Musicien club de jazz
Jacques Rutkiewicz ... SDF polonais
Caroline Champetier ... Femme dans le train
Réginald Huguenin ... Viticulteur M. Richer
Allain Naron ... Gardien du premier foyer (as Alain Naron)
Oleg Kasian ... Anton Doudalev
Eric Cremades ... Gardien dernier foyer

Olivier Schneider ... Pavel Dimitrov
Jean-Charles Dumay ... Juge d'instruction
Jean-Paul Salomé ... Médecin
Bruno Villain ... Pilier de bar
Gérard Bousquet ... IGS 1
Guy Bertrand ... IGS 2
Elie Dasan ... Piotr Panfilev
Guiorgui Messaryguine ... L'interprète
Père Constantin ... Le pope
Stéphane Touitou ... Réceptionniste hôpital
Gérard Couchet ... Prêtre
Sébastien Lafargue ... Lieutenant Nice
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dominique de Villepin ... Himself (voice)

Waléra Kanischtscheff ... Anton Doudalev (voice)

Directed by
Xavier Beauvois 
Writing credits
Xavier Beauvois (scenario) &
Guillaume Bréaud (scenario) &
Jean-Eric Troubat (scenario)

Cédric Anger (collaboration)

Xavier Beauvois (adaptation and dialogue) &
Guillaume Bréaud (adaptation and dialogue)

Produced by
Martine Cassinelli .... executive producer
Pascal Caucheteux .... producer
Cinematography by
Caroline Champetier 
Film Editing by
Martine Giordano 
Casting by
Stéphane Batut 
Stéphane Touitou 
Production Design by
Alain Tchilinguirian 
Costume Design by
Marielle Robaut 
Makeup Department
Françoise Andrejka .... key makeup artist
Jane Milon .... key hair stylist
Annabelle Petit .... makeup artist
Barbara Schneider .... makeup artist
Production Management
Laurencina Lam .... post-production manager
Claire Langmann .... unit production manager
Patrick Legac .... assistant unit manager
Thibault Spiral .... assistant unit manager
Monica Taverna .... assistant production manager
Monica Taverna .... assistant unit manager
Isabelle Tillou .... production manager
Augustin Werkoff .... assistant unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michaela Stella Bagnoli .... trainee assistant director
Hubert Barbin .... first assistant director
Cyril Duval .... second assistant director
Denis Kralj .... assistant director: location
Tessa Louise-Salomé .... assistant director
Art Department
Antoine Galinié .... property master
Chloe Leguay .... assistant property master (as Chloé Leguay)
Claire Massard .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Emmanuel Augeard .... sound editor
Eric Bonnard .... sound mixer
Frank Ceven .... assistant foley artist
Pascal Chauvin .... foley artist
Jean-Jacques Ferran .... sound
Carl Goetgheluck .... sound re-recording mixer
Marc Mnémosyne .... sound mix technician
Jean-Max Morise .... post-synchronization
Julien Tellier .... sound trainee
Véronique Tiron .... boom operator (as Véronique Tison)
Special Effects by
Benoit Talenton .... special effects
Olivier Zenenski .... special effects
Gilles Conseil .... stunts
Pascal Guégan .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy-Auguste Boléat .... key grip
Thibaud Charles .... electrician
Andre Chemetoff .... second assistant camera
Emmanuel Demorgon .... gaffer
Nicolas Dollander .... Steadicam operator
Emile Dubuisson .... first assistant camera
Tiphaine Porsan .... grip
Aurélien Py .... assistant camera
Aurélien Py .... camera probationner
Aurélien Py .... trainee assistant camera
Jean-Baptiste Thibaud .... Steadicam operator
Thierry Valletoux .... still photographer
Jerome Vonard .... generator operator
Casting Department
Christiane Barale .... extras casting
Estelle Chailloux .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Priscillia Van Sprengel .... costumer
Editorial Department
Miguel Bejo .... telecine dailies colorist
Bruno Chiavassa .... color timer
Albertine Lastera .... assistant editor
Marie-Julie Maille .... assistant editor
Gerard Savary .... color timer
Other crew
David Barbas .... technical advisor
Laurent Berthou .... administrator
Agnès Chabot .... press attache
Agathe Grau .... script supervisor
David Krali .... location scout
Tessa Louise-Salomé .... location scout
Dominique Besnehard .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Young Lieutenant" - International (English title)
See more »
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Visa d'exploitation en France #111314See more »
Boom mic visible: Reflected in window as Vaudieu and Solo exit the church.See more »
Antoine Derouère:[Noticing a lizard in a terrarium in the office] Why keep lizards here?
Homicide detective:They help me to relax.
Antoine Derouère:I don't like to see animals locked up. Fish in a bowl suck!
Homicide detective:You're paid to lock Arabs and Blacks up. If you freak out over lizards, you won't get far.
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Podium (2004)See more »


