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La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) (1937)



Average Rating: 9/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 10,986

My Rating

Movie Info

For its 75th Anniversary, Rialto Pictures presents a stunning 4K restoration of GRAND ILLUSION, Jean Renoir's powerful and eloquent anti-war film set during World War I. Aristocratic Captain de Boeldieu and his mechanic, Lieutenant Maréchal are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, who treats them with customary officers' hospitality. The two downed pilots are then sent to a German POW camp, where they quickly join a group of prisoners who have concocted an elaborate escape plan. Their plot is

Mar 24, 1998


Rialto Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (64) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (2) | DVD (10)

It's among the most understated anti-war films ever made, effortlessly humanistic but far too subtle to indulge in preaching.

June 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A model of simplicity and grace, with emotional effects that move you when you least expect it, the kind of great film that only a master can pull off.

May 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Funny, heart-wrenching, nail-biting, caustic and profound, touting the futility of armed combat while turning imprisonment and escape into a microcosm for society's aspirations and contradictions.

May 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's still one of the key humanist expressions to be found in movies: sad, funny, exalting, and glorious.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an excellent film, with Renoir's usual looping line and deft shifts of tone, though today the balance of critical opinion has shifted in favor of the greater darkness and filigree of The Rules of the Game.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An artistically masterful feature, the picture breathes the intimate life of warriors on both sides during the [First] World War.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Renoir, who invokes so skillfully these terrifying images of disintegration, offers in contrast only the old ideal of man's brotherhood, and his film does not tell us whether it is illusion or reality.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

Back in 1952, both Orson Welles and David Lean cited the movie as one of their 10 all-time favorite films. Still, not everyone was a fan: Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's rat-faced Minister of Propaganda, declared it "Cinematic Public Enemy No. 1."

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

often contrasted to All Quiet on the Western Front which has a similar message but told with a very different perspective

August 15, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Like Universal's Oscar winner 'All Quiet on the Western Front' (1930), 'La Grande Illusion' was banned in Germany by Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels. See it and sing 'La Marseillaise.'

August 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

See it and you may begin to appreciate the sorts of standards for greatness that the cinema is capable of setting.

July 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Oregonian

a monumental humanist work

June 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Its very simplicity of utterance gives it a purity that makes other films that try to express similar sentiments feel forced and obvious.

June 7, 2012 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Renoir's 1937 anti-war masterpiece created a new genre, the POW movie, and with his 1939 La Règle du jeu constitutes a diptych of unparalleled excellence.

April 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

A timeless classic of acting and filmmaking genius that uses the artificiality of war to explore the very construct of society, and is a classic must-see.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source:

The great illusion is that these men of the officer class are somehow different from the masses who suffered the bloodiest of wars. Renoir proves that they are not.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A vividly humanist, anti-war classic.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

A sorrowful, acutely thoughtful, and wholly imperishable masterpiece...

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Tragic. Moving. Funny. A pure joy.

April 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

The film makes its moral point about the futility of combat by emphasising the interconnectedness of all humanity via such shared experiences as hunger, desire and friendship. It's also a ripping yarn with a vein of charming and sometimes risqué humour.

April 4, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

La Grande Illusion retains its power as an example of European camaraderie and co-operation.

April 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

It ranks proudly alongside The Rules Of The Game as Renoir at his stunning best.

March 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

La Grande Illusion is a sublimely poignant and lucidly insightful commentary on the social legacy of the Great War in Europe.

February 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

Audience Reviews for La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion)

An apparently simple yet notably complex film that uses a subtle approach to explore a gamut of humanistic themes - as Renoir avoids any sort of sentimentality, which can also be seen from the elegant way his camera appears to float, unaffected, among the characters.
September 27, 2013

Super Reviewer

This movie expertly depicts class warfare--no, it's not a new thing, it's been around forever competing with nationalism. As a college student in Germany, I had to watch this movie about 5 times and dissect it from all angles: historical, sociological, as well as literature and I never got sick of it. This movie really depicts the utter senselessness of war--how lost soldiers will take up with enemy women for succor and warmth and vice versa and how the officers (the aristocrats of the day, the 1%)inhabit a much different world than the hoi polloi. I am looking forward to seeing the remastered film as when I saw it, it was physically pretty damaged.
July 7, 2012
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

Experiência cinematografica cinco estrelas. Um filme que quase desapareceu da história do cinema mundial.
May 7, 2011
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

    1. Rosenthal: Not looking back?
    2. Lieutenant Maréchal: If I do, I'll never leave
    – Submitted by Andrew D (18 months ago)
    1. Rosenthal: Frontiers are an invention of men. Nature doesn't give a hoot.
    – Submitted by Steve E (22 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die große Illusion (DE)
  • La Grande Illusion (UK)
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