Le cinéma français des années de guerre: Essential French Films of the Occupation Period (1983)

by Clemmetarey | created - 10 Nov 2013 | updated - 10 Nov 2013 | Public

Here is a list of the "essential" French films of the Occupation period, from Raymond Chirat's book Le cinéma français des années de guerre.

The first part of the list are the films that have received lasting critical acclaim. The other titles listed in the second part are of lesser importance (according to Chirat) but were popular successes of that year.

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1. Comedy of Happiness (1940)

108 min | Comedy

Monsieur Jourdain is a dangerous madman : he wants to share his fortune! His relatives do what any sensible fellow on earth would do: they have him committed to a mental hospital. But ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel L'Herbier | Stars: Michel Simon, Ramon Novarro, Jacqueline Delubac, Micheline Presle

Votes: 45

2. Remorques (1941)

91 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Andre Laurent, the captain of a tugboat, married Yvonne ten years ago. She has a heart disease but does not want to tell him. She dreams he quits the job for they can live quietly.

Director: Jean Grémillon | Stars: Jean Gabin, Madeleine Renaud, Michèle Morgan, Charles Blavette

Votes: 855

3. Who Killed Santa Claus? (1941)

105 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

The story concerns an old globe-maker who is mysteriously killed while going through the town portraying Pere Noel ("Father Christmas" aka Santa Claus).

Director: Christian-Jaque | Stars: Harry Baur, Renée Faure, Marie-Hélène Dasté, Raymond Rouleau

Votes: 391

4. Strangers in the House (1942)

95 min | Crime, Drama

Hector Loursat, attorney at law, lives with his daughter Nicole in a vast and shabby mansion in this provincial town. They dont talk to each other much, somehow holding the other one ... See full synopsis »

Director: Henri Decoin | Stars: Raimu, Juliette Faber, Gabrielle Fontan, Héléna Manson

Votes: 306

5. Le mariage de Chiffon (1942)

Not Rated | 103 min | Comedy

"Chiffon" is an eccentric young aristocratic girl, who is struggling to comply with the social conventions of the community.

Director: Claude Autant-Lara | Stars: Odette Joyeux, André Luguet, Jacques Dumesnil, Pierre Larquey

Votes: 133

6. Us Kids (1941)

90 min | Comedy, Drama

A student from an elementary school accidentally breaks the glass roof of his school. His comrades decide to support it by working during the summer holidays in order to pay for reconstruction.

Director: Louis Daquin | Stars: Louise Carletti, Gilbert Gil, André Brunot, Marcel Pérès

Votes: 57

7. Fantastic Night (1942)

103 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His ... See full summary »

Director: Marcel L'Herbier | Stars: Fernand Gravey, Micheline Presle, Saturnin Fabre, Charles Granval

Votes: 266

8. The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942)

Not Rated | 84 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

Inspector Wens moves into a Paris boarding house to catch a serial killer.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Suzy Delair, Jean Tissier, Pierre Larquey

Votes: 2,649

9. The Phantom Baron (1943)

99 min | Drama

Elfy, Countess of Saint-Hélié's daughter, was brought up with her foster sister Anne, in an old dilapidated castle whose landlord, Baron Julius Carol, disappeared mysteriously some day. The... See full summary »

Director: Serge de Poligny | Stars: André Lefaur, Odette Joyeux, Jany Holt, Alain Cuny

Votes: 69

10. Twilight (1944)

99 min | Drama, Romance

Cavalier ,a second -rate actor , discovers a gorgeous talented girl who performs on stage and wants to be her Pygmalion .

Director: Marc Allégret | Stars: Claude Dauphin, Micheline Presle, Louis Jourdan, Jacques Louvigny

Votes: 75

11. It Happened at the Inn (1943)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

In a french lost village an old woman is killed and her savings stolen. Several members of her family, all called:"Goupi-...", are suspected.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: Fernand Ledoux, Georges Rollin, Blanchette Brunoy, Arthur Devère

Votes: 670

12. Lettres d'amour (1942)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

France, 1855. Zélie Fontaine, a twenty-odd-year-old widow and the post mistress of the small provincial town of Argenson, has accepted to receive love letters to Hortense de la Jacquerie, ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Autant-Lara | Stars: Odette Joyeux, François Périer, Simone Renant, Jacqueline Champi

Votes: 65

13. Lumière d'été (1943)

112 min | Drama

A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about an obsessive love pentangle, whose principals range from an artist to... See full summary »

Director: Jean Grémillon | Stars: Madeleine Renaud, Pierre Brasseur, Madeleine Robinson, Paul Bernard

Votes: 476

14. Marie-Martine (1943)

103 min | Drama

The story of Marie-Martine ,told backwards.

