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The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

Le fantôme de la liberté (original title)
R | | Comedy | 27 October 1974 (USA)
A series of surreal sequences that critique morality and society in a stream of consciousness style.


Luis Buñuel (as Luis Bunuel)


Luis Buñuel (scenario) (as Luis Bunuel), Jean-Claude Carrière (collaboration)
2 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Adriana Asti ... La dame en noir et la soeur du premier préfet / Prefect's Sister
Julien Bertheau ... Le premier préfet de police / First Prefect
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Foucauld / Mr. Foucauld
Adolfo Celi ... Le docteur de Legendre / Doctor Pasolini
Paul Frankeur ... L'aubergiste / Innkeeper
Michael Lonsdale ... Le chapelier / Hatter
Pierre Maguelon ... Gérard, le gendarme / Policeman
François Maistre François Maistre ... Le professeur des gendarmes / Professor
Hélène Perdrière Hélène Perdrière ... La vieille tante / Aunt
Michel Piccoli ... Le second préfet de police / Second Prefect
Claude Piéplu ... Le commissaire de police / Commissioner
Jean Rochefort ... Legendre / Mr. Legendre
Bernard Verley ... Le capitaine des dragons / Judge
Milena Vukotic ... L'infirmière / Nurse (as Miléna Vukotic)
Monica Vitti ... Mme Foucaud / Mrs. Foucauld


As unusual, eccentric, and bizarre vignettes of mundane and seemingly innocuous conventions of our social and private lives success one another, somehow, Napoléon Bonaparte's troops, earthly monks, dangerous snipers, and the peculiar disappearance of a beloved one metamorphose into banal instances of our daily existence. With this in mind, under those surreal circumstances, the abnormal becomes normal, the obvious transforms into something unclear or even invisible, and the extraordinary transfigures into ordinary. But, are things always black and white? How real is the haunting spectre of liberty? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Luis Bunuel's kinkiest comedy.




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Director's trademark: [insects] Foucauld places a large framed spider on the mantelpiece after declaring that he is "sick of symmetry" See more »


At the beginning of the movie after shooting the prisoners you can see one of the victims moving the hand although he's dead. See more »


Foucauld: I'm sick of symmetry.
See more »


Referenced in Party or A Woodpecker on the Concrete Column (2009) See more »


Rhapsody in G minor
Written by Johannes Brahms
Played on the piano by the sister of the police commissioner
See more »

User Reviews

question what you've always taken for granted
3 August 2001 | by rogierrSee all my reviews

Buñuel seems to be even more brilliant without the screenplays by Salvador Dali (un Chien Andalou, l'Age d'or, both 1930). Of course Jean-Claude Carriere is not a small name either, but Buñuel must be the great mind behind this masterpiece. Fantome seems to take off right from the premises of 'Le Voie lactee' (1969), as people seem to move in mysterious ways and mysterious things happen to them, there sometimes even seems to be time-traveling. Anything can happen along the way. But whereto leads the way? Who knows the direction and if so, does that direction make sense and to whom?

Yes, this film raises a lot of questions and that must be Buñuel's greatest power: question what you've always taken for granted. In any way, Buñuel continues his 'unrestricted creativeness' as someone on IMDb named it. Absurd, bizarre, subversive, anti-clericism, magic realism, surrealism, sophistry, you name it! Everything is in here. He seems to have returned to the experimental years (1929, 1930) completely. He probably thought he could get away with that because Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972) won an Academy Award for best foreign picture and Buñuel figured that everybody would be going to see this film, no matter how off the wall it was.

In Voie Lactee is a heated conversation between a catholic and a Jesuit about personal freedom that comes to a mysterious compromise when the Jesuit exclaims: 'Ma liberte est un fantom!' That is worked out here in Fantome de la liberte for a wider audience, in that we don't have to know much about the differences between catholics and Jesuits to be able to understand what's going on. Well, maybe most of the time. The other part it is just plain fun to watch and get your world turned upside down (That's why Catch-22 (Nichols, 1970) is my personal favourite film).

Cinematographer Edmond Richard (Charme discret de la bourgeoisie 1972, Cet obscure object du desir 1977) who should have won an Academy Award for 'Le Proces' (Welles, 1963) demonstrates that he can collaborate with Buñuel fabulously in Buñuel's last three films. Still I feel I'm missing the point of this film by a long shot. But that just gives me a reason to see it again soon! For now I'm just very thankful that someone recommended this to me.

10 points out of 10 :-)

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France | Italy



Release Date:

27 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Phantom of Liberty See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,172, 10 November 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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