7.6/10
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The Big Blue (1988)

Le grand bleu (original title)
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2:04 | Trailer

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The rivalry between Enzo and Jacques, two childhood friends and now world-renowned free divers, becomes a beautiful and perilous journey into oneself and the unknown.

Director:

Luc Besson

Writers:

Luc Besson (story), Luc Besson (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Popularity
3,797 ( 398)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rosanna Arquette ... Johana
Jean-Marc Barr ... Jacques Mayol
Jean Reno ... Enzo Molinari
Paul Shenar ... Dr. Laurence
Sergio Castellitto ... Novelli
Jean Bouise ... Uncle Louis
Marc Duret ... Roberto
Griffin Dunne ... Duffy
Andréas Voutsinas ... Priest (as Andreas Voutsinas)
Valentina Vargas ... Bonita
Kimberly Beck ... Sally (as Kimberley Beck)
Patrick Fontana Patrick Fontana ... Alfredo
Alessandra Vazzoler Alessandra Vazzoler ... La Mamma
Geoffrey Carey Geoffrey Carey ... Supervisor (as Geoffroy Carey)
Bruce Guerre-Berthelot Bruce Guerre-Berthelot ... Young Jacques
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Storyline

Enzo and Jacques have known each other for a long time. Their friendship started in their childhood days in the Mediterranean. They were not real friends in these days, but there was something they both loved and used to do the whole day long: diving. One day Jacques' father, who was a diver too, died in the Mediterranean sea. After that incident Enzo and Jacques lost contact. After several years, Enzo and Jacques had grown up, Johanna, a young clerk in an insurance office, has to go to Peru. There she meets Jacques who is being studied by a group of scientists. He dives for some minutes into ice-cold water and the scientists monitor his physical state that is more like a dolphin than human. Johanna can not believe what she sees and gets very interested in Jacques but she's unable to get acquainted with him. Some weeks later back in her office, she finds out that Jacques will be competing in a diving championship that takes place in Taormina, Sicily. In order to see Jacques again she ... Written by Reiner Rosin <rosin@mi-lab.fh-furtwangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The sea has a secret. [Australian poster] See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English | Italian

Release Date:

19 August 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Blue See more »

Filming Locations:

Ios Island, Greece See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,234, 16 July 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,500,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) | (original cut) | (edited)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (35 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luc Besson considered Mel Gibson for the main role. See more »

Goofs

Jacques gives Johana a bunch of balloons by the dolphin pool. 1 second later the balloons change color, pink ones disappear. New balloons are yellow and translucent. See more »

Quotes

[haggling with a fish vendor]
Uncle Louis: Two DOLLARS? You didn't even need to catch the fish! It died of CANCER!
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Alternate Versions

The "R" rated director's cut on video includes usages of the "F" word and two sex scenes (featuring nudity by Jean Marc Barr and Roseanna Arquette). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rollerball (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

MY LADY BLUE
Lyrics by Luc Besson
Composed by Éric Serra
Performed by Éric Serra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cult Movies 47
6 November 1998 | by TYLERdurden74See all my reviews

47. THE BIG BLUE (adv.-romance, 1988) Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr) is determined to dethrone current world-free diving champion Enzo (Jean Reno). Childhood friends, they share a fierce rivalry that, nonetheless, has kept their friendship alive. Both of them share an almost spiritual affinity with the sea, especially Mayol who lost his father. His love for his sport, however, is put on hold when he meets Joanna (Rosanna Arquette). But as Mayol and Enzo's competition become more fierce, Joanna slowly feels herself drifting away from Mayol, as his fascination with the sea takes on an obsessive turn.

Critique: Marvelouslly filmed underwater adventure from master-Frenchman Luc Besson, who has specialized on action films. This is his most personal work to date, thus taking on a uniquely surreal quality. The exquisite camera-work is very special, at times almost documentary in quality.

This mix of 'art' cinematography and romance made it a big money earner all over Europe but, not surprisingly, only gained critical acclaim elsewhere. Adding to its failure is a somewhat downbeat ending that, I think, complements the film's mythic storyline.

Besson's 'epic masterpiece' has yet to reach many viewers who would embrace his visionary talents.


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