6.9/10
9,017
29 user 129 critic

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (2010)

Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Music | 20 January 2010 (France)
Trailer
1:26 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

A glimpse at the life of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, from growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris through his successful song-writing years in the 1960s to his death in 1991 at the age of 62.

Director:

Joann Sfar

Writers:

Joann Sfar (graphic novel), Joann Sfar (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Born in 68 (2008)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two young lovers change their lives drastically after the 1968 revolt, leading to choices that move them in different directions.

Directors: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Stars: Laetitia Casta, Yannick Renier, Yann Trégouët
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on dozens of interviews and other recordings this documentary tries to create the portrait of chanson legend Serge Gainsbourg through his own words.

Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati
Stars: Katerina Fedchenko, Emilie de Preissac, Clément van den Bergh
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Set in the wilderness of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the land of legends and the kingdom of wild brown bears, we follow the daily adventures of five wild brown bears. A mother bear and her two... See full summary »

Director: Guillaume Vincent
Stars: Marion Cotillard
Love Street (2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A handyman in a 1940s Paris brothel tries to help the prostitute he loves with her singing career and romantic life.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Patrick Timsit, Laetitia Casta, Vincent Elbaz
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young, extroverted left-wing activist who sleeps with her political opponents to convert them to her cause is successful until she meets her match.

Director: Michel Leclerc
Stars: Sara Forestier, Jacques Gamblin, Zinedine Soualem
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A divorced father and his eight-year-old son are about to spend a somewhat predictable weekend together, nevertheless, when a valuable toolbox gets stolen, the search for the thieves will soon turn into a true family bonding.

Director: Bob Nelson
Stars: Clive Owen, Maria Bello, Jaeden Martell
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Eight tourists who met in a holiday camp on the Ivory Coast are reunited for a skiing holiday.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Josiane Balasko, Michel Blanc, Marie-Anne Chazel
Comedy | Music | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Bourdelle, a family of musicians, refuse to play for Germans during the war. They would like to liberate France using all possible means.

Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Stars: Christian Clavier, Michel Galabru, Roland Giraud
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After making the domestic servant pregnant, a woman who doubles his age, a young man of only seventeen years from the German bourgeoisie is sent by his family to the United States in order to avoid a huge scandal.

Directors: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub
Stars: Christian Heinisch, Nazzareno Bianconi, Mario Adorf
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Pierre, 44, contentedly divorced, takes his teen daughter to the Côte d'Azur along with his friend Jacques and Jacques' own teen daughter, Françoise. On the topless beaches of Saint-Tropez,... See full summary »

Director: Claude Berri
Stars: Jean-Pierre Marielle, Victor Lanoux, Christine Dejoux
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a vacation camp somewhere in the French country, 1960. Marc et Philippe are two of the counsellors. Marc is very virile, while Philippe is more reserved. A night, Marc surprises Philippe... See full summary »

Director: Claude Miller
Stars: Patrick Dewaere, Patrick Bouchitey, Christine Pascal
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Holidaymakers arriving in a Club Med camp on the Ivory Coast are determined to forget their everyday problems and emotional disappointments. Games, competitions, outings, bathing and sunburn accompany a continual succession of casual affairs.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Josiane Balasko, Luis Rego, Marie-Anne Chazel
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Elmosnino ... Serge Gainsbourg / Voix de La Gueule
Lucy Gordon ... Jane Birkin
Laetitia Casta ... Brigitte Bardot
Doug Jones ... La Gueule
Anna Mouglalis ... Juliette Gréco
Mylène Jampanoï ... Bambou
Sara Forestier ... France Gall
Kacey Mottet Klein ... Lucien Ginsburg
Razvan Vasilescu ... Joseph Ginsburg (le père)
Dinara Drukarova ... Olga Ginsburg (la mère) (as Dinara Droukarova)
Philippe Katerine Philippe Katerine ... Boris Vian
Deborah Grall ... Elisabeth Levizky
Yolande Moreau ... Fréhel
Ophélia Kolb Ophélia Kolb ... Le Modèle
Claude Chabrol ... Le Producteur Musique de Gainsbourg
Edit

Storyline

Lucien Ginsburg, a rebellious French Jewish boy with a grotesque imagination, hates playing the piano like his father, a bar professional, and manages to be admitted to Montmartre Academy as a painter, where he befriends an SS officer who helps him survive the occupation. After the war, he chooses to become a performing artist and adopts the stage name Serge Gainsbourg. His unorthodox songs bring him success, even his parents's approval, and lots of lovers, yet his marriages are all utter failures. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English | Russian

Release Date:

