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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 »


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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






French | English

Release Date:

27 September 1974 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Orderers See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »


Box Office


CAD 260,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission from Canada for the 1975 Academy Awards. See more »


When Richard Lavoie is arrested, officers ask him his age and birthday. He answers he's 34 and born on January 31th, 1939. This may seem inaccurate, since the events of the movie are all set in October/November 1970, which would give him 31. However, Richard Lavoie's actor, Claude Gauthier, gave in fact his own birth date and age at the time of filming. This echoes the dual aspect of the movie, when, in the documentary part of the movie, the actors gave their real life's names and personal own anecdotes. By giving his own birth date, the actor communicates that he shares the same fate as the character, that of an artist who has espoused separatism and therefore is exposed to the repression of the federal government; he could have been the one in prison, being asked about his birth date and age. See more »


Featured in Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment (2000) See more »


La Complainte de mon frère
Written by Philippe Gagnon
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User Reviews

And the Banality Award goes to...
23 September 2016 | by gizmomogwaiSee all my reviews

Les Ordres: made in the infancy of Canadian cinema, as far as feature films go. Canada's official submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 1974, and not nominated. It's easy to see why, and indeed, I imagine a country putting this up against the cinema of the entire non-English speaking world would have raised a few eyebrows in the Academy. Okay, so you have a historically significant event (at least significant to Canada). But that's all you have. The direction has all the creativity, imagination and style of a TV movie. That's all it looks like, it never rises above that level for the entirety of the film. The sole "innovation" you have is interviewing the actors about the characters in the film itself- but that's a stunt just ripped off from Ingmar Bergman's The Passion of Anna (1969). I didn't particularly care for it there, either, but at least Max von Sydow had something to say. None of these television actors know what they're doing here, except to say "My name is X, and I play Y..." It would have been more accurate to say "I'm nobody, and the 'character' I play is barely a character at all."

It's not enough to have a human rights violation as a subject matter (and as far as world history goes, a few days in prison is small potatoes). You have to have to *do* something with it to have a film.

I can see why this would have made the Toronto International Film Festival's Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time when that list was first assembled in 1984. There were a lot less good films to choose from then, and Les Ordres having inexplicably won Best Director at Cannes in 1974, I might have felt obligated to write the film in, too, for its strictly historic interest. Whether it deserved to stay on the Top 10 in the 1993 update is more debatable. Why it didn't fall off in 2004 is puzzling. The fact that it's still wasting space on the list in 2015 is laughable, especially when far worthier films like Les Bons Debarras fell off and Incendies and Mommy didn't make it at all. If this, and Mon oncle Antoine, were really the best we could do as a country, that's not inspiring- that's embarrassing.

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