Director: Albert Valentin | Stars: Renée Saint-Cyr, Jules Berry, Saturnin Fabre, Bernard Blier

Votes: 62

15. Pontcarral, colonel d'empire (1942)

125 min | Drama

For 15 years after Waterloo, a baron refuses to accept the defeat. He reluctantly marries one of 2 Bourbon sisters but lands up dueling with the wife's former lover. Finally he gets a chance to prove himself again in battle.

Director: Jean Delannoy | Stars: Pierre Blanchar, Annie Ducaux, Suzy Carrier, Charles Granval

Votes: 31

16. Les Visiteurs du Soir (1942)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

In medieval France, the Devil intervenes when one of his two envoys, sent to seduce and deceive mortals, falls instead for a victim.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Arletty, Marie Déa, Fernand Ledoux, Alain Cuny

Votes: 1,802

18. Angels of Sin (1943)

80 min | Drama

Anne-Marie joins a Dominican convent as a novice where she knows Therese. After shooting a man for which she was imprisoned, Therese protests her innocence reluctant to tell her secret.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Renée Faure, Jany Holt, Sylvie, Mila Parély

Votes: 1,223

19. Le ciel est à vous (1944)

105 min | Drama

The wife of a mechanic and former fighter pilot falls in love with the idea of flying herself. This soon becomes an obsession and she undertakes a lofty feat: the longest solo flight ever made by a woman.

Director: Jean Grémillon | Stars: Madeleine Renaud, Charles Vanel, Jean Debucourt, Raymonde Vernay

Votes: 393

20. Le Corbeau (1943)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson

Votes: 8,324 | Gross: $0.03M

21. Douce (1943)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

In Paris in 1887, Irène works as a governess to Douce, the grand-daughter of the dowager Countess de Bonafé. Douce believes she is in love with Fabien, the handsome manager of the estate. ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Autant-Lara | Stars: Odette Joyeux, Madeleine Robinson, Marguerite Moreno, Jean Debucourt

Votes: 266

22. Children of Paradise (1945)

Not Rated | 189 min | Drama, Romance

The theatrical life of a beautiful courtesan and the four men who love her.

Director: Marcel Carné | Stars: Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur, Pierre Renoir

Votes: 17,411

23. Love Eternal (1943)

107 min | Drama, Romance

This is a retelling of Tristan and Isolde, set in 1940s France. The script was written by Jean Cocteau.

Director: Jean Delannoy | Stars: Madeleine Sologne, Jean Marais, Jean Murat, Junie Astor

Votes: 477

25. Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Romance

A society lady engineers a marriage between her lover and a cabaret dancer who is essentially a prostitute.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Paul Bernard, María Casares, Elina Labourdette, Lucienne Bogaert

Votes: 3,691

26. Paris Frills (1945)

Approved | 111 min | Drama, Romance

Philippe Clarence, a famous Parisian dressmaker, seduces his friend's fiancee. But, for the 1st time in his life, this is for real. The film is also a sharp picture of the fashion world.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: Raymond Rouleau, Micheline Presle, Jean Chevrier, Gabrielle Dorziat

Votes: 421

27. La fiancée des ténèbres (1945)

100 min | Drama, Fantasy, Mystery

Sylvie, a girl who believes she is cursed having seen her two lovers die in tragic circumstances, lives in the town of Carcassonne, in the South of France with her adoptive guardian, Mr. ... See full summary »

Director: Serge de Poligny | Stars: Pierre Richard-Willm, Jany Holt, Line Noro, Palau

Votes: 87

28. Sortilèges (1945)

85 min | Horror, Crime, Drama

The story begins with the murder of a horse trader, which sets free a black stallion that roams through the snow and the village terrifying the people as it gallops.