20 January 2010 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

EUR11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,189, 4 September 2011

Gross USA:

$233,007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,220,456
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (recut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Joann Sfar spent his boyhood enthralled by the mystique of Serge Gainsbourg. He moved to Paris as an adult expressly to meet his idol but unfortunately Gainsbourg died of a heart attack a month later. See more »

Goofs

In the 135 minute version of the film a nightclub reveler laughs about Gainsbourg being parodied on 'Guignols de l'info' (a French puppet show in which celebrities are mocked) but in the same scene Gainsbourg meets Bambou for the first time (his last wife). He married Bambou in 1981 but the Guignols were only created in 1988. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lucien Ginsburg: Can I put your hand in mine?
Girl: No, you're too ugly.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the start of the end credits is a quote from writer-director Joann Sfar: "J'aime trop Gainsbourg pour le ramener au réel. Ce ne sont pas les vérités de Gainsbourg qui m'intéressent, ce sont ses mensonges." ("Gainsbourg transcends reality. I much prefer his lies to his truths.") See more »

Alternate Versions

England is the first territory to release a new cut of the film, running 14 minutes shorter than the previous version and is Joann Sfar's preferred one. Changes include -
  • Deletion of the scene where young Serge pleads in vain for his mother to buy him a gun to play with, even attempting to bribe her by saying he'll work harder on the piano. This precedes the scene where he steals the gun from the shop.
  • Deletion of the scene where Serge and Boris Vian walk to his apartment and the two lie in the road in an effort to stop a cab. While they wait Serge reveals he has a double that follows him around to which Vian replies his is a werewolf. However two policemen soon cut the conversation short. (This precedes Serge arriving at Boris's apartment and explains a later scene where a drunken Serge lies in the road before having the police escort to his concert)
  • Longer scene of the "Baby Pop" groupies, as Gainsbourg wakes up in bed with two naked women as his Mug joyously tosses bank statements at him revealing how rich he is from "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" alone! This is the original lead in to "Qui Est In Qui Est Out".
  • The groupies and party to "Qui Est In Qui Est Out" is cut short, removing Serge narrating about "the mouth being the primary sexual organ". His narration reveals the girls in the room he has slept with and how he was with them. It reveals Gainsbourg's occasional cruel streak and precedes the angry neighbor banging on the door.
  • After Gainsbourg recites La Marseillaise at the press conference, we then see young Serge repeating it and triumphantly raising his fist to the audience.
  • Deletion of a short exchange in the nightclub when a reveller comments to Gainsbourg about him being parodied on a French TV show. The new version removes these lines either because the show is unknown outside of France or because it doesn't tie in as being the night Gainsbourg met his wife Bambou as that TV show wouldn't air until years later. Sfar has said this new version will be the one further released worldwide.
See more »

Connections

References The Swimming Pool (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Poinçonneur Des Lilas
Written and originally performed by Serge Gainsbourg
Performed by Eric Elmosnino and Le Quatuor
© 1958 - Warner Chapell Music France
Melody Nelson Publishing
(P) 2010 - One World Films
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Lowlife bohemia collides with 50's Hollywood
21 October 2010 | by cliffhanley_See all my reviews

The life story of Serge Gainsbourg had to be filmed, and as he's one of the famous Frenchmen who aren't in fact Belgian, it's only a surprise that it took so long. That his life spanned the Nazi occupation to the rise of Disco would stretch credibility if this were fiction, but as it's all more or less true the director, who is already an accomplished graphic artist, manages to lift it to the level of slightly absurd fiction. Mixing in animation, self-consciously stagey sets and a life-sized puppet as Gainsbourg's dreaded alter ego.

Even the sordid lowlife is given the big treatment, and the early days in the garret look unashamedly glamorous as they would if re-imagined for an opera set or a Salvador Dali dream sequence, as director Joann Sfar lays it on with a trowel.

The episodic nature of the story gives it a rather patchy feel though, and I couldn't help thinking that one or two episodes, especially the cute Hollywood-style musical scene with Brigitte Bardot, could have been shorter. Bardot was just one of the high-profile women Gainsbourg captured, and so was the muse of the existentialists, Juliette Greco.The casting is pretty uncanny with the possible exception of Greco, who was never that model-thin.

Gainsbourg has always been, at least outside France, more famous for being cool than for his music. But his reworking of La Marseillaise which so upset the rightwing patriots of the Seventies was nothing but excellent. I'll go back just to hear that Sly and Robbie riddim one more time.

Quite a substantial feast but it's worth building up an appetite in advance. And of course, you get Jane Birkin and... That Song.


10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed