The Firemen's Ball (1967) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A volunteer fire department throws a party for their former boss with the whole town invited, but nothing goes as planned.

    Will S
  • The volunteer fire department in a small town is having a big party when the ex-boss of the department celebrates his 86th birthday. The whole town is invited but things don't go as planned. Someone is stealing the prizes to the lottery and the candidates for the Miss Fire-Department beauty contest are neither willing nor particularly beautiful.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Key to understanding this movie is Milos Forman's own filmed "introduction" where he responds with faux seriousness to "the protests by firemen around the country and around the world" to his movie. He begins saying, "well you know it's really about firemen, it's about society ..." and then stops, smiles and says "But you know what? It _really is_ about Firemen." This movie was made in the last years before the beginning of the Prague Spring ...

    Now for the plot. A group of firemen at a station in a nondescript town somewhere in (still Communist) Czechoslovakia decides to honor its retiring chief at the upcoming firemen's ball. The planning committee for dance is hoping to put on a good dance, livening things up with a few small innovations. A raffle of prizes is promised as well as beauty pageant.

    Well, the committee proves to have no idea how to run a beauty pageant and as the dance continues the door prizes progressively get stolen. Finally, a fire strikes a house near the station. Distracted by the dance, the firefighters can't even get the fire truck out to the fire in time. The older man and his family who had lived in the house that has now largely burned down is found simply praying the "Our Father" as the helpless and rather embarrassed firefighters stand helplessly by...

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