Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux) (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux) (1932)

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Boudu (played by Michel Simon, who also produced the film) is a shaggy, foul-smelling tramp who is rescued from drowning by bourgeois Frenchman Charles Granval. Deciding to "reform" Boudu, Granval invites the hobo into his home. Boudu returns the favor by turning the household upside down and by conducting an affair with Granval's wife Marcella Hainia. All ends happily--for Boudu at least--when the tramp wins the national lottery and marries maid Severine Lerczynska, who is so delighted that she ends her own affair with the hypocritical Granval. Boudu decides to forego his new-found wealth for his previous carefree existence, leaving the greedy Lerczynska in the lurch. Filmed in 1932, Boudu Saved From Drowning was not released in the US until 1967, at which time it was universally praised by the wine-and-cheese critics. A less subtle but not less hilarious American remake, 1986's Down and Out in Beverly Hills, starred Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler (this film spawned a brief, heavily laundered 1987 TV sitcom).more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Rene Fauchois, Albert Valentine, Jean Renoir, Albert Valentin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 23, 2005
Pathé Contemporary Films


Michel Simon
as Priape Boudu
Charles Granval
as Monsieur Lastingois
Charles Grandval
as Édouard Lestingois
Marcelle Hainia
as Emma Lestingois
Marcella Hainia
as Madame Lastingois
Jean Daste
as L'étudiant
Jacques Becker
as Poet on a Bench
Jane Pierson
as Rose, the Neighbor'...
George Damoux
as Marriage Guest
Georges D'Arnoux
as Wedding Guest
George Darnoux
as Marriage Guest
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)

Critic Reviews for Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

A beautifully rhythmed film that makes one nostalgic for the period when it was made.

Full Review… | August 29, 2012
New Yorker
Top Critic

Amid the early-talkie crudeness you can see Renoir discover what it means to visually evoke the unpredictable flow of life with composition, movement, and depth.

Full Review… | May 9, 2007
Village Voice
Top Critic

The most startling thing about Boudu is just how incredibly fresh it remains.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Jean Renoir's effortless 1932 masterpiece is as informal, beguiling, and subversive as its eponymous hero.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 12, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)


The plot is well known by now but the inventive execution's the thing here, still fresh after so many years. But in addition to whatever entertainment or cinematically historical value contained within, here is out and out immersion into Parisian life circa 1930, before the nearly universal acceptance of the thought that "all the world's a stage" and so a look at our planet before our obsession with mirrors ("... and what's wrong with that!") changed it.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Anyone who has seen "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" knows the thumbnail plot of Jean Renoir's "Boudu Saved from Drowning": a nihilistic bum is taken in by a generous, upscale couple and (contrary to Hollywood formula) abuses their kindness and does not transform into a wonderful citizen. But people who saw "Down and Out" first may be surprised at just how unlikeable Boudu is, even compared with Nick Nolte's later incarnation. The character is made still more distasteful by Michel Simon's rather broad, burlesque performance (which, alas, still seems mired in silent-movie theatrics).

"Boudu" makes some sharp satirical points -- such as showing the police's variable interest in finding a lost dog, depending on the stature of its owner -- but the humor suffers from stiff, outdated filmmaking. The score is almost non-existent, breeding plenty of deadly silences, and the sporadic music only occurs onscreen (examples: a marching band, a wedding orchestra, an organ grinder, a neighbor who enjoys playing flute). Also, it's a comedy that is directed like a drama -- one yearns for quicker editing and more reaction shots. Still, it was a film ahead of its time.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Jean Renoir's "Boudu Saved From Drowning" is as watchable and enjoyable today as it was 1932, and that is quite a feat.

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