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The Battle of the Rails (1946)

Bataille du rail (original title)
This movie is a story about French railroad workers who were part of organized resistance during the German WW2 occupation.

Director:

René Clément

Writers:

René Clément (scenario), Colette Audry (dialogue)
Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marcel Barnault Marcel Barnault ... (as Barnault)
Jean Clarieux Jean Clarieux ... Lampin (as Clarieux)
Jean Daurand Jean Daurand ... Cheminot (as Daurand)
Jacques Desagneaux Jacques Desagneaux ... Athos (as Desagneaux)
François Joux François Joux ... Cheminot (as Joux)
Pierre Latour Pierre Latour ... Cheminot (as Latour)
Tony Laurent Tony Laurent ... Camargue
Robert Le Ray Robert Le Ray ... Chef de gare (as Leray)
Pierre Lozach Pierre Lozach ... Cheminot (as Lozach)
Pierre Mindaist Pierre Mindaist ... Cheminot (as Mindaist)
Léon Pauléon Léon Pauléon ... Chef de gare St-André (as Pauleon)
Fernand Rauzéna Fernand Rauzéna ... Cheminot (as Rauzena)
Redon Redon ... Mecanicien
Michel Salina Michel Salina ... Allemand (as Salina)
Max Woll Max Woll
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Storyline

This movie is a story about French railroad workers who were part of organized resistance during the German WW2 occupation.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The untold story of how they killed, how they plundered, how they stopped the last train! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German

Release Date:

27 February 1946 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Battle of the Rails See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast is comprised of non-professionals who are all only referred to by their surnames in the opening credits. See more »

Crazy Credits

(in cast) et Les cheminots de France See more »

Connections

Featured in Cannes... les 400 coups (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An exceptional tribute to some brave men...
16 March 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

René Clément directed this exceptional film which captures an important but often ignored part of the Allied war effort in WWII. It chronicles the efforts by the French railway workers to hinder the German war machine. What makes the film work wonderfully is the non-professional actors--like the Neo-realist actors in post-war Italian films (such as by DeSica and Rossellini). This gives the movie a great sense of realism--almost like a documentary that was somehow filmed as events really took place--though it was made just after the war.

The film begins sometime after the German occupation began--it's never exactly certain. During this time, random acts of sabotage occur but they are mostly annoying and are seemingly unorganized. However, partway through the film, the Resistance receives word that the Normandy invasion has occurred. Suddenly, the full extent of the French Resistance is obvious, as the entire effort to use the rails to reinforce the German army are frustrated in many, many ways--ranging from sabotaging the tracks and equipment to even attacks on the trains themselves by partisans.

"La Bataille du Rail" ("The Battle of the Rails") works very well--mostly because in addition to the non-actors working in the film, the director and writers (one of which was the director himself) used a lot of tense little vignettes in the film to draw in the viewer. Perhaps some today might find it all a bit boring (after all, they are more interested, perhaps, in seeing the newest Brandon Frazier film), but as a history teacher, I think it's a must-see! Wonderful.

By the way, you can't blame the film makers for this, but the print I saw was pretty shabby. It had a lot of scratches and the white captions were poor--blending into the scenes at times and also, occasionally, mistranslated or using jargon that is too technical (full of railroad terms and jargon). I would LOVE to see this film restored and re-captioned!


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