The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

Critics Consensus

The Passion of Joan of Arc is must-see cinema for Renée Maria Falconetti's incredible performance alone -- and an all-time classic for innumerable other reasons.



Total Count: 47


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,341
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Movie Info

With its stunning camera work and striking compositions, Carl Th. Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc convinced the world that movies could be art. Renée Falconetti gives one of the greatest performances ever recorded on film as the young maiden who died for God and France. Long thought to have been lost to fire, the original version was miraculously found in perfect condition in 1981 in a Norwegian mental institution.

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Maria Falconetti
as Joan of Arc
Eugene Silvain
as Bishop Cauchon
Eugene Silvain
as Bishop Pierre Couchon
Michel Simon
as Jean Lemaitre
Maurice Schutz
as Nicholas Loyseleur
Antonin Artaud
as Jean Massieu
as Jean Beaupere
André Berley
as Jean d'Estivet
Jean D'Yd
as Guillaume Erard
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News & Interviews for The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

Critic Reviews for The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (1)

  • This is neither a hopeful nor a hopeless film, but one of feeling so colossal and resplendent, it can't be constrained by prison or consumed by fire.

    Nov 22, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Here is a deadly tiresome picture that merely makes an attempt to narrate without sound or dialog an allegedly written recorded trial in the 15th or 16th century of Joan of Arc for witchery, leading to her condemnation and burning at the stake.

    May 26, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Dreyer's radical approach to constructing space and the slow intensity of his mobile style make this "difficult" in the sense that, like all the greatest films, it reinvents the world from the ground up.

    Feb 9, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Dreyer's most universally acclaimed masterpiece remains one of the most staggeringly intense films ever made.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tony Rayns

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is the gifted performance of Maria Falconetti as the Maid of Orleans that rises above everything in this artistic achievement.

    Mar 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Few films have earned classic status more than Carl Dreyer's 1928 silent study of the 15th-Century teenager who helped lead French troops against the British only to be tried as a heretic.

    Mar 24, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc)

  • Jun 08, 2018
    Director Carl Theodor Dreyer created a unique experience with this film, employing low camera angles, unique editing, and a ton of tight shots on his actors to get an intensity of emotion from them, Maria Falconetti (as Jeanne d'Arc) in particular. The story focuses on just her trial and execution, which has the advantage that it makes the film taut and Kafkaesque, but the disadvantage that additional context would have told a richer story. Do we really see Jeanne d'Arc here? I'm not so sure, historical transcript notwithstanding, though I did find it fascinating that she refused to change out of her men's clothing. While performances are strong and the film is ahead of its time, the content is dark, and not particularly uplifting, especially if you're a non-believer. There is of course a universal theme in a righteous person standing up to persecution - being mocked, threatened, and tortured - but at the end of the day, it's simple Jeanne, believing she was sent by God, standing up against the established clergy, who, threatened by her assertions, believe she was sent by the Devil. The film never ponders whether both may be deluded, and concludes with her soul being protected by the flames as it rises to heaven. Watch this one for Dreyer's craft and Falconetti's performance.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2017
    Baffling us with spectacular visuals and one of the most magnificent performances in the history of Cinema, it is nearly unbelievable how Dreyer made such a stunning masterpiece solely from rejected material after his original master print had been accidentally destroyed.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2016
    Easily one of the best films made in the history of cinema, The Passion of Joan of Arc marks the milestone for cinematic use of lighting and unapologetic acting. I loved the close ups and the zoom in of characters to make them look grotesque. It's such a simple yet powerful film, needs to be watched!
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    The Passion of Joan of Arc is a fascinating film. The film has great composition and the black and white gives it this intense, graphic quality (reminiscent of Fellini's 8 1/2). The performances are simple and intense as well (and I wonder if something might be lost if sound were added). This is definitely one to watch for lovers of film.
    Robert B Super Reviewer

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