Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Reviews Counted: 13

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,793


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.9/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Movie Info

The shortest of French filmmaker Jean Vigo's two feature-length films, Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite) is also arguably his most influential. The overtly autobiographical plotline takes place at a painfully strict boys' boarding school, presided over by such petit-bourgeous tyrants as a discipline-dispensing dwarf. The students revolt against the monotony of their daily routine by erupting into a outsized pillow fight. Their final assault occurs during a prim-and-proper school ceremony, wherein the headmasters are bombarded with fruit. Like all of Vigo's works, Zero for Conduct was greeted with outrage by the "right" people. Thanks to pressure from civic and educational groups, this exhilaratingly anarchistic film was banned from public exhibition until 1945. Among the future filmmakers influenced by Zero for Conduct was Lindsay Anderson, who unabashedly used the Vigo film as blueprint for his own anti-establishment exercise If....


Critic Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

Vigo's anarchic, disorienting vision of life in a French boarding school.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

These amorphous scenes, strung together by a vague continuity may be art but they are also pretty chaotic.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

A wholly original creation, the film walks a narrow line between surrealist farce and social realism.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

It's surreal and zany anarchistic slapstick, filmed as if Charlie Chaplin was a teacher in the dreaded suburban boys' boarding school.

Mar 20, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

a funny, fantastical exaggeration of childhood exuberance and adult idiocy

Sep 21, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Pretty great, but also overwhelming: Vigo clearly had a good 80 or 90 minutes worth of movie that he had to fit into half the running time.

Nov 10, 2008 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite)


Boys at a French boarding school stage a revolt in this heavily anarchist, mildly surreal short (45 min.) feature. A playful but slow-moving curiosity, with a dwarf headmaster and some interesting surprises (including trick photography and an unexpected animated sequence). Historically, it's very interesting, but its importance has been exaggerated by the fact that the French government banned it for 13 years!

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer


While some critics complain of Zero de Conduite being filmed chaotic, It's this sense of chaos that portrays the literal chaos in the film. One of the earliest and most influential films about children and anarchy, Zero de Conduite inspired countless Directors and films. The two most notable and acclaimed being The 400 Blows and If...., both of which are masterpieces. Anarchy is at the core of Vigo's beliefs and films, this being the most literal adaptation and one so revolutionary that it was banned until 1945.

Chris Browning
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer


One of the oldest movies about rebellious youngsters. Other than that, it's not a fantastic movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


A solemn and sincere poem to anarchy.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Zero for Conduct (Zero de Conduite) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features