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The Childhood of a Leader (2015)

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A chronicle of the childhood of a post-World War I leader.


Brady Corbet


Brady Corbet (screenplay), Mona Fastvold
5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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An architect emigrates to the United States in 1947 and spends the next three decades developing his masterpiece.

Director: Brady Corbet


Credited cast:
Bérénice Bejo ... The Mother
Liam Cunningham ... The Father
Stacy Martin ... The Teacher
Robert Pattinson ... Charles / The Leader
Tom Sweet ... Prescott, the boy
Rebecca Dayan ... Edith
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Luca Bercovici ... Older Foreign Gentleman
Jacques Boudet Jacques Boudet ... The priest
Caroline Boulton ... Mr. Advisors Secretary
Sophie Lane Curtis ... Laura (as Sophie Curtis)
Michael Epp ... Economist
Roderick Hill ... Older American Gentleman
Patrick McCullough Patrick McCullough
Yolande Moreau ... Mona
Andrew Osterreicher Andrew Osterreicher ... Mr. Secretary


This chilling fable about the rise of fascism in the 20th Century tells the story of a young American boy living in France in 1918 whose father is working for the US government on the creation of the Treaty of Versailles. What he witnesses helps to mould his beliefs - and we witness the birth of a terrifying ego. Loosely inspired by the early childhood experiences of many of the great dictators of the 20th Century and infused with the same sense of dread as The Others and The Omen, The Childhood of a Leader is an ominous portrait of emerging evil. Written by Protagonist Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Witness the birth of a terrifying ego




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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]


UK | France | Hungary


English | French | German

Release Date:

22 July 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Infância de Um Líder See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film marks the second collaboration between screenwriters Brady Corbet and Mona Fastvold, having collaborated in the screenplay for The Sleepwalker. The difference between this two collaborations is that Fastvold directed The Sleepwalker and Corbet directed this one. See more »


Prescott's mother writes the French address on an envelope with a modern five-digit postcode. But France has had postcodes only since 1964, and the current five-digit ones only since 1972. See more »


Charles: The tragedy is not only that Pontius Pilate betrayed his self but that hundreds in the crowd before him did betray their selves. And that's what I wrote was the tragedy of war. Not that one man has the courage to be evil but that so many have not the courage to be good.
See more »

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User Reviews

I wanted to like this production, I really did . . . but . . .
29 January 2017 | by charles000See all my reviews

I was intrigued by the context and concept of the story, particularly being very familiar with this era of history and the labyrinths of complexity of that time.

But try as I might to become engaged in this production, it just dragged on as a cardboard, lifeless attempt at rendering what could have been a spectacular creation of historically relevant drama and intrigue.

Not sure I can put my finger directly on the most obvious failure point, but it just didn't come to life for me.

Technically, the camera work was well done, the sets, stagecraft and all that was comparable to any decent BBC type of historical production, but the audio engineering here seems to have been a bit clumsy at best. But even that technical detail can be forgiven if the quality of the acting and the story itself can carry the production . . . which sadly, it doesn't.

The acting is stiff, monodimensional, reminded me of college theater plays. No, wait . . . actually, that isn't fair to some of the college theater productions I've seen in past years.

The supposedly important tension scenes just dragged on as useless time consuming segments sprinkled in between sections of potentially relevant (but equally flat and uninspiring) dialogue.

What an unfortunate waste of what could have been a great production.

Clearly the director (Brady Corbet) just didn't "get it". My best guess is that he was intently focused on delivering the obvious political message embedded in this character study into the culturally relevant psychodynamics of the time . . . but completely missed the target of actually creating a compelling delivery of the story.

Which is unfortunate, as I really wanted to like this.

Perhaps another attempt, with a different director and style of delivery . . .

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