7.3/10
7,051
35 user 28 critic

The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

Le déclin de l'empire américain (original title)
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 »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

During his final days, a dying man is reunited with old friends, former lovers, his ex-wife, and his estranged son.

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Rémy Girard, Dorothée Berryman, Stéphane Rousseau
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jean-Marc Leblanc (Labrèche), a desperate civil servant, escapes reality as we all know it, to imagine himself as the hero in imaginary adventures.

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Marc Labrèche, Diane Kruger, Sylvie Léonard
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of actors put on an unorthodox, but acclaimed Passion Play which incites the opposition of the Catholic Church while the actors' lives themselves begin to mirror the Passion itself.

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, Johanne-Marie Tremblay
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A shy and insecure delivery truck driver accidentally arrives on the scene of a major crime and happens to pick up two bags of cash and hides them in his truck. Though an interrogation of ... See full summary »

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Maxim Roy, Éric Bruneau, Vincent Leclerc
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Marcel, recently released from prison, attempt to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend Julie (now a prostitute) and especially his father Albert (who thinks he's been away on a long... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon
Stars: Gilles Maheu, Roger Lebel, Corrado Mastropasqua
Octobre (1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A dramatization of the infamous Canadian terrorist abduction & murder of a government minister by a cell of The Quebec Liberation Front.

Director: Pierre Falardeau
Stars: Hugo Dubé, Luc Picard, Pierre Rivard
Orderers (1974)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost
Léolo (1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Young Leo Lauzon is torn between two worlds - the squalid Montreal tenement that he inhabits with his severely dysfunctional (and largely insane) family, and the imaginative world that he ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon
Stars: Maxime Collin, Ginette Reno, Gilbert Sicotte
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Made shortly after the referendum on Quebec's independence was held, this documentary illustrates what the politicians' promises were and how the population did not really care nor truly ... See full summary »

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Jean-Pierre Ronfard, Raymond Barre, Pierre Brodeur
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In Montreal, the wanderings of two urban homeless, Marcel, an old timer and Joseph, who just landed in the big city. Both philosophers and resourceful nice bums roam the streets of the ... See full summary »

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Lorne Brass, Gaston Lepage, Benoît Brière
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

French Canadians face execution after a revolt against British bureaucrats in Quebec.

Director: Pierre Falardeau
Stars: Luc Picard, Sylvie Drapeau, Frédéric Gilles
Le party (1990)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

At a maximum security prison, there is preparation for the annual party where entertainers and strippers are scheduled to perform. But not everyone is having fun. A man is sent to solitary,... See full summary »

Director: Pierre Falardeau
Stars: Charlotte Laurier, Benoît Dagenais, Julien Poulin
Edit

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 ... Danielle
Daniel Brière ... Alain
Gabriel Arcand ... Mario
Évelyn Regimbald Évelyn Regimbald ... Theresa
Lisette Guertin Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy Alexandre Remy ... Transvestite
Ariane Frédérique Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo Jean-Paul Bongo ... Mustafa
Edit

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

Plot Keywords:

sex | dinner | university | gym | weekend | See All (71) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,854, 16 November 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,902,706
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Soundtracks

Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Man's propensity for self deception is unquenchable
15 June 2017 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This is a very well done French-Canadian film about eight friends meeting for a dinner party out in the country. Three middle-aged men and a one young man are already at the manor where the dinner will take place, preparing the meal and discussing their sex lives. The remaining party guests, three middle-aged women and one young woman, are spending the day at the gym, exercising and discussing their sex lives.

Eventually they meet up at the country manor for dinner, and the conversation continues. While this may sound like not much happens, the film is never boring, and the direction by Denys Arcand keeps the viewer visually interested. I'm also keeping the character descriptions purposely vague, as their relationships to one another are revealed slowly as the film progresses. The dialogue is frank, funny and sharp, and all eight characters are fully-drawn human beings. I especially like the notion that these eight characters who seem to speak non-stop and at times overshare in the extreme, can't seem to honestly communicate when it matters most in their lives.

The title refers to a historical adage that when members of a given society begin to think about their own individual happiness above every other concern, that society is doomed. The characters' romantic navel-gazing and at times destructive pursuit of happiness seems to signal our own societal sunset. But don't let that heavy thought steer you away from the film, as it's brilliantly acted and well worth a look.

The sequel, "The Barbarian Invasions", made 17 years later, is also very worthwhile.


6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed