La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) (1938)



Critic Consensus: Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion is a masterful anti-war statement, bringing humane insight and an undercurrent of ironic humor to an unusual relationship between captor and captive.

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Movie Info

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 foiled, however, as they are transferred to a new camp, the formidable Wintersborn fortress, run by Rauffenstein, who is now grounded due to battle wounds. Rauffenstein, lamenting the end of an aristocratic era, tries to befriend de Boeldieu, but the French captain is already hatching a new escape plan - one in which he puts himself in danger to allow the others to escape. GRAND ILLUSION was the first foreign film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

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Jean Gabin
as Lieutenant Maréchal
Pierre Fresnay
as Capt. de Boeldieu
Erich von Stroheim
as Von Rauffenstein
Marcel Dalio
as Rosenthal
Dita Parlo
as Elsa Farm Woman
Julien Carette
as The Actor
Jacques Becker
as An English Officer
Gaston Modot
as The engineer
Georges Péclet
as A French Soldier
Jean Daste
as The Teacher
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Critic Reviews for La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion)

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (24)

It's a smart choice and a peerless film that makes sweeping rhetorical statements about the futility of war while maintaining a laser-sharp focus on an ensemble of meticulously drawn characters.

January 29, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The greatest World War I movie ever made (and there were lots of good ones)...

November 3, 2018 | Full Review…

This elegy for the death of the old European aristocracy is one of the true masterpieces of the screen.

January 2, 2018 | Full Review…

It's among the most understated anti-war films ever made, effortlessly humanistic but far too subtle to indulge in preaching.

June 7, 2012 | Rating: A

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.

May 17, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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.

May 8, 2012 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion)


An apparently simple yet notably complex film that uses a subtle approach to explore a gamut of humanistic themes, and Renoir avoids any sort of sentimentality, which can also be seen in the elegant way that his camera seems to float, unaffected, among the characters.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

This movie expertly depicts class warfare--no, it's not a new thing, it's been around forever competing with nationalism. As a college student in Germany, I had to watch this movie about 5 times and dissect it from all angles: historical, sociological, as well as literature and I never got sick of it. This movie really depicts the utter senselessness of war--how lost soldiers will take up with enemy women for succor and warmth and vice versa and how the officers (the aristocrats of the day, the 1%)inhabit a much different world than the hoi polloi. I am looking forward to seeing the remastered film as when I saw it, it was physically pretty damaged.

Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Experiência cinematografica cinco estrelas. Um filme que quase desapareceu da história do cinema mundial.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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