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The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie) (1972)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 12,058

My Rating

Movie Info

In typical Luis Buñuel fashion, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie surrealistically skewers the conventions of society. Buñuel applies his surrealist touch to a mundane event: a dinner party that may never come to pass. A group of well-to-do friends attempt to gather for a social evening, but are thwarted at every turn. The initial problem seems to be a simple scheduling mistake, but the obstacles become more and more bizarre. At one point, the guests are interrupted at the table by an army

Dec 19, 2000

20th Century-Fox

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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (1) | DVD (15)

Luis Buñuel's 1972 comic masterpiece, about three well-to-do couples who try and fail to have a meal together, is perhaps the most perfectly achieved and executed of all his late French films.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Luis Bunuel adds another fine film to his solid record with this surrealistically oriented tale of so-called bourgeois types.

December 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
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The chic stylishness of the characters comes over as overbearing rather than satirically revealing.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Take a look again at its dream sequences, especially the nocturnal one involving the young man in the side street, and you will see a master disturber still at work.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
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An absurdly comic assault on the meaningless social rituals and polite hypocrisies of the upper middle class.

January 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
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Most of the films of Luis Bunuel are comedies in one way or another, but he doesn't go for gags and punch lines; his comedy is more like a dig in the ribs, sly and painful.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Dreams nest within other dreams like so many Chinese puzzle boxes, while no dream belongs exclusively to a single dreamer, as though Buñuel were toying with the Jungian notion of the collective unconscious.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A wonderful cast, which includes Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Pierre Cassel, help Buñuel go about his anarchic mischief...

June 29, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

An exotic and brilliant hothouse flower of a film.

June 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Fate conspires to prevent six French eminences from eating dinner in this remastered print of Buñuel's gigglesome, troubling Surrealist tract.

June 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It weaves games of dream and reality as the sextet wander through increasingly absurd set-ups. patriarchal authority and polite social rituals are slyly undermined, and the cast play it impeccably.

June 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Manages to be totally surreal yet totally approachable. Quite amazing.

June 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

This is more than just a scathing satire on the political, religious and military representatives of the ruling elite. Ever the surrealist, Buñuel is also paying tribute to the poise and resilience of the very people he spent his whole career attacking.

June 26, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Buñuel doesn't just ridicule, he pokes and prods at his dubious subjects with a gleeful delight. Such priceless cynical joy you won't find anywhere else.

February 2, 2011 Full Review Source:

It's all too familiar Buñuel and lacks the bite of some of his earlier and sharper edged films.

August 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Innovative, many layered and prevocative but very, very dated.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Of the four absurdist comedies the director made towards the end of his life, this is the best and most accessible.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Buñuel and Carriere give us dreams within dreams, fantasies within fantasies and stories within stories, all punctuated by scenes of the six striding purposefully along a deserted country road, resolutely headed nowhere,.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

A delicious comedy of manners, Bunuel's Oscar winner is a descendant of the audaciously surreal Golden Age, a light satire of the trivial, conformist bourgeois lifestyle.

March 2, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Bunuel was at the height of his powers with this satirical farce that explodes the distance between all things personal and political. "The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie" is a timeless and enigmatic masterpiece that psychologically alters its audience

September 14, 2005

There are masterpieces scattered among Buñuel's French films like confetti, but here one of cinema's most brilliant directors made the most brilliant film of his career.

August 4, 2005 Full Review Source:

Não apenas um olhar cínico (e divertido) sobre nossas fachadas sociais, mas também uma brincadeira inteligente com a própria linguagem do Cinema.

May 29, 2005
Cinema em Cena

A true treasure of cinema from one its masters.

July 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie)

Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie has all the surrealism and satire as you'd expect from the French director. I don't think it has the impact of Viridiana or is as accomplished as Belle de Jour but I would argue that the visuals are some of the funniest of his, some subtle and some laugh out loud but none that are ever too obvious. It's very of its time but still rings true today, unfortunately very much so.
February 11, 2013

Super Reviewer

If you have no sense of humor going into this, you wont get it at all. This film has a non-linear narrative where things just happen for the sole purpose of exploring the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie which the title tells us it's about. In other words it's a social critique of the upper classes. The way they react and behave in the situations in the film is very funny. I recommend this movie.
October 9, 2012

Super Reviewer

Luis Buñuel is an acquired taste that I sometimes have trouble acquiring. His films can be a little cryptic and transcendent (or confusing and pompous - depending on your point of reference). The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is an exercise in precise meandering that will either pull you along by your belt loops or leave you standing befuddled in its wake.
January 2, 2012
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

The master of surrealism, Luis Bunuel was about 72 when he made this fantastic film, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". It is literally a wet "dream" come true for all those film buffs who like their movies full of oneiric imagery with random occurrences that, although set in a real world, do not make much sense!


It must be clear enough now, that there is no single plot to make this film a whole. Rather it is a collection of confounding events in the life of six central characters of the bourgeois class, including two married couples, who happen to be friends. Most events revolve around their repeatedly thwarted attempts to sit down to have a leisurely meal together! The world in Bunuel's film, although real, isn't very logical either. Several seemingly bizarre events are accepted as "normal" with a rather straight face by the characters, which adds to the many qualities of Bunuel's surreal vision.


Relating some of the strangest and best events in the film in this review will do disservice to the first time viewer, but assuming that a mention of a couple of other events will only entice the reader to watch the film, instead of spoiling the fun, I think I can safely mention them. The group of the aforementioned six people are walking down a long stretch of an open road on a sunny day. This scene is repeated throughout the film and randomly interspersed with other events in the film. Then in one scene, the three ladies of the group sit down in a restaurant to have some tea. The waiter later comes and tells them that it is unavailable. The cycle continues, as later, no matter what they order, the waiter comes back after a few minutes and informs them that they are "out of it". In the midst of this, a complete stranger, a sad-looking Lieutenant in a uniform, comes to their table, relates a ghostly tale from his childhood and walks away. The ladies don't seem to be express much disbelief upon hearing the odd tale either!


Suffice to say, that this is one of Luis Bunuel's best films in which he puts together such amazing episodes that will make you smile in disbelief! The episodes are sometimes disturbing, yet most of the times they are comic. But the comedy comes from the general irrationality of it all; the events are not "funny" in the conventional sense. The stranger it gets, the better it gets, and there is literally no end, as Bunuel subjects the audience to one great scene after other, some laced with wry humour, and some others revealing the hypocrisy of the bourgeois. Fine performances come from almost all of the cast, in which their behavior reflects the eccentricity of the event at hand! They don't really act normal or rational! Some scenes are ultimately revealed to be dreams, but there are yet others which are still off-the-wall yet not revealed to be either dream or reality. If nothing else this film will reveal Bunuel's wide range of imagination where the surrealism doesn't go wild all the way into another world (like in some Terry Gilliam films). Bunuel shows that twisting some reality in the real world can be just as weird and an even better experience than the outlandish, unrealistic universe in which some other filmmakers set their films.

Luis Bunuel accomplished at 72 what most other young filmmakers still struggle to do. He made a perfect film for us hungry viewers who seek unconventional cinema! And yet at the same time, Bunuel seems to be having fun himself by subjecting us audiences to his spectacular imagination and having a good laugh at our perplexity. The Academy Award was well-deserved. The jury must have had a ball and handed over the trophy without further thought.

Go for it! Super fun and a good mind-fuck is guaranteed!

Score: 10/10
November 29, 2011
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der diskrete Charme der Bourgeoisie (DE)
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (UK)
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