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Goodbye, Children (Au Revoir Les Enfants)

Goodbye, Children (Au Revoir Les Enfants) (1987)



Average Rating: 9.2/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 1

Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.


Average Rating: 10/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

Louis Malle's autobiographical tale of a childhood spent in a WWII boarding school is a beautifully realized portrait of friendship and youth.



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 11,102

My Rating

Movie Info

Gaspard Manesse plays Julien, an 11-year-old Catholic boarding-school resident during the Nazi occupation of France. He is witness to the courage of his instructors, who defy the German's anti-Semitic policies and quietly enroll Jewish children into the school under assumed names. Manesse befriends Jean (Raphael Fejto), one of these "instant Catholics." The refugee children are betrayed by a hostile ex-employee of the school, forcing Julien once more to be a bystander to history as Jean and the


Art House & International, Drama

Mar 28, 2006

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (1) | DVD (10)

In this frightening and beautiful film, a schoolboy must learn hard lessons early.

August 24, 2010 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's quiet integrity finally depends on his avoidance of heroic cliché and stylistic bombast, and on the unindulgent generosity extended towards his characters.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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It's a work that has the kind of simplicity, ease and density of detail that only a film maker in total command of his craft can bring off, and then only rarely.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If he'd made his childhood movie earlier in his career -- when he didn't have the sense to be so dispassionate -- it might have packed a meatier punch. Now it's just a deftly aimed poke.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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A schoolboy cannot be expected to understand how swiftly violence and evil can strike out and change everything.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In this season of boyhood remembrances, Malle's is the most devastating -- an inspired elegy to little boys lost.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of Louis Malle's most personal and significant films.

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Louis Malle, possibly at his best here. The drama is subtle but affecting.

August 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Malle's approach is perfectly suited to the subject -- not in the least because his deliberate pacing conveys a child's sense of time.

September 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Avoids sentimentality, clichés and bombast, as it instead touches the heart in a moving and unforgettable way.

April 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

unquestionably Malle's most personal film and arguably his most powerful

April 2, 2006 Full Review Source:

As ever, Malle's sensitivity is supreme and his delicate style evocative. [Blu-ray]

March 27, 2006
Groucho Reviews

A delicately rendered and exceptionally moving reminiscence of a boyhood friendship cut short by war.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A powerful portrait of wartime France seen through the eyes of a child... The best film of director Louis Malle's distinguished career

July 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This intense, unsentimental and intricately detailed film goes to the top of the class.

July 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

The great Louis Malle based this movie on his rueful recollection of an event that happened at his childhood boarding school during WWII.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Goodbye, Children (Au Revoir Les Enfants)

Au Revoir Les Enfants by Louis Malle is 99% autobiographical and is regarded by Malle himself as the most important film he made. It's an entertaining enough film until the astonishing climax. Powerful and subtle at the same time with many interesting characters. Most of the characters aren't explored in great detail, this adds to the story, and without spoiling the ending, is kind of the point and how Malle remembers it. The most striking character of all is actually the Kitchen boy Joseph, again I won't tell you why as it will spoil the film and you really should see it for yourself!
June 8, 2012

Super Reviewer

AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS (or Goodbye, Children, as it translates in English) is quite a terse film, and even more when it is considered that this has been known as the semi-autobiographical story of Louis Malle, who directed, wrote, and (without credit) produced it. Its length, however, seems to have no impact on it as an emotional, empathetic visual story. This film isnâ(TM)t SCHINDLERâ(TM)S LIST, mind you; it is in no way a long saga, nor does it briefly convey the experiences of millions of Jews who suffered from the Holocaust. Instead, we have here an even more compelling and riveting story. We feel even more sympathy when we learn to understand a character as a person, and eventually move to understanding his emotional reactions when he realizes he may never again see his best friend.

Have you ever watched a film and almost immediately wanted to pop it back into the DVD player and watch it over again? Thatâ(TM)s the feeling I had when I watched AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS. In fact, I realize as Iâ(TM)m typing this that itâ(TM)s probably a film that would endure at least thirty consecutive viewings before it would grow tiring to watch. I wouldnâ(TM)t say Iâ(TM)m adamant when it comes to learning about the Holocaust, or even World War II in general, but this film especially gave me a step or two up from where I was regarding my interest in the subject. That said, AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS is just a shade off absolute perfection. The few scenes that manage to let go of your interest are what keep me from giving this five stars. Nonetheless, itâ(TM)s a film everyone should see.
February 12, 2012

Super Reviewer

Its so simple yet so beautiful. The actors are convincing and bring the melancholy mood to a new level for late 80's cinema. A great french film that deserves more attention!
December 27, 2011
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

Inspired by real events, a boarding school in World War II, France sets the stage where friendship is realized and youth is corrupted in Goodbye, Children. Moving and unforgettable.
September 10, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Auf Wiedersehen, Kinder (DE)
  • Goodbye Children (Au revoir les enfants) (UK)
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