Director: Christian-Jaque | Stars: Fernand Ledoux, Renée Faure, Madeleine Robinson, Roger Pigaut

Votes: 69

29. The Well-Digger's Daughter (1940)

Approved | 142 min | Comedy, Drama

A rural maiden's two suitors go off to war, leaving her pregnant.

Director: Marcel Pagnol | Stars: Raimu, Fernandel, Josette Day, Line Noro

Votes: 466

The second part starts here.

30. The Last One of the Six (1941)

90 min | Mystery, Thriller

Six friends promise to share their fortune in 5 years. The moment is very close, but one of the six is mysteriously murdered, then another... Superintendent Wenceslas Woroboyioetschik (aka ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Lacombe | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Michèle Alfa, Suzy Delair, Jean Tissier

Votes: 227

32. Fièvres (1942)

125 min | Drama

A celebrated singer ,Jean Dupray,is torn between his wife,Maria , and a Femme Fatale .

Director: Jean Delannoy | Stars: Tino Rossi, Jacqueline Delubac, Ginette Leclerc, Madeleine Sologne

Votes: 31

33. Her First Affair (1941)

Approved | 91 min | Comedy

Micheline Chevassu is a young, naive woman living in an orphanage. Through classified ads, she has a date with an unknown man. She escapes from the orphanage to go to it, dreaming of the ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Decoin | Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Rosine Luguet, Gabrielle Dorziat, Suzanne Dehelly

Votes: 96

35. The Count of Monte Cristo (1943)

90 min | Adventure, Drama

Edmond Dantes is falsely accused by those jealous of his good fortune, and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the notorious island prison, Chateau d'If. While imprisoned, he ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Vernay | Stars: Pierre Richard-Willm, Michèle Alfa, Aimé Clariond, Marcel Herrand

Votes: 143

37. Dernier atout (1942)

105 min | Crime, Drama

A man is shot In the hotel of an imaginary South American country. Clarence and Montès, two inspector students, must solve this murder, but they don't know that dead guy is the USA public enemy No.1.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: Mireille Balin, Raymond Rouleau, Pierre Renoir, Noël Roquevert

Votes: 115

40. Carnival of Sinners (1943)

Approved | 80 min | Fantasy, Horror

Roland Brissot bought for a nickel a talisman that gives him love, fame and wealth. The talisman is a cut left hand, and it works perfectly. But of course there is nothing free in this ... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Tourneur | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Josseline Gaël, Noël Roquevert, Guillaume de Sax

Votes: 1,069

42. The Blue Veil (1942)

90 min | Drama

In 1914, in the first months of World War I, Louise Jarraud loses her husband, killed on the front. Shortly after, she gives birth to a baby, who soon dies. Devastated by this double ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Stelli | Stars: Gaby Morlay, Elvire Popesco, André Alerme, Fernand Charpin

Votes: 64

43. L'aventure est au coin de la rue (1944)

98 min | Comedy

Pierre Trévoux is a preppy smug young man .His self-importance and his vanity get on his friends 'nerves,and they decide to teach him a lesson .

Director: Jacques Daniel-Norman | Stars: Raymond Rouleau, Michèle Alfa, Suzy Carrier, Denise Grey

Votes: 43

44. Le carrefour des enfants perdus (1944)

91 min | Drama

Troubled youth hope for a home they can create, in the south of France during the turbulent war years, that will not repeat the prison like bureaucracies that have previously confined them.

Director: Léo Joannon | Stars: René Dary, Raymond Bussières, Jean Mercanton, Janine Darcey

Votes: 27

45. Premier de cordée (1944)

106 min | Adventure, Drama

Zian Servettaz is a dedicated mountain man. His Italian-born wife Bianca does not adjust well to his mountain village in France, and to the ever life-threatening dangers presented by his mountain guiding and climbing.

Director: Louis Daquin | Stars: Irène Corday, André Le Gall, Marcel Delaître, Jean Davy

Votes: 70

46. A Cage of Nightingales (1945)

89 min | Drama, Music

In France, in 1930, a supervisor of a boarding school for young offenders seeks to awaken the music by forming a choir, despite the skepticism of his boarding school director.

Director: Jean Dréville | Stars: Noël-Noël, Micheline Francey, René Génin, René Blancard

Votes: 167