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Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Bonjour tristesse (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | February 1958 (USA)
1:37 | Trailer
Cecile, decadent young girl who lives with her rich playboy father Raymond. When Anne, Raymond's old love interest, comes to Raymond's villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life.


Otto Preminger


Arthur Laurents (screenplay), Françoise Sagan (based on the novel by) (as Francoise Sagan)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Deborah Kerr ... Anne Larson
David Niven ... Raymond
Jean Seberg ... Cecile
Mylène Demongeot ... Elsa
Geoffrey Horne ... Philippe
Juliette Gréco ... Self
Walter Chiari ... Pablo
Martita Hunt ... Philippe's Mother
Roland Culver ... Mr. Lombard
Jean Kent ... Mrs. Helen Lombard
David Oxley ... Jacques
Elga Andersen ... Denise
Jeremy Burnham ... Hubert
Eveline Eyfel Eveline Eyfel ... Maid


Cecile, decadent young girl who lives with her rich playboy father Raymond. When Anne, Raymond's old love interest, comes to Raymond's villa, Cecile is afraid for her way of life. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


David Niven won the Best Actor Oscar the year "Bonjour Tristesse" was released, but not for this film. He won for "Separate Tables," which, at 15 minutes and 38 seconds of screen time, is the shortest Best Actor Oscar-winning performance of all time. See more »


We hear the Band at c.6'50" and we see a clarinet-player performing, but the music has no clarinet part whatsoever included at that point in the soundtrack. Later, when the clarinet does eventually join the soundtrack, the fingering of the player bears absolutely no relation to the music actually being heard. See more »


Pablo: [Talking to Cecile and Phillipe at the bar] You two are not drunk on anything. Very bad. To live, you must be drunk on something... uh, love, money, success, failure, even whiskey, but *something*!
Cecile: You may be drunk, but you're right!
Pablo: Of course I'm right, I'm rich... or maybe it's the other way around.
Cecile: [giggling] You always have such a good time.
Pablo: Always. Except when I'm home in America. Not *North* America...
Philippe: *South* America!
Pablo: You tell someone you are rich and from America, and they *always* think you ...
See more »


Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.54 (1961) See more »


Bonjour Tristesse
Music by Georges Auric
English lyrics by Arthur Laurents
Sung by Juliette Gréco
See more »

User Reviews

Sunshine with No Shadow
9 May 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Reviews of this film are more interesting and thought provoking than most. A number of them convey critical insights that certainly deepened my appreciation. Yes, the film is flawed, but it also resonates beyond standard soap opera mainly because of its tragic central premise. That the movie doesn't fully realize its aim, I'm sorry to say, is largely because of limitations in Seberg's performance. I agree, she's a lively and compelling screen presence with a freshness that's genuinely appealing. However, the role of Cecile calls upon more emotional depth than Seberg manages to convey, especially with the absence of troubled emotions. Thus the sense of tragic outcome stems from sources other than Seberg's performance. Now, there are several ways of looking at Cecile's emotional make-up and maturity, but there's one I believe that most strongly recommends itself and also puts Seberg's performance in the best light.

On this view, Seberg has Cecile's character just right during the sunny Technicolor phase. Cecile is simply too immature to realize the potential consequences of her scheming actions. Thus, Cecile (Seberg) attaches no more gravity to breaking up her father's relationship than she does to skipping her studies. She's all spoiled selfishness wrapped in a winsome smile. And it's not until the car crash that she realizes the consequences of her selfish act, and experiences an emotional depth for the first time. Her scheme thus results not from making a wrongful choice but from not even realizing that a choice is being made. This view would vindicate nine-tenths of Seberg's unconflicted Technicolor performance, but not the black- and-white phase where Seberg fails to convey the conflict required. This view would also explain the added features of narration, color change and Saul Bass graphics once Preminger realizes that Seberg's performance is not enough to convey the necessary sense of tragedy.

Despite this central flaw, the movie remains oddly haunting. Maybe it's because of a sun- washed paradise so carelessly lost, or of a summer of such promise turned into a lifetime of regret. I really like the observation that father and daughter behave as though actions have no consequences. As a result, their humanity is only realized once the importance of this lesson is tragically driven home. Only by then, it's too late. In my view, the movie remains regrettably underrated.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

February 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bonjour Tristesse See more »

Filming Locations:

Côte d'Azur, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wheel Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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