8.1/10
31,262
128 user 132 critic

La Grande Illusion (1937)

La grande illusion (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 12 September 1938 (USA)
Trailer
2:05 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.

Director:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Charles Spaak (scenario and dialogue), Jean Renoir (scenario and dialogue)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost
L'Atalante (1934)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo
Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A military deserter finds love and trouble (and a small dog) in a smoky French port city.

Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Michèle Morgan
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The family of a Parisian shop-owner spends a day in the country. The daughter falls in love with a man at the inn, where they spend the day.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Jane Marken, Georges D'Arnoux
The 400 Blows (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Stagecoach (1939)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate.

Director: Julien Duvivier
Stars: Jean Gabin, Gabriel Gabrio, Saturnin Fabre
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Gabin ... Le lieutenant Maréchal
Dita Parlo ... Elsa
Pierre Fresnay ... Le captaine de Boeldieu
Erich von Stroheim ... Le captaine von Rauffenstein (as Eric von Stroheim)
Julien Carette ... Cartier - l'acteur (as Carette)
Georges Péclet Georges Péclet ... Le serrurier (as Peclet)
Werner Florian Werner Florian ... Le sergent Arthur
Jean Dasté ... L'instituteur (as Daste)
Sylvain Itkine Sylvain Itkine ... Le lieutenant Demolder (as Itkine)
Gaston Modot ... L'ingénieur (as Modot)
Marcel Dalio ... Le lieutenant Rosenthal (as Dalio)
Edit

Storyline

During 1st WW, two French officers are captured. Captain De Boeldieu is an aristocrat while Lieutenant Marechal was a mechanic in civilian life. They meet other prisoners from various backgrounds, as Rosenthal, son of wealthy Jewish bankers. They are separated from Rosenthal before managing to escape. A few months later, they meet again in a fortress commanded by the aristocrat Van Rauffenstein. De Boeldieu strikes up a friendship with him but Marechal and Rosenthal still want to escape... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Chosen by the 1958 Brussels Film Festival As One of the Six Best Films of All Time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German | English | Russian

Release Date:

12 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La Grande Illusion See more »

Filming Locations:

Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, France See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$50,793, 13 August 1999

Gross USA:

$172,885
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1937 release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first film in the prestigious Criterion Collection (spine #1). See more »

Goofs

As the WWI German soldiers are celebrating a French fort's capture, the map on the wall of the officers club is clearly an inter-war (1919-1938) map of Germany. See more »

Quotes

Capt. von Rauffenstein: Forgive me.
Capt. de Boeldieu: I would have done the same. French or German, duty is duty.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Künstlerleben (Artist's Life), Op.316
(1867) (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Vision of Reality the Way it Shouldn't Be...
20 August 1999 | by Don-102See all my reviews

It is a wonder to see a film from the 1930's so definite in its view and opinions, yet so touching and revelatory. Jean Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION is a film of great importance, one that improves with each viewing. Having just finished the picture again for the first time in some 7 years, I was struck by its freshness. It is an Anti-War film set during World War I that is something to watch. It demands intense viewing.

This is a French work of art by the great Renoir, who would make his most acclaimed film, RULES OF THE GAME, two years later. If you ask me, GRAND ILLUSION is the superior pic and holds up immeasurably better. The small doses of humor and original characters in this film foresee the classic "shooting party" of RULES OF THE GAME. With this movie, Renoir uses prisoners-of-war and the ludicrous element of war so prevalent in early 20th Century Europe and merges them into a film not unlike a play (an extremely well-written play). The viewer has no illusions as to whether or not a war is happening. We happen not to see any battles or gunplay, rather, the human element between men and women who are not so different no matter their ethnicity.

Renoir's camera is an incredible tool used throughout. He probes the characters at the various prison camps with some smooth dolly shots and brilliant use of focus and pull-backs. It seems like an extension of his hand, much like his father's paintings. One striking scene has some weary soldiers singing the French "Las Marseilles" after getting third hand knowledge of a French victory over their German captors. Any scene with Erich von Stroheim is interesting because he is human and not some mindless German dictator so many people would come to know at the time of the film's release. He is a broken man, scarred by war and looking to gain a friend in the enemy. This is rare.

As far as prison camp films go, these guys seem to have it easy, however the fact that they are officers gives us some explanation. The story-line effectively moves from escape attempts to human realization of the situation they are in. Parts of it reminded me of STALAG 17, Billy Wilder's 1953 classic no doubt inspired by GRAND ILLUSION. This is Wilder's film without the Hollywood touch, realist and sometimes drab. Abel Gance's J'ACCUSE would follow a year later. If you want to see some anti-WWI films with two completely opposite methods of warning beneath the surface, see these two flicks back to back.

The illusion of reality is shattered by war, Renoir is telling us. If only it could be as simple as those amazing shots of the countryside from inside the German woman's house: a breathtaking, simple look at a peaceful scene the way it should be.

RATING: ***1/2


35 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 128 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to 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 all our free movies and TV series

Stream 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