7.2/10
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The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

Le déclin de l'empire américain (original title)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer
Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

Director:

Denys Arcand

Writers:

Denys Arcand, Gabriel Arcand (collaborating writer) | 6 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dominique Michel ... Dominique St. Arnaud
Dorothée Berryman ... Louise
Louise Portal ... Diane Leonard
Pierre Curzi ... Pierre
Rémy Girard ... Rémy
Yves Jacques ... Claude
Geneviève Rioux Geneviève Rioux ... Danielle
Daniel Brière ... Alain
Gabriel Arcand ... Mario
Évelyn Regimbald ... Theresa
Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy Alexandre Remy ... Transvestite
Ariane Frédérique Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo Jean-Paul Bongo ... Mustafa
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Storyline

A group of academics at the University of Montreal - most long time friends - are planning on gathering at the lakeside recreational home of Rémy and Louise, who have been together for twenty years, married for fifteen of them, for dinner. Louise knows Rémy cheats on her, but believes he only does so when she is not around, about which she accepts. Their recreational home is adjacent to many of the recreational homes of the others, who are: divorced Pierre, his much younger current girlfriend Danielle who is a student at the university, the two who are still in the stage of newfound love, divorced mother Diane, independent minded Dominique, single homosexual Claude, and graduate student Alain. While the four men prepare the dinner, the four women are working out together in the gym. The common factor between the two groups is the topic of conversation: sex, especially as it relates to themselves. But underlying each of the conversations is their own academic and thus intellectual ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house in which the majority of the events take place, in Magog, burned down in 1989, was later rebuilt. The scene in which one of the women characters is having sex, seen through a window from outside, was actually shot through a garage window. The actress was sitting on the snow tires which the owner of the house stored in the garage. She told him that, thanks to the tires, it was one of the most comfortable scenes she had ever done. See more »

Quotes

Rémy: Love - the kind that makes your heart race - lasts two years at best. Then the compromises begin.
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Soundtracks

Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
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User Reviews

 
Witty and Entertaining
10 December 2003 | by DanB-4See all my reviews

For many years, this movie ranked in my all time top ten. Over time, my affection for it has dropped, but I still value it greatly. It is a wordy movie about sexual politics of all kinds and human relationships. I have always felt that most of the characters in this film feel a need to justify relationships that they should not be in.

The story is simple - a group of men prepare dinner for a group of women who are at a club working out. While in separate locations, they are free to talk about their sexual appetites, exploits and conquests. The female conversations are particularly funny. Eventually, the women arrive and dinner commences, an unexpected guest shows up and eventually, secrets are revealed.

Decline of the American Empire is Denys Arcand's best film, and at the time, the best ever to come out of Canada. (That crown now firmly belongs to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter). It seems a little dated today, but if you can handle subtitles, and if you like movies with lots of dialogue about sex and human relationships, it is a worthy rental. ***1/2 out of ****.


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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

14 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Decline of the American Empire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,902,706

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,915,792
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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