Grand Illusion


D: Jean Renoir

World Pictures/RAC (Albert Pinkovitch & Frank Rollmer)

France 🇫🇷 1937

114 mins


W: Jean Renoir & Charles Spaak

DP: Christian Matras

Ed: Marguerite Renoir & Marthe Huguet

Mus: Joseph Kosma

Jean Gabin (Lt. Maréchal), Marcel Dalio (Lt. Rosenthal), Pierre Fresnay(Capt. de Boeldieu), Erich Von Stroheim (Capt. Von Rauffenstein), Dita Parlo (Elsa)

Jean Renoir's 1937 classic war movie is considered a masterpiece of French cinema, and for very good reason.

During WWI, three French officers plot an escape from a POW camp, but are captured and re-sentenced  at another location, deemed inescapable from and overseen by a German officer who the three men were once friends with.

Considering the film's age, the technical aspects still hold up brilliantly over 80 years later (it's certainly aged better than Hollywood movies released the same year). All the acting is excellent, particularly Jean Gabin & Pierre Fresnay, and Renoir's direction and screenplay (co-written by Charles Spaak) cannot be criticised.

The film was nominated for Best Picture in 1938, becoming the first film not in the English language to do so. The film must be considered a masterpiece, even if you are averse to World Cinema.

The title is a reference to war itself being an illusion, conflict produces no winners and no country is better off due to it.


Grand Illusion
Grand Illusion