La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) (1937)
Average Rating: 9.4/10
Reviews Counted: 62
Fresh: 60 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: 9/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 10,991
For its 75th Anniversary, Rialto Pictures presents a stunning 4K restoration of GRAND ILLUSION, Jean Renoir's powerful and eloquent anti-war film set during World War I. Aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu and his mechanic, Lieutenant Maréchal are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, who treats them with customary officers' hospitality. The two downed pilots are then sent to a German POW camp, where they quickly join a group of prisoners who have concocted an elaborate escape plan. Their plot is
May 11, 2012 Wide
Mar 24, 1998
Rialto Pictures - Official Site
Capt. de Boeldieu
Erich von Stroheim
Elsa Farm Woman
An English Officer
A French Soldier
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It's among the most understated anti-war films ever made, effortlessly humanistic but far too subtle to indulge in preaching.
A model of simplicity and grace, with emotional effects that move you when you least expect it, the kind of great film that only a master can pull off.
Funny, heart-wrenching, nail-biting, caustic and profound, touting the futility of armed combat while turning imprisonment and escape into a microcosm for society's aspirations and contradictions.
It's still one of the key humanist expressions to be found in movies: sad, funny, exalting, and glorious.
It's an excellent film, with Renoir's usual looping line and deft shifts of tone, though today the balance of critical opinion has shifted in favor of the greater darkness and filigree of The Rules of the Game.
An artistically masterful feature, the picture breathes the intimate life of warriors on both sides during the [First] World War.
Renoir, who invokes so skillfully these terrifying images of disintegration, offers in contrast only the old ideal of man's brotherhood, and his film does not tell us whether it is illusion or reality.
Back in 1952, both Orson Welles and David Lean cited the movie as one of their 10 all-time favorite films. Still, not everyone was a fan: Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's rat-faced Minister of Propaganda, declared it "Cinematic Public Enemy No. 1."
often contrasted to All Quiet on the Western Front which has a similar message but told with a very different perspective
Like Universal's Oscar winner 'All Quiet on the Western Front' (1930), 'La Grande Illusion' was banned in Germany by Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels. See it and sing 'La Marseillaise.'
See it and you may begin to appreciate the sorts of standards for greatness that the cinema is capable of setting.
Its very simplicity of utterance gives it a purity that makes other films that try to express similar sentiments feel forced and obvious.
Renoir's 1937 anti-war masterpiece created a new genre, the POW movie, and with his 1939 La Règle du jeu constitutes a diptych of unparalleled excellence.
A timeless classic of acting and filmmaking genius that uses the artificiality of war to explore the very construct of society, and is a classic must-see.
The great illusion is that these men of the officer class are somehow different from the masses who suffered the bloodiest of wars. Renoir proves that they are not.
The film makes its moral point about the futility of combat by emphasising the interconnectedness of all humanity via such shared experiences as hunger, desire and friendship. It's also a ripping yarn with a vein of charming and sometimes risqué humour.
La Grande Illusion retains its power as an example of European camaraderie and co-operation.
It ranks proudly alongside The Rules Of The Game as Renoir at his stunning best.
Audience Reviews for La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion)
- Rosenthal: Not looking back?
- Lieutenant Maréchal: If I do, I'll never leave
- Rosenthal: Frontiers are an invention of men. Nature doesn't give a hoot.
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