11 user 5 critic

Orderers (1974)

Les ordres (original title)
A fact-based account of ordinary citizens who found themselves arrested and imprisoned without charge for weeks during the October Crisis in 1970 Quebec.


Michel Brault


Michel Brault
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Hélène Loiselle ... Marie Boudreau
Jean Lapointe ... Clermont Boudreau
Guy Provost ... Dr. Jean-Marie Beauchemin
Claude Gauthier ... Richard Lavoie
Louise Forestier ... Claudette Dusseault
Louise Pratte Louise Pratte ... Louise Boudreau
Martine Pratte Martine Pratte ... Martine Boudreau
Monique Pratte Monique Pratte ... Monique Boudreau
Amulette Garneau ... Mrs. Thibault, The Neighbour
Louise Latraverse ... Claire Beauchemin
Sophie Clément ... Ginette Lavoie
Esther Auger ... Esther
Claire Richard Claire Richard ... Mrs. Vezina
J. Léo Gagnon ... The Grocer
José Rettino ... The Foreman


October 1970: Under the pretext of waging war against the terrorist group Front de libération du Québec, the Canadian Parliament passes the War Measures Act. The Police and the Army use it and try to break-up popular groups in the Province of Quebec. More than 400 people are arrested for what appears to be their social activities. No charges are ever filed against them. This is their story. Written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume <jiembe@videotron.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film is based on interviews with five actual people who were imprisoned during the 1970 October Crisis in the province of Quebec, Canada. See more »


When Richard Lavoie is arrested, officers ask him his age and birthday. He answer he's 34 and born on January 31th, 1939. Since the events of the movie are all set in October/November 1970, he would only be 31. See more »


Edited into La conquête du grand écran (1996) See more »


La Complainte de mon frère
Written by Philippe Gagnon
See more »

User Reviews

Brilliant directing by Michel Brault
10 October 2018 | by proud_ludditeSee all my reviews

In October, 1970, Canada's War Measures Act allowed authorities to arrest and imprison anybody that they suspected of domestic terrorism in association with the FLQ (Front de Libération du Québec). As a result, over four-hundred innocent Montreal citizens were wrongly incarcerated. Fifty of them gave their stories to director-writer Michel Brault. From their stories, five composite characters were created for "Les Ordres": a unionized labourer (Clermont Boudreau) and his wife (Hélène Loiselle) who are raising three school-age daughters; an unemployed father (Claude Gauthier) who cares for a baby and toddler at home; a social worker (Louise Forestier) who advocates for welfare recipients; and a doctor (Guy Provost) who has been involved in socialist politics.

Even before the arrests have begun, the story shows how bleak life is for the working-class and the poor. However, this appears relatively mild compared to the shocks that are yet to come. Brault shows brilliance in his subtlety during the arrest scenes. His level of detail for nuanced yet important actions have at least as much impact as violence does in other films especially the situations where children are to be left without a caretaker at home. And his intermingling of the various arrest scenes is done perfectly. Not only do they flow well together; they even have more impact when shown simultaneously.

The second half of the film takes place in the men's and women's prisons. While these scenes have less impact than those in the first half, the theme of a shocking injustice continues especially the abuses in the men's prison.

The performances are uniformly strong and moving. The actors convey to the audience what it would be like to enter an unexpected nightmare with apparently no end in sight.

One of the reasons this docudrama feels like a thriller is that it took place in Canada, let alone under the popular Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Considering similar incidents during the past few years (the scandalous G20 Toronto conference), it shows that certain freedoms can never be taken for granted. - dbamateurcritic

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Directing by Michel Brault

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





French | English

Release Date:

27 September 1974 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Orderers See more »


Box Office


CAD260,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed