8.1/10
24,226
93 user 113 critic

The Rules of the Game (1939)

La règle du jeu (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 8 April 1950 (USA)
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

Writers:

Jean Renoir (scenario & dialogue), Carl Koch (collaborator) (as Koch)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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

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
Stars: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay
L'Atalante (1934)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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
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
Tokyo Story (1953)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.

Director: Dziga Vertov
Stars: Mikhail Kaufman
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
L'Avventura (1960)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
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
Ugetsu (1953)
Drama | Fantasy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka
Sunrise (1927)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nora Gregor ... Christine de la Cheyniest (as Nora Grégor)
Paulette Dubost ... Lisette, sa camériste
Mila Parély Mila Parély ... Geneviève de Marras
Odette Talazac Odette Talazac ... Madame Charlotte de la Plante
Claire Gérard Claire Gérard ... Madame de la Bruyère
Anne Mayen Anne Mayen ... Jackie, nièce de Christine
Lise Elina Lise Elina ... Radio-Reporter (as Lise Élina)
Marcel Dalio ... Marquis Robert de la Cheyniest (as Dalio)
Julien Carette ... Marceau, le braconnier (as Carette)
Roland Toutain Roland Toutain ... André Jurieux
Gaston Modot ... Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
Jean Renoir ... Octave
Pierre Magnier ... Le général
Eddy Debray Eddy Debray ... Corneille, le majordome
Pierre Nay Pierre Nay ... Monsieur de St. Aubin
Edit

Storyline

On the brink of WWII, the record-breaking aviator, André Jurieux, safely lands at a small airport crammed with reporters, only to come face to face with his worst fear: the object of his desire, Christine--a blonde noblewoman and wife of the affluent Marquis de la Cheyniest, Robert--is not there to greet him. Intent on winning her back, André accepts his friend Octave's invitation for a lavish hunting weekend at the aristocrat's palatial country estate at La Coliniere, among hand-picked guests and the mansion's servants; however, intrigue, rivalries, and human weaknesses threaten to expose both royalty and paupers alike. Who will breach the unwritten rules of the game? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the two or three greatest films ever made in France.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German | English

Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rules of the Game See more »

Filming Locations:

Aubigny-sur-Nère, Cher, France See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 5,500,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #216. See more »

Goofs

When the hunting party starts, the animals (notably the rabbits) barely move. Even when the beaters are close to them, they move at the last moment. This because the animals were not wild as the plot required, but actually bred in captivity and hence used to human presence. For information, the killing is real: many animals died during the movie. See more »

Quotes

Christine de la Cheyniest: Women should help each other out once in a while.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Film historians Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand salvaged excised and unused footage and created a new longer version, presented at the 1959 Venice Film Festival. Where the original theatrical version was 91 minutes long, the new 1959 version was 106 minutes long, over fifteen minutes longer than the original cut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Days of Heaven (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

En revenant d'la revue
(uncredited)
Written by Louis Desormes, Lucien Delormel et Léon Garnier
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"Rules" Rules
24 June 2004 | by gcrokusSee all my reviews

One of the ways in which a film of some age can be immediately identified as great is that we do not really notice that it is old. The same elements that attract us contemporarily are as quickly noted in the landmark movies of yesteryear. So it is with `The Rules of the Game', Jean Renoir's flamboyantly provocative study of class distinction and human folly.

Long heralded as one of the great films of all time, it is of such complexity and has so much great dialogue that in fairness it should be viewed several times. There are so many complex shots and methods of capturing moments that one might discover a new item with each visit. These arrangements run the gamut of half a dozen actors criss-crossing the scope of a shot or the use of mirrors to perhaps focus our attention on something Renoir wants us to appreciate or tuck away for later rumination.

As the movie opens, Lise Elena (as the on-the-scene radio reporter) is perfect in conveying the energy and attention/attraction a record-setting Trans-Atlantic flight would have attracted at the time; the drama of the moment as pilot André Jurieux (Roland Toutain) lands amid pandemonium is caught exactly as it might occur. Renoir is giving us a hero that we almost immediately find is flawed and does not stand up to close inspection, as do none of the great political figures of that time. As the film progresses the hero Jurieux is found wanting in every regard, as it turns out.

Paulette Dubost (as the maid, Lisette) is introduced early as attendant to a key figure - Christine de la Cheyniest (played by Nora Gregor) – and is so heartbreakingly pretty even watching her eat an apple is a guilty pleasure. Christine turns out to be the hub of a wheel of fascination, deception, and unrequited love yet herself is only as exotic as her foreign background. This Mutt and Jeff pairing is nicely shown in drawing room scenes as the high-society semi-charmer is fawned over by the lovely Lisette.

The players intermingle primarily at the chateau of Christine's husband Robert (played by Dalio) and what unfolds is a tale that documents the excesses of both classes. We might say we see a series of interpersonal clashes amidst clueless-in-love slackers with the occasional agenda-wielding guest thrown in; but all this is recorded with just the right touch of realism. So we find that Christine's heart may well lie with the adoring Jurieux, that Lisette is not exactly pining for her gamekeeper husband Schumacher, Robert's lover is not sure of her need for him (or he of his feelings for her) and throughout poor Octave remains a stolid yet curiously uncommitted friend to all.

The only aspect of the film that does not come across well is the sometimes overly hammy acting of some of the players. But with the exception of Renoir himself (playing Octave) this over-the-topness comes in fits and starts, never overwhelming us at all. Renoir's Octave could have been played by Jackie Gleason to great effect.

Very noticeable to current viewers is the great similarity of the more recent `Gosford Park' to this 1939 Jean Renoir film. While Robert Altman's film focuses on class differences so piquantly, `Rules' is actually more sublime. But that hanky-panky and its inevitably hurtful consequence knows no class – despite `Rules' – could not be more fascinating than the depiction given it by Renoir in this film.

Rating: Four Stars.


27 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 93 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed