The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) (1928)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc) is widely regarded as Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's finest achievement and one of the greatest films of all time. Dreyer recreates the trial and execution of St. Joan with near-documentary authenticity, as if one were present at the actual 15th century event and both defendant and accusers were the genuine article. The director's use of huge, probing close-ups -- detailing every pockmark and even the saliva at the sides of the mouths -- adds a shocking immediacy which makes it hard to believe that this film is nearly 70 years old. As Joan, Renée Maria Falconetti (in her only film) transcends mere praise. The Passion of Joan of Arc is a silent film, but the original transcripts of Joan's trial are brilliantly conveyed by the pantomime of the actors. The film's title is supremely double-edged -- Joan's "passion" is shown to be as erotic as it is spiritual. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Art House & International , Classics , Drama
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Criterion Collection


Eugene Silvain
as Bishop Pierre Couchon
Antonin Artaud
as Jean Massieu
Louis Ravet
as Jean Beaupère
Maurice Schutz
as Nicholas Loyseleur
Andre Berley
as Jean d'Estivet
Michel Simon
as Jean Lemaitre
Jean D'Yd
as Guillaume Evrard
Show More Cast

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

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (7)

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.

Full Review… | May 25, 2008
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.

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Dreyer's most universally acclaimed masterpiece remains one of the most staggeringly intense films ever made.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
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.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

You cannot know the history of silent film unless you know the face of Renee Maria Falconetti.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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


Very simple and minimalistic, yet very compelling and harrowing. What I found intriguing - and a bit bizarre, knowing how meticulous Dreyer could be - was that single shot where one of the priests was clearly seen wearing 20th century glasses. Why would he have left it in? Was it a reference to someone?

vieras esine
vieras esine

Super Reviewer

With breathtaking visuals and a potent story, it's hard to believe this was released in 1928.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer


Four stars for the film, an extra half of a star for how utterly brilliant Falconetti is. Whether it was Dreyer's idea to make her kneel upon stone or her own prowess in acting that allowed her to give such a painfully passionate and nuanced performance, it is simply breathtaking. As for the film itself, it really never lets you go. Without any establishing shots, the viewer is plunged face first into the drama. From the accusers to the accused, there is a real sense of vehemence that all of the actors exude. It is passionate, relentless, and beautiful all at the same time. While I don't think I will revisit this more than one time in a decade, It is none the less an important film and displays the power that actors such as Falconetti can have in a film.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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