Jean Renoir

Grand Illusion

Grand Illusion

One of the very first prison escape movies, Grand Illusion is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Jean Renoir's antiwar masterpiece stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers held in a World War I German prison camp, and Erich von Stroheim as the unforgettable Captain von Rauffenstein.

Film Info

  • Jean Renoir
  • France
  • 1937
  • 114 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • French
  • Spine #1

Special Features

  • Newly restored digital transfer, created from the long-lost camera negative
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • A rare theatrical trailer in which Jean Renoir discusses both Grand Illusion and his personal war experiences
  • Audio essay by film historian Peter Cowie
  • Archival radio presentation: Renoir and Erich von Stroheim accept Grand Illusion's Best Foreign Film honors at the 1938 New York Film Critics Awards
  • Press book excerpts: Renoir’s letter "to the projectionist," cast bios, an essay on Renoir by von Stroheim, and essays about the film's title and recently recovered camera negative
  • Restoration demonstration
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

    Cover illustration by Paul Davis

Purchase Options

Collector's Sets

Collector's Set

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

Essential Art House: 50 Years of Janus Films

DVD Box Set

50 Discs

$650.00

Special Features

  • Newly restored digital transfer, created from the long-lost camera negative
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • A rare theatrical trailer in which Jean Renoir discusses both Grand Illusion and his personal war experiences
  • Audio essay by film historian Peter Cowie
  • Archival radio presentation: Renoir and Erich von Stroheim accept Grand Illusion's Best Foreign Film honors at the 1938 New York Film Critics Awards
  • Press book excerpts: Renoir’s letter "to the projectionist," cast bios, an essay on Renoir by von Stroheim, and essays about the film's title and recently recovered camera negative
  • Restoration demonstration
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

    Cover illustration by Paul Davis
Grand Illusion
Cast
Jean Gabin
Lieutenant Maréchal
Dita Parlo
Elsa
Pierre Fresnay
Captain de Boeldieu
Erich von Stroheim
Captain von Rauffenstein
Julien Carette
Cartier, the actor
Jean Dasté
The schoolmaster
Sylvain Itkine
Demolder
Georges Peclet
Charpentier
Gaston Modot
The engineer
Marcel Dalio
Rosenthal
Credits
Director
Jean Renoir
Screenplay
Jean Renoir
Screenplay
Charles Spaak
Cinematography
Christian Matras
Producer
Frank Rollmer
Producer
Albert Pinkovitch
Editing
Marguerite Renoir
Music
Joseph Kosma

From The Current

Back to #1: Grand Illusion
Back to #1: Grand Illusion

Our very first DVD edition, Jean Renoir’s masterpiece Grand Illusion, streams on the Criterion Channel in celebration of the film’s eightieth anniversary.

By Jonathan Turell

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Jean Renoir

Writer, Director

Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir

The son of the great impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir was also a master of his medium: cinema. After making his mark in the early thirties with two very different films, the anarchic send-up of the bourgeoisie Boudu Saved from Drowning and the popular-front Gorky adaptation The Lower Depths, Renoir closed out the decade with two critical humanistic studies of French society that routinely turn up on lists of the greatest films ever made: Grand Illusion and The Rules of the Game (the former was celebrated in its time, but the latter was trashed by critics and audiences—until history provided vindication). After a brief, unfulfilling Hollywood stint during World War II, Renoir traveled to India to make his first Technicolor film, The River, and then returned to Europe in the early fifties to direct three visually dazzling explorations of theater, The Golden Coach, French Cancan, and Elena and Her Men. Renoir persisted in his cinematic pursuits until the late sixties, when, after the completion of The Little Theater of Jean Renoir, a collection of three short films, he decided to dedicate himself solely to writing, leaving the future of the medium to those who looked to him in reverence.