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Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) (1945)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 9.2/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 1

Strong performances abound, and Carne's wit and grace are evident in this masterful (if long) French epic.

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

Strong performances abound, and Carne's wit and grace are evident in this masterful (if long) French epic.

audience

95

liked it
Average Rating: 4.4/5
User Ratings: 7,341

My Rating

Movie Info

Even in 1945, Marcel Carnà (C)'s Children of Paradise was regarded as an old-fashioned film. Set in the Parisian theatrical world of the 1840s, Jacques Prà (C)vert's screenplay concerns four men in love with the mysterious Garance (Arletty). Each loves Garance in his own fashion, but only the intentions of sensitive mime-actor Deburau (Jean-Louis Barrault) are entirely honorable; as a result, it is he who suffers most, hurdling one obstacle after another in pursuit of an evidently unattainable

Jan 22, 2002

Home Vision Entertainment

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (1) | DVD (20)

To luxuriate in the film's 3-hour, 10-minute length is to experience this masterpiece as it hasn't been experienced since the day it opened.

May 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shot in 1943 during World War II, Children of Paradise overcame so many seemingly impossible obstacles that today the film seems enchanted.

May 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you give this movie time to work on you, the elements that seem overly artificial or impossibly distant from our own time fade into insignificance, and you're left with a complicated and wonderful romantic drama that's full of surprises.

March 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Before French cinema reinvented itself with jump cuts and cool bobs, Marcel Carné's 19th-century backstage drama was the epitome of good taste: a sumptuous spread of genteel sparring and epic heartache.

March 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Marcel Carné's towering intimate epic of early 19th-century love and the lives of performers, often heralded as the greatest French film of all time.

March 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Poetry with a capital "P," sprinkled with fairy dust.

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
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The movie isn't necessarily realistic-it's about the theater after all-but its unusually cynical center keeps it from becoming so much sentimental mush, while delivering the heartbreak that audiences so crave.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

It's almost flawlessly filmed, though it at times lacks warmth.

August 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Thanks to this glorious new restoration, "We'll always have THIS Paris."

July 15, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Among the peaks of romantic cinema.

November 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Even if the style is from another age, once seen it lives in the imagination for ever.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Even Truffaut conceded in the end: 'I have made 23 films, well, I would swap them all for the chance to have made Les enfants du paradis'.

November 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

The multi-layered screenplay, stunning sets and a terrific ensemble are just some of the enduring pleasures of a truly collaborative masterpiece.

November 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The triumph here is the art-direction realization of 1840 Paris, where the grand monde mingled with the demimonde and the flat-out criminal.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Marce Carne's masterpiece, made under impossible conditions during France's Occupation in WWII, is an exquisitely poetic film about the nature and forms of love and the relation between art and life.

August 8, 2010 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

An impassioned paean to the vital importance, and mutual reliance, of freedom and artistic creativity.

July 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Stunning!

March 13, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

Audience Reviews for Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise)

It's easy to see why Marcel Carné's "Children of Paradise" is considered by many to be an all-time great of the medium. It's a sprawling, lavish production that was made under extraordinary circumstances (during the Nazi occupation of Franch). But in the year 2011 (and in the humble opinion of this reviewer) the film does feel a tad dated from a narrative standpoint. That said, the film is effortlessly likeable and entertaining, and even at over three hours never drags or feels like a chore. Though it doesn't hold up in the same way that say... "Notorious" or "It's a Wonderful Life" does, it's still an outstanding achievement that should be considered mandatory viewing.
April 13, 2011
YLOWBSTARDreturns

Super Reviewer

a miracle film made under nazi occupation. a tragic romantic epic of all the mad denizens of the boulevard du crime. wonderful
March 30, 2009
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

1945 French satire, if you like Moulin Rouge, or La Haine check this one out.
January 31, 2008
rezpatriot

Super Reviewer

A french masterpiece. Under the circumstances it is amazing such a film was even made. The luxurious set pieces and the beautiful costume design bring this film to life. Humour, tears, and dramatics are all added. Like all the great French stories it tells us of love and loss.
September 2, 2006
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Kinder des Olymp (DE)
  • Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis) (UK)
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