The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)1964

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) (1964)



Critic Consensus: Jacques Demy elevates the basic drama of everyday life into a soaring opera full of bittersweet passion and playful charm, featuring a timeless performance from Catherine Deneuve.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) Photos

Movie Info

Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. This simple romantic tragedy begins in 1957. Guy Foucher (Nino Castelnuovo), a 20-year-old French auto mechanic, has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery (a luminous Catherine Deneuve), an employee in her widowed mother's chic but financially embattled umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève make love. She becomes pregnant and must choose between waiting for Guy's return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant (Marc Michel, reprising his role from Demy's masterful debut, Lola). A completely sung movie, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is closest in form to a cinematic opera. Composer Michel Legrand composed the score, modeling it around the patterns of everyday conversation. Umbrellas was re-released in 1997.

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Catherine Deneuve
as Genevieve Emery
Nino Castelnuovo
as Guy Foucher
Marc Michel
as Roland Cassard
Ellen Farner
as Madeleine
Anne Vernon
as Madame Emery
Mireille Perrey
as Aunt Elise
Pierre Caden
as Bernard
Bernard Fradet
as Gas Station Apprentice
Michel Benoist
as Umbrella Shop Customer
Philippe Dumat
as Garage Customer
Harald Wolff
as Monsieur Dubourg
Dorothée Blank
as Girl in Sailors' Cafe
Jane Carat
as Jenny/Genevieve
Bernard Garnier
as Garage Mechanic
Francois Charet
as Garage Mechanic
Jacques Camelinat
as Garage Customer
Roger Perrinoz
as Cafe Proprietor
Paul Pavel
as First Removal Man
Gisele Grandpre
as Madame Germaine
Rosalie Varda
as Francoise Cassard
Francois Foucher
as Herve Legrand
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News & Interviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

Critic Reviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (14)

It continues to charm and delight for the same reasons it did back in 1964.

March 13, 2014 | Full Review…

It is a small picture, a boutique musical. But it's lovely.

January 9, 2014 | Rating: 4/4

As spun-sugar holiday treats go, "Umbrellas" is hard to resist.

December 27, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Seemingly banal and sentimental on the surface, [director Jacques] Demy has avoided these aspects by tasteful handling and the right balance in emotion, compassion and narrative.

January 11, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Umbrellas makes escapist play with the stuff of kitchen-sink social realism.

February 9, 2006
Top Critic

Not only has he resurrected the quaint and artificial device of having the dialogue set to music and unrealistically sung, but he uses this operatic method to tell a story that is so banal... it wouldn't get beyond a reader in Hollywood.

January 15, 2005 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)


The editing is great and the art direction is gorgeous with its strong saturated colors, but for me this is an awfully frustrating film and the music very much like fingernails on a blackboard, absolutely insufferable as everything is sung through like a horrible arioso piece.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


I've tried to watch this thing over and over again through the years, based on its reputation, but once they would start singing my attention would wander and I'd either fall asleep or leave it. My faux pas, baby, my big frickin' faux pas. Better than nearly 98% of musicals out there simply on theory alone, this very human arc of a love affair manages to comment as well on the art form of musicals, of romances, and even on tourism. And does it in another language. Truly a well deserved reputation on this one, try to get through it and NOT see yourself and all your previous romances, I dare you.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


A full-on musical. Singing from start to finish, all 90 minutes. All scored, no talking, total commitment. The production design is also awesome enough to give Wes Anderson a hard-on. How successful is it? Very. It's not without it's flaws, but it's very watchable.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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