5 user 5 critic

The Oldest Profession (1967)

Le plus vieux métier du monde (original title)
A collection of sketches on prostitution through the ages. 1) "The Prehistoric Era": A caveman discovers that a cavewoman is more attractive when cave paint is applied to her face. And she ... See full summary »


Ennio Flaiano (screenplay), Daniel Boulanger (screenplay) | 4 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video


Learn more

More Like This 

Made in U.S.A (1966)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the near future, leftist writer Paula goes from Paris to the French town of Atlantic-Cité when she learns of the death of a former colleague and lover, Richard P. Is she there to ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, László Szabó, Jean-Pierre Léaud
Le Gai Savoir (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

How do we learn? What do we know? Night after night, not long before dawn, two young adults, Patricia and Emile, meet on a sound stage to discuss learning, discourse, and the path to ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Juliet Berto, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jean-Luc Godard
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A day in the life of a Parisian housewife/prostitute, interspersed with musings on the Vietnam War and other contemporary issues.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Marina Vlady, Anny Duperey, Roger Montsoret
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Workers on a car factory argue with revolutionary students.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During the Algerian War, a man and woman from opposing sides fall in love with one another.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Anna Karina, Michel Subor, Henri-Jacques Huet
Weekend (1967)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A surreal tale of a married couple going on a road trip to visit the wife's parents with the intention of killing them for the inheritance.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A woman involved with a terrorist group becomes dangerously close to the police officer guarding the bank they plan to rob.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Maruschka Detmers, Jacques Bonnaffé, Myriem Roussel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A film about politics and the media, in which two workers in a newspaper plant attempt to make a film.

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Anne-Marie Miéville
Stars: Michel Marot, Anne-Marie Miéville
Six in Paris (1965)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Six vignettes set in different sections of Paris, by six directors. St. Germain des Pres (Douchet), Gare du Nord (Rouch), Rue St. Denis (Pollet), and Montparnasse et Levallois (Godard) are ... See full summary »

Directors: Claude Chabrol, Jean Douchet, and 4 more credits »
Stars: Jean-Pierre Andréani, Stéphane Audran, Nadine Ballot
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During a war in an imaginary country, unscrupulous soldiers recruit poor farmers with promises of an easy and happy life. Two of these farmers write to their wives of their exploits.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Patrice Moullet, Marino Masé, Geneviève Galéa
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Godard's documentation of late 1960s Western counter-culture, examining the Black Panthers, referring to works by LeRoi Jones and Eldridge Cleaver. Other notable subjects are the role of ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Sean Lynch, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Godard, Miéville and Gorin (aka the "Dziga Vertov Group") examine the parallel lives of two families - one French, one Palestinian - using an exploratory combination of film and video.

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Gorin, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jean-Luc Godard


Cast overview, first billed only:
Michèle Mercier ... Brit (segment "Ère préhistorique, L'") (as Michele Mercier)
Enrico Maria Salerno ... Rak (segment "Ère préhistorique, L'")
Gabriele Tinti ... L'uomo del mar (segment "Ère préhistorique, L'") (as Gabriel Tinti)
Elsa Martinelli ... Domitilla (segment "Nuits romaines, Les")
Gastone Moschin ... Flavius (segment "Nuits romaines, Les") (as Gaston Moschin)
Giancarlo Cobelli Giancarlo Cobelli ... Menippo, le poète (segment "Nuits romaines")
Jeanne Moreau ... Mimi (segment "Mademoiselle Mimi")
Catherine Samie ... Toinette (segment "Mademoiselle Mimi")
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Philibert (segment "Mademoiselle Mimi")
Jean Richard ... Le commissaire du peuple (segment "Mademoiselle Mimi")
Raquel Welch ... Nini (segment "Belle époque, La")
Martin Held Martin Held ... Edouard (segment "Belle époque, La")
Siegfried Schürenberg Siegfried Schürenberg ... (segment "Belle époque, La")
Tilly Lauenstein Tilly Lauenstein ... (segment "Belle époque, La")
Nadia Gray ... Nadia (segment "Aujourd'hui")


A collection of sketches on prostitution through the ages. 1) "The Prehistoric Era": A caveman discovers that a cavewoman is more attractive when cave paint is applied to her face. And she can earn more seashells that way. 2) "Roman Nights": The Emperor goes out seeking a little nocturnal amusement, only to find that the high-priced, Oriental courtesan he hires is his wife, the Empress. 3) "Mademoiselle Mimi": In revolutionary France, Mimi finds that her client, the nephew of a marquis, is more interested in watching the guillotinings out her window than he is in going to bed. 4) "The Gay Nineties": When Nini discovers by accident that her antiquated customer is a banker, she pretends to be an honest woman who has fallen in love with him. She even pays him, just like a gigolo! 5) "Paris Today": Two girls pick up clients by driving around in a car, and then an ambulance. Police pull the vehicle over for speeding. 6) "Anticipation": Demetrius has just arrived on Earth from another ... Written by David Carless

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A lusty look at a saucy sextet of lovely bawdies...! See more »


Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »



France | Italy | West Germany



Release Date:

8 November 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Oldest Profession See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Some good, some not so good and - something else entirely
4 March 2018 | by k_t_t2001See all my reviews

Sex sells. THE OLDEST PROFESSION (IN THE WORLD) is a both a film about selling sex and uses sex to sell itself. With the film divided into six segments with different storylines, directors and casts, how well it succeeds is something of a mixed bag.

