movie poster

Rating: 8 stars


France Criterion prison prison escape prisoner of war prisoner aristocrat german xmas WWI

Seen 1 time

Seen on: 12/14/2013 (rewatch)

View on: IMDb | TMDb

Grand Illusion (1937)

Directed by Jean Renoir

Drama | War

Most recently watched by sleestakk, sensoria


A group of French soldiers, including the patrician Captain de Boeldieu and the working-class Lieutenant Maréchal, grapple with their own class differences after being captured and held in a World War I German prison camp. When the men are transferred to a high-security fortress, they must concoct a plan to escape beneath the watchful eye of aristocratic German officer von Rauffenstein, who has formed an unexpected bond with de Boeldieu.

Length 114 minutes


Marcel Dalio | Erich von Stroheim | Carl Koch | Julien Carette | Gaston Modot | Jean Gabin | Dita Parlo | Pierre Fresnay | Georges Péclet | Werner Florian | Jean Dasté | Sylvain Itkine | Claude Vernier | Jacques Becker | Claude Sainval | Pierre Blondy | Michel Salina | Georges Fronval | Habib Benglia | Karl Heil | Albert Brouett | George Forster | Little Peters

Viewing Notes

Note I left on Ron’s tally: Watched this for the first time tonight and echo your sentiments. Wasn’t on board until the middle third (when they arrive at the “fortress”) but from there it really takes off. I love the anti-war perspective without the manipulation. Also an unconventional Christmas movie!

In addition, I think von Rauffenstein set the mold for many characters to come. The scenes between him and de Boeldieu are among the best in the movie. The final third is really wonderful and the closing shot is outstanding.


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