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40 out of 47 people found the following review useful.
Out of a familiar genre something fresh and touching, 18 March 2006
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

There's nothing very original about a rookie police officer from the provinces fresh out of police academy on his first assignment in Paris tackling a homicide case, yet director Xavier Beauvois; his star, the experienced Nathale Baye (who got a César for Best Actress for this role); and the other actors, some rookies, others veterans, have made something so fresh, exiting, and touching out of this material you almost feel as if nobody made a flic (cop) flick in France before – though of course such things are a longtime specialty there. Beauvois' Le Petit lieutenant simply shows that the French really know how to make movies. It doesn't matter how familiar the genre is, they can create something with texture and authenticity out of it.

For me the rich feel Beauvois brings to his seemingly conventional material begins with the fact that there's no background music – it gives events on screen an unadorned quality – and with the way Beauvois, who's still in his thirties, puts his own basic experience into the story. Antoine (Jalil Lespert), the "petit lieutenant," the rookie, grew up in Normandy dreaming of being a cop in Paris where the great crimes are solved, he says – inspired by watching movies too. Beauvois grew up in Normandy himself, dreaming the same kind of dreams, watching movies, only the dreams were dreams of going to Paris where the great movies are made. Make the simple equation: Crimes+movies=crime movies and you've got a director who's making a parable about his own life.

Caroline Vaudieu (Baye), the Inspector who chooses Antoine for her crime unit, is returning to work on the street again from a long period of the alcoholism that blighted both Beauvois' father's and his own life. Twelve-step recovery and addiction are felt and understood in the film. The AA meetings Caroline attends are in real AA meeting rooms with real alcoholics on screen. Caroline and Antoine are linked in ways that are felt, not contrived. She lost her son to meningitis nine years ago and Antoine's the age her son would be if he'd lived. Antoine's elementary school teacher wife has stayed in Normandy and now he has a room in Paris. He and Caroline share lonely lives; both are making a new start. And the casting is close to home in multiple ways: Beauvois, who also acts in the film as one of the crime team, Morbé, has cast Jalil's actor father Jean and brother Yaniss as his father and brother and his actress wife Bérangère Allaux as his wife.

The opening scenes of Antoine's graduation from police academy and being embraced and congratulated by his family, and the elaborate procedure by which the assignments are handed out to the new graduates, are moments that in other hands might seem routine, but here they fairly bristle with authenticity. Such realism takes time to achieve. Eventually Le Petit lieutenant is going to become exciting, even hair-raising, but it doesn't have the BANG! BANG! opening sequences dear to US directors, nor are those openings about Antoine simply routine: they're the beginning of an extended portrait of Antoine and his new life in Paris. This movie is fundamentally humanistic and it doesn't hurry because we need to get to know Antoine and the team he works with, feel the boredom and routine that are big parts of any cop's life, acquaint ourselves with the details of their personalities.

Somehow I don't think a rookie in an American cop movie would tell his dad that the extraction of a brain in his first witnessed autopsy made him think of Mozart and say "It's strange, I thought: 'Mozart was made of this too.'" There's no "need" for that moment; but it makes all the difference. It's of such moments that good movies are made.

Antoine's on night duty at first and when his team goes out he's made to stay behind to man phones. He gets drunk to celebrate his initiation, which is good for camaraderie (and for the rounding out of Antoine's character) but hard for Inspector Vaudrieu, who must stand by drinking nothing but soda water. As the film, knowing about alcoholism, makes us aware, the alcoholic is only one drink away from relapse, and such times are hard for Caroline. She has to leave the bar and go home early. Later naively the rookie admits to her he used to smoke the occasional joint and surprisingly, she shares one with him. There are inevitable hints from the outside that they might have an affair, but given the feelings, that would be incest. What's clear is that though not much time has passed, they've become close.

The first homicide is a homeless person in the Seine – petty stuff. But there are connections with another crime and the investigation turns serious. Eventually a failure of responsibility of one of the men leads to dire consequences. When the action really heats up, it's a shock that hits you in the stomach. The "dull, routine" establishing sequences have lulled you and made you forget that violence might be coming. They've also made you understand and care about the characters in an authentic-feeling way so that when somebody is at risk, you take it quite personally and the whole final section of the movie as its focus shifts more and more to Inspector Vaudrieu is tinged with overwhelming sadness.

Nothing that happens in Le Petit lieutenant is out of the ordinary. What's exceptional is the way the screenplay is written to make you care. There's excitement, tension, violence. But it's brilliantly yet understatedly contextualized. The awareness communicated is that cops' frequently numbing work can also be thrilling, important – and heartbreaking. Hollywood sends that message out too, but too often in tired language. Because Beauvois' team clearly cared about their work they've been able to show us cops that do so too.

(NYC March 2006.)

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