Beau Travail

Critics Consensus

Beau Travail finds director Claire Denis drawing on classic literature to construct a modern tragedy fueled by timeless desires.



Total Count: 31


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,824
User image

Movie Info

In this military drama, a military man finds his position of prominence questioned when a new recruit wins the commander's favor. Galoup (Denis Lavant) is an officer at a French Foreign Legion outpost in the Gulf of Dijbouti, where he enjoys a close relationship with the Commanding Officer (Michel Subor) and works with a team of fit young men who work hard all day and play hard all night. When Sentain (Gregoire Colin), a new recruit, joins the troops, Galoup believes that it upsets the delicate balance between the C.O. and the other men. Sentain is well-liked by his comrades for his good humor and selfless nature, and his virtues make him the C.O.'s new favorite. Galoup is jealous of the attention Sentain receives, and he devises a plan to discredit Sentain in the eyes of the other men and have him drummed out of the service. Galoup's plot is found out, however, and Galoup is stripped of his rank and sent home. Beau Travail was loosely based on Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville, though disco dancing did not figure quite as prominently in Melville's novella. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Michel Subor
as Commander Bruno Forestier
Gregoire Colin
as Gilles Sentain
Richard Courcet
as Legionnaire
Adiatou Massudi
as Legionnaire
Mickeal Ravovski
as Legionnaire
Dan Herzberh
as Legionnaire
Giuseppe Molino
as Legionnaire
Marc Veh
as Legionnaire
Thong Duy Nguyen
as Legionnaire
Jean-Yves Vivet
as Legionnaire
Bernardo Montet
as Legionnaire
Dimitri Tsiapkinis
as Legionnaire
Djamel Zemali
as Legionnaire
Addlekander Bouti
as Legionnaire
Abdlekander Bouti
as Legionnaire
View All

Critic Reviews for Beau Travail

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Beau Travail

  • Dec 11, 2013
    Claire Denis' treatment of the modern French Foreign Legion rolls in its own time but the story that it weaves is well worth the wait. Very well filmed.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2013
    it's a visual poem over the thinly disguised bones of billy budd but it can't really be described, only experienced. the remarkable denis lavant strikes again. nice work indeed
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Dec 17, 2009
    Engrossing exploration of masculinity follows a group of French Foreign Legionaries stationed in Djibouti, whose harsh surroundings harbor suspicion and conflict. Director Claire Denis displays her usual flair for observation and subtext.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2008
    Not an easy film to watch because it often goes back and forth from past to present. But visually, the film is gorgeous. The director knows where to frame her landscapes and how to frame her actors. Finally, the final sequence is just memorable. It might seem completely out of there, but there is more than it seems. The film is NOT straightforward in terms of narrative, but we just need to dig a little to understand deeply the soldiers.
    Linda K Super Reviewer

Beau Travail Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features