Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux) (1932)



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Movie Info

Having saved a scurvy street derelict from drowning himself, a wealthy Frenchman assumes responsibility for the fellow, who then proceeds to ingratiate himself into his benefactor's household with comical and confounding results. This classic Jean Renoir comedy was remade in 1986 as Down and Out in Beverly Hills.


Michel Simon
as Priape Boudu
Charles Granval
as Monsieur Lastingois
Charles Grandval
as Édouard Lestingois
Marcelle Hainia
as Emma Lestingois
Marcella Hainia
as Madame Lastingois
Jean Daste
as L'étudiant
Jacques Becker
as Poet on a Bench
George Damoux
as Marriage Guest
Jane Pierson
as Rose, the Neighbor's Maid
Georges D'Arnoux
as Wedding Guest
George Darnoux
as Marriage Guest
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Critic Reviews for Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4)

A beautifully rhythmed film that makes one nostalgic for the period when it was made.

Aug 29, 2012

Amid the early-talkie crudeness you can see Renoir discover what it means to visually evoke the unpredictable flow of life with composition, movement, and depth.

May 9, 2007

The most startling thing about Boudu is just how incredibly fresh it remains.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Jean Renoir's effortless 1932 masterpiece is as informal, beguiling, and subversive as its eponymous hero.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Its joy is as infectious as ever, its anarchy still as cutting as that of L'Age d'Or; and the free-and-easy techniques once described by Sadoul as "of very uneven quality" look not only completely masterly but impeccably modern.

Jan 22, 2018 | Full Review…

It's hard to imagine cinema without Boudu Saved From Drowning.

Dec 16, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux)


The plot is well known by now but the inventive execution's the thing here, still fresh after so many years. But in addition to whatever entertainment or cinematically historical value contained within, here is out and out immersion into Parisian life circa 1930, before the nearly universal acceptance of the thought that "all the world's a stage" and so a look at our planet before our obsession with mirrors ("... and what's wrong with that!") changed it.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Anyone who has seen "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" knows the thumbnail plot of Jean Renoir's "Boudu Saved from Drowning": a nihilistic bum is taken in by a generous, upscale couple and (contrary to Hollywood formula) abuses their kindness and does not transform into a wonderful citizen. But people who saw "Down and Out" first may be surprised at just how unlikeable Boudu is, even compared with Nick Nolte's later incarnation. The character is made still more distasteful by Michel Simon's rather broad, burlesque performance (which, alas, still seems mired in silent-movie theatrics). "Boudu" makes some sharp satirical points -- such as showing the police's variable interest in finding a lost dog, depending on the stature of its owner -- but the humor suffers from stiff, outdated filmmaking. The score is almost non-existent, breeding plenty of deadly silences, and the sporadic music only occurs onscreen (examples: a marching band, a wedding orchestra, an organ grinder, a neighbor who enjoys playing flute). Also, it's a comedy that is directed like a drama -- one yearns for quicker editing and more reaction shots. Still, it was a film ahead of its time.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Bondé sauvé des eaux) Quotes

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