Day for Night (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Day for Night (1973)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Day for Night Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Known to English-speaking audiences as Day for Night, La nuit américaine was director François Truffaut's loving and humorous tribute to the communal insanity of making a movie. The film details the making of a family drama called "Meet Pamela" about the tragedy that follows when a young French man introduces his parents to his new British wife. Truffaut gently satirizes his own films with "Meet Pamela"'s overwrought storyline, but the real focus is on the chaos behind the scenes. One of the central actresses is continually drunk due to family problems, while the other is prone to emotional instability, and the male lead (Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Leaud) starts to act erratically when his intermittent romance with the fickle script girl begins to fail. In addition to all this personal drama, the film is besieged by technical problems, from difficult tracking shots to stubborn animal actors. The inspiration for future satires of movie-making from Living in Oblivion to Irma Vep, La nuit américaine was considered slight by some critics in comparison to earlier Truffaut masterworks, but it went on to win the 1973 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard, Suzanne Schiffman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 18, 2003
Warner Bros. Pictures


Jean Champion
as Bertrand
François Truffaut
as Director Ferrand, Fe...
as Lilianna
Henry Graham
as Insurer
Bernard Menez
as Bernard, the Prop Ma...
Jean-François Stéven...
as 1st Assistant Direct...
Nike Arrighi
as Odile, the Makeup Gi...
Zenaide Rossi
as Mme. Lajoie
David Markham
as Dr. Nelson, Julie's ...
Maurice Séveno
as TV Reporter
Christophe Vesque
as Boy with Cane in Dre...
Graham Greene (II)
as English Insurance Br...
Marcel Berbert
as French Insurance Bro...
Walter Bal
as Walter (Cinematograp...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Day for Night

Critic Reviews for Day for Night

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (5)

It's a hilarious and informative movie, and in the pantheon of films about filmmaking, it strikes a neat balance between the operatic neuroses of '8 1/2' and the warm, pastel-hued nostalgia of 'Singin' in the Rain'.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Truffaut is looking at the world from inside a glorious obsession: everyone outside looks a little gray and dim.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A poem in praise of making movies. Not good movies, not bad movies -- movies.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

François Truffaut's love letter to filmmaking

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
Q Network Film Desk

Though not one of Truffaut's strongest works, this loving tribute to the chaotic process of filmmaking is charming, which may explain its win of the best foreign language film Oscar.

Full Review… | April 12, 2012

It is a Pirandellian affair, an elegiac celebration of a dying kind of cinema, a meditation on the connection between film and life by Truffaut...

Full Review… | February 22, 2011

Audience Reviews for Day for Night

A great view about the charm, conflict, love, family and life in cinema. A cinematography poem to the artists of the seventh art. A better and more serious version of 'Noises Off' with very good actings of all the cast. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


Why not give Truffaut a big budget and let him play with it? Why not indeed. La Nuit Americaine is the director's own account of life on the set, of the process of making a film, with all of its difficulties and its perks. With the help of dozens of charming, excellently written characters and the development of many different threads to a common storyline, he exemplifies the laughter and the tears and the interconnexion of humanities that the process of flimmaking implicates.

Where Godard was ambiguous and Fellini was grandieuse (I'm talking Le Mepris and 8 1/2, respectively), Truffaut is subtle, good-hearted, and intimate (as he always is). Filmmaking is a personal, consuming project, and he chooses to portray even the most technical aspects of it which, any other director might have thought, could have been unappealing to an audience. Truffaut finds the humor and soul behind every task, as he does in his absurd plot deviation about his film's star's, Alphonse's, romantic obsession with one of the girls working on the movie.

Jean Pierre Leaud is just as great as he always is playing the neurotic, insecure, obsessive Alphonse with a charming sense of comedy. Jacqueline Bisset is ethereal as she drifts through the movie, in a role of another, different neurotic. The same can be said of Valentina Cortese and Jean-Pierre Aumont, whose deep conviction of their having big screen presences only causes them to become legends in front of our eyes.

During La Nuit Americaine Truffaut is so full of fascination, and admiration, and pride for what he does, that in the end the feeling is that of having just heard a good friend, or many good friends, speak about their jobs as directors, assistants, actors, make-up artists, or producers. There is an endless possibility of identification with their feelings, situations, attitudes. Day for Night is a film to inhabit and love.

The film opens with a fantastic long shot that I will never forget. The note is happy. The music is beautiful. La Nuit Americaine is the best form of escapism.

Elvira B

Super Reviewer


From the opening credits to the last frame it is great fun to see behind the scenes of the making of a movie. What is going on in the cast's and crew's private lives and how it affects the movie being made was the most interesting thing though. The many uninterrupted tracking shots following Truffaut as a writer/director named Ferrand, who for all intents and purposes is Truffaut, are amazing in their fluidity as he answers production questions from everyone who crosses his path. Jacqueline Bisset as a visiting American/British star in the French production of Meet Pamela is beautifully natural in her role. Jean-Pierre Aumont as the mature actor is also likable and charming. Nathalie Baye stands out in her hard working, strong, and attractive role as a script girl who seems to have more responsibilities than the assistant director. Jean-Pierre Leaud and Dani are good as a young immature couple, he the other lead with Bisset's and Aumont's characters, she getting an assistant continuity job through him. Valentina Cortese is an aging actress who is turning more and more to drink. Bernard Menez, the prop man, is quite funny. There are producers, other actors, more crew, paparazzi, and extras as well.

Movie sets are controlled places where stories are committed to celluloid, not like real life. Still unexpected occurrences like trying to film animals, actresses becoming pregnant, emotions becoming unstable because of actors' private relationship troubles, and sudden death lead to changes being made to the script all along the way. One theme is the love of movie making, which we see throughout. Another is relationships between the sexes. When Alphonse (Leaud) asks Julie (Bisset) his repeated question "Are women magic?" she replies, "Everyone is magic. And no one is." By giving the actors and the crew the same attention, by giving the making of Meet Pamela the same attention as the off camera lives of those involved, and by giving several actresses roles as strong or stronger than many of the men have, Traffaut shows that he truly believes "Everyone is magic. And no one is."

Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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