8.1/10
30,292
129 user 128 critic

La Grande Illusion (1937)

La grande illusion (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama , War | 12 September 1938 (USA)
Trailer
2:05 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.

Director:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Charles Spaak (scenario and dialogue), Jean Renoir (scenario and dialogue)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
L'Atalante (1934)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo
Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis
Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A military deserter finds love and trouble (and a small dog) in a smoky French port city.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
A Man Escaped (1956)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love with a man at the inn, where they spend the day.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Jane Marken, Georges D'Arnoux
Stagecoach (1939)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

Director: Robert Bresson
Stars: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Gabin ... Le lieutenant Maréchal
Dita Parlo ... Elsa
Pierre Fresnay ... Le captaine de Boeldieu
Erich von Stroheim ... Le captaine von Rauffenstein (as Eric von Stroheim)
Julien Carette ... Cartier - l'acteur (as Carette)
Georges Péclet Georges Péclet ... Le serrurier (as Peclet)
Werner Florian Werner Florian ... Le sergent Arthur
Jean Dasté ... L'instituteur (as Daste)
Sylvain Itkine Sylvain Itkine ... Le lieutenant Demolder (as Itkine)
Gaston Modot ... L'ingénieur (as Modot)
Marcel Dalio ... Le lieutenant Rosenthal (as Dalio)
Edit

Storyline

During 1st WW, two French officers are captured. Captain De Boeldieu is an aristocrat while Lieutenant Marechal was a mechanic in civilian life. They meet other prisoners from various backgrounds, as Rosenthal, son of wealthy Jewish bankers. They are separated from Rosenthal before managing to escape. A few months later, they meet again in a fortress commanded by the aristocrat Van Rauffenstein. De Boeldieu strikes up a friendship with him but Marechal and Rosenthal still want to escape... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Film of Great Power and Compassion! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German | English | Russian

Release Date:

12 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Grand Illusion See more »

Filming Locations:

Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, France See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,793, 13 August 1999

Gross USA:

$172,885, 2 December 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1937 release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich von Stroheim clashed with Jean Renoir in the early days of shooting, and the director later said the actor "behaved intolerably." They had one argument over whether or not there should be prostitutes in the German quarters, a detail Von Stroheim thought would lend greater authenticity but which Renoir rejected as a childish cliche. The dispute so distressed Renoir he burst into tears, which caused Von Stroheim to do the same. They fell into each other's arms, and Renoir said that rather than quarrel with an artist he so greatly admired, he would give up directing the film altogether. Von Stroheim promised from that point on to follow Renoir's instructions to the letter, and he kept his word. Looking back on the production, the actor said, "I have never found a more sympathetic, understanding and artistic director and friend than Jean Renoir." See more »

Goofs

As the WWI German soldiers are celebrating a French fort's capture, the map on the wall of the officers club is clearly an inter-war (1919-1938) map of Germany. See more »

Quotes

Capt. von Rauffenstein: Drive fast to the sugar refinery. I shot down a French plane. If the crew are officers, invite them here for lunch.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Brows Held High: Beauty and the Beast: Part 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Humanist Classic
31 January 2002 | by MasooSee all my reviews

Grand Illusion is a movie about class that doesn't hate anyone. How often does that happen? Yes, there are namby-pamby movies that "show all sides" and bore everyone with their non-existent point-of-view, but that's not what I mean. And, of course, there are plenty of movies about class that reveal their biases from the start; I'm rather fond of Eat the Rich movies, myself. But Grand Illusion is about class without dismissing any of its characters. The aristocrats whose world is disappearing are presented as tragic figures, stuck in a code of life that is rapidly becoming meaningless. Both aristocrats know their time is past; the French one accepts this as probably a good thing, the German one doesn't (and blames the French one's sentiments on the French Revolution), but they both know their way of life is soon to be forgotten. And it would be easy for Renoir, when he made the film in the mid-30s a French communist with proletarian sympathies, to demonize these two. But he doesn't; he allows them their humanity, which is the most characteristic feature of Renoir movies in any event (he is the great humanist of movie history).

Nor does he show the collapse of the old way as an unfortunate preface to chaos. The bourgeois characters are good people. The world might be safe in their hands, as safe as in any other hands at least (except for the propensity among nations for war). All of the middle and lower-class characters in the movie are presented as people, not stereotypes. But Renoir doesn't accomplish this by collapsing all class boundaries into some homogenous universalism. These characters remain trapped within their class, and their class is clear to the viewer. The movie is not about the absence of class but about the crushing ironies of the very real existence of class in the lives of the characters. To show all classes without condescension, while retaining a particular point of view (that while people are good, it's best that the aristocratic world is in decline), is pretty amazing.

In Grand Illusion, the nominal hero is working/middle-class, but the upper class isn't evil and the lower class isn't romanticized or dismissed. And it's all accomplished in such a seamless way that many, if not most, first-time viewers might easily think it was a fine movie but something less than great. It sneaks up on you, and more than just about any film you can name, rewards multiple viewings.


120 of 136 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 129 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed