Day for Night


Day for Night

Critics Consensus

A sweet counterpoint to Godard's Contempt, Truffaut's Day for Night is a congenial tribute to the self-afflicted madness that is making a movie.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,209
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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, Rovi


Jean Champion
as Bertrand
François Truffaut
as Director Ferrand, Ferrand
as Lilianna
Henry Graham
as Insurer
Bernard Menez
as Bernard, the Prop Man
Jean-François Stévenin
as 1st Assistant Director
Nike Arrighi
as Odile, the Makeup Girl
Zenaide Rossi
as Mme. Lajoie
David Markham
as Dr. Nelson, Julie's Husband
Maurice Séveno
as TV Reporter
Christophe Vesque
as Boy with Cane in Dream Sequences
Graham Greene (II)
as English Insurance Broker
Marcel Berbert
as French Insurance Broker
Walter Bal
as Walter (Cinematographer)
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Critic Reviews for Day for Night

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (35)

  • A glorious ode to the fleeting, addictive and irreplaceable joys of cinematic collaboration...

    May 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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...

    Feb 22, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic
  • It is a breezy, richly enjoyable if not especially profound film about cinema: it conjures the ambient, dizzy sexiness of movie artifice, and it's also notable for a remarkable cameo by Graham Greene.

    Feb 17, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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'.

    Feb 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

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

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3/5
  • A poem in praise of making movies. Not good movies, not bad movies -- movies.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Day for Night

  • May 01, 2016
    Considered one of Truffaut's finest films and an homage to the filmmaking process, this movie is about a French cast and crew in the process of making a movie. There are a number of smaller stories with the people involved as they reveal themselves through the shoot, and the movie highlights the difficulties from a director's point of view - time pressure, various idiosyncrasies of the actors, and the complexities of getting shots just right. Truffaut himself played the director, which was interesting to see and think about (you know, directing himself directing). The movie was reasonably good and it held my interest, but it was not great, because the behind-the-scenes action was less interesting to me. Maybe some of that is because the behind-the-scenes aspects have had more exposure since 1973 when the film was made, and it was more of a novelty then. I have to also say that with the exception of Nathalie Baye, I didn't care all that much about the cast and characters, which was probably also part of the problem. Worth watching though.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2015
    Day for Night is fine if viewed with modest expectations. As a comedy, it is amusing. As art, it is mildly interesting. As a film, it comes off as dated and uncinematic with no particularly strong performances. Still, chances are that if you were lead to this page then you're not going to regret giving Day for Night a look.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2013
    It's very interesting that the English release of this film was not a direct translation of the French title which would have been "The American Night" Truffaut brings a nice mix of humour into yet another film about film making.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 06, 2012
    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 M Super Reviewer

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