Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) (1974)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom) Photos

Movie Info

The Phantom of Liberty is the Luis Buñuel film in which eating is presented as a private function, while going to the toilet is a social event. It is also the film wherein a peddler of "filthy French postcards" deals only in harmless scenic pictures. It is also the film in which an indiscriminate sniper is lauded as a hero. With all this going on, we should not be surprised that a little girl, who remains in full view of the audience throughout, is regarded as a missing child. Imagine the fun 20th Century-Fox had back in 1974 when trying to come up with an advertising "handle" for the doggedly indescribable Phantom of Liberty. They certainly could not exploit the aforementioned toilet scene, nor the sequence in which a group of monks use their religious medallions as poker chips.
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Jean-Claude Brialy
as Mr. Foucauld
Adolfo Celi
as Dr. Legendre/Dr. Pasolini
Monica Vitti
as Mrs. Foucauld
Adriana Asti
as Prefect's Sister
Milena Vukotic
as Receptionist
Michael Lonsdale
as Jean Bermans
Anne-Marie Deschott
as Edith Rosenblum
Michel Piccoli
as 2nd Prefect of Police
Claude Piéplu
as Inspector
Paul Frankeur
as Innkeeper
Julien Bertheau
as 1st Prefect of Police
Pierre Maguelon
as Gendarme Gerard
Werner H. Furst
as Captain of Gendarmes
Claude Jaeger
as Colonel of Gendarmes
Alix Mahieux
as Hostess
Marie-France Pisier
as Mme. Calmette
Francois Maistre
as Professor
Jenny Astruc
as Professor's Wife
Helene Perdriere
as Old Aunt
Jean Rochefort
as M. Legendre
Ellen Bahl
as Legendre's Nanny
Pascale Audret
as Mme. Legendre
V. Blanco
as Aliette
Agnes Capri
as Headmistress
Bernard Verley
as Captain of Dragoons
Paul Leperson
as Father Gabriel
Maxance Mailfort
as Lt. of Dragoons
as Foucauld's Nanny
Philippe Brigaud
as Sinister Stranger
I. Carriere
as Veronique Foucauld
Jean Champion
as Foucauld's Doctor
Marc Mazza
as Tank Sergeant
Bernard Musson
as Father Raphael
Marcel Peres
as Old Monk
Gilbert Montagne
as Young Monk
as Bootblack
Pierre Lary
as Sniper
Annie Monange
as Victim
Didier Flamand
as 1st Prefect's Secretary
Philippe Brizard
as Bartender
Orane Demazis
as Prefect's Mother
Marius Laurey
as Cemetery Attendant
André Royer
as Police Sergeant
Jacqueline Rouillard
as 2nd Prefect's Secretary
Michel Dhermay
as Officer
Jean Mauvais
as Policeman
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom)

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

A tour de force, a triumph by a director confronting almost impossible complications and contradictions and mastering them. It's very funny, all right, but remember: With Buñuel, you only laugh when it hurts.

Full Review… | May 12, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The physical production is stunning to look at. The cast is large, first-rate, but the presence that dazzles us is that of the Old Master, just off screen, mercilessly testing our senses of sanity and humor.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Albeit scattershot, Phantom does cohere as a satire of keeping up appearances in which everything is as it appears.

Full Review… | November 5, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

The challenging lack of a narrative center doesn't prevent this film from having a great deal to say about the modern world and its ambivalent grasp of freedom.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Bunuel's most uninhibited venture though audacious and satisfying my Bunuel pangs, lacks a bite or enough charm to appeal to the masses.

Full Review… | April 12, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An uproarious summary of Luis Bunuel's surrealistic concerns in a collection of anecdotes starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Michel Piccoli, and Monica Vitti.

Full Review… | August 31, 2006

Audience Reviews for Le Fantôme de la Liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) (The Specter of Freedom)


"The Phantom of Liberty" (the penultimate work of director Luis Bunuel's amazing career) is a tricky film to get a handle on, because it's structured like a "Monty Python's Flying Circus" episode. Nothing but quirky vignettes and transitions, with no sense of overall narrative shape. A DVD interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere reveals the perverse concept was to follow a story that is abandoned just when it turns most interesting, and then switch to a less interesting story. Wow. Notable sequences span a missing child who isn't really missing, a visit with a sadomasochistic couple, a surreal night of insomnia and the strangest dinner-table scene you'll ever see. Other pieces will fade from memory as soon as the film ends. The cast is stuffed with European actors whose faces are more familiar than their names, including Monica Vitti, Michel Piccoli, Jean Rochefort, Michael Lonsdale and Adolfo Celi.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


There is a LOT going on in this film! Bunuel takes "modern" society to task in an a very ammusing, slightly dark but always insightful manner. I found it very interesting and had a few good chuckles along the way. Not my favorite Bunuel film...but well worth a watch.

Robert C
Robert C

Super Reviewer

Buñuel's dark sense of humour can make us not only witnesses but supporters of this derision to all institutions that rule society. A concatenation of segments that adress tragedies, misbehavings and formalisms with the same farcical tone. Possibly inspired by 'The Saragossa manuscript' one of Buñuel's personal favourite films.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

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