The first segment - "The Prehistoric Era" - is set in a vaguely Flintstonesesque stone age where a young woman (Michèle Mercier), spurned by the man she is infatuated with, takes her revenge in a way that introduces the concept of paying for sex into the world. There is the germ of something here, but this segment never really goes anywhere. Mercier is too petulant and capricious, the other performances too flat. The whole affair is basically a one joke setup, badly told. On the other hand, it does sell sex. With Michèle Mercier running around in an animal skin bikini for the duration, there is eye candy aplenty.

For segment two - "Roman Nights" - we leap ahead a few hundred thousand years to Imperial Rome, in its decline. The Emperor Flavius (Gastone Moschin), depressed that the depleted state of the royal coffers prevents him from hosting a proper Roman orgy, sneaks off to an upscale public brothel, where he is at first shocked - and then excited - to discover that the woman he has just paid to have sex with is his moonlighting wife, the Empress Domitilla (Elsa Martinelli). In some ways this is perhaps the most disappointing segment. All the elements are here for what could have been a really enjoyable Carry-On style farce, but whole thing never really gels. Once again, the best thing about it is the eye candy. Elsa Martinelli - really only a supporting player - isn't given much to do, but she is afforded several glamour shots, and absolutely makes the most of them. She is utterly gorgeous here.

"Mademoiselle Mimi" takes us to France during the Reign of Terror. Mimi (Jeanne Moreau) is a successful prostitute/kept woman who seems to have nothing but contempt for the officials of the Committee of Public Safety who shower her with gifts - and proposals of marriage - but allows herself to be taken in by an obviously ersatz noble (Jean-Claude Brialy), claiming that he will inherit his uncle's vast estate, once said uncle loses his head to Madame Guillotine. If "Roman Nights" is the most disappointing segment because it fails to live up its potential, then "Mademoiselle Mimi" is the weakest, because it has none at all. The storyline is groan-worthy in its predictability, characters are uniformly unlikable and I found nothing at all to recommend about this segment. Frankly, I have never understood the appeal of Jeanne Moreau - either as one of France's supposedly great beauties or great actresses. On both counts - of her films I have seen - she consistently appears to have been at least a week without sleep, and her turn here does nothing to alter that impression.

The film's most successful segment, "The Good Times", features Raquel Welch as Nini, an obviously upscale prostitute in pre WWI Vienna, who - lamenting the recent dearth of well-heeled clientele - settles one evening for a rather dull-looking middle-aged prospect (Martin Held). Back at an apartment that he has "borrowed from a friend", there is an exceedingly brief wham, bam, thank you, ma'am encounter, following which the john falls into a coma-like slumber and Nini prepares to depart. However, when in the process of helping herself to a few bills from the man's wallet, she finds business cards revealing that he is in fact a very wealthy banker, Nini is struck by inspiration and plots a long game, with her sights on the big brass ring at the end. "The Good Times" is light, amusing, well paced and pays off for both Nini and the audience at the end. Additionally, Raquel Welch - at the height of her - considerable - beauty is quite good as Nini. All in all, things are looking up as we jump ahead in time once again.

Set in 1960's Paris, "Today" features France Anglade as Catherine, a modern day working girl, and Nadia Gray (playing a character called 'Nadia') as what is essentially her pimp - though that is decidedly too strong a term. Nadia is Catherine's manager, agent, enabler and chauffeur, but above all else, she is quite obviously her friend, and the relationship between the pair - and the shenanigans they get up to - has a very Lucy and Ethel feel to it. When Catherine suffers a setback due to an error in judgment in the course of her professional activities, it is Nadia - during a detour in the storyline - who comes up with the unconventional idea of conducting business in an ambulance. Of course, in typical Lucy and Ethel fashion, on their first night out in their new brothel on wheels, Catherine and Nadia catch the attention of the gendarmes and comedic panic ensues. "Today" is a thoroughly enjoyable segment, with engaging, likable characters and performances, broader humor and plenty of energy.

From the fluff and fun of "Today" the film shifts to the far future, and the film's final segment, with Jean-Luc Godard's "Anticipation". Set in a - literally - colourless and dystopian future, an ambassador from another galaxy (Jacques Charrier) discovers that existence on Earth has become so rigid and specialized that a prostitute he can have sex with (Marilù Tolo) cannot speak and a prostitute who can speak (Anna Karina) cannot have sex. Unsatisfied with either option, he introduces a new idea into this bleak world. This segment is so tonally out of sync with the rest of the film that it is very hard to render judgment on it. "Anticipation" is not a comedy. There are absurd elements, but while they might - possibly - elicit a slight smile, there is nary a chuckle to be found. Depending upon how charitable you are inclined to be, thematically and stylistically, "Anticipation" is really only an encapsulation or a rehashing of Godard's ALPHAVILE.

The US cut of THE OLDEST PROFESSION is some twenty minutes shorter than the European original and these trims are decidedly detrimental to the film. For the most part why these cuts were performed is incomprehensible to me, however in "Anticipation", they are blatantly made to remove the nudity that is unique to the Godard segment. Unnecessary colour tinting is added to this segment for the exact same reason.

A film that could only have been made in the 1960's - that odd era with its strange mix of "modern" sexual liberation and old-fashioned pre-feminism - as a whole, THE OLDEST PROFESSION (IN THE WORLD) is an example of a film's reach exceeding its grasp. There are things to like about it, but there are plenty of missed opportunities as well. It is a film worth seeing, but with properly moderated expectations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed