Classic French Films – Jules and Jim (1962)

When it comes to classic French films, Jules and Jim 1962 film, is a perfect example of what we have come to expect from the best French films.

Jules and Jim was the third film of Francois Truffaut, one of the most renowned French New Wave filmmakers and one of the most famous French film directors of all time.

Empire magazine named the film one of ‘The 100 Best Movies of World Cinema”.


Classic French Films - Jules and Jim (1963) by Francois Truffaut - Graffiti

Classic French Films – Plot Teaser


In Paris, before WWI, two friends, Jules and Jim, meet a young woman, Catherine. The two friends fall in love with her.

Catherine marries Jules, but is unable to let go of Jim.

Classic French Films – Movie Ratings

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97% critics reviews

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7.8/10 critics and viewers movie reviews


Classic French Films – Movie Review

Leave it to the French to film a beautiful story of love, ménage-a-trois style. When the movie came out in 1962, it was rated 18+ in France (a rather stiff rating considering there is no nudity or brutal violence in the movie).

It wasn’t just the subject matter of a shameful love triangle. What was even more shocking is that the young filmmaker Francois Truffaut, not even 30 years of age at the time, depicted the triangle as a source of pure love. There are no regrets or torments of the conscience in the movie. That was unthinkable!

The film was a “breath of fresh air” at the time of its release. It was innovative all right - combining film with newsreel footage, photographs and about 15 minutes of voice-over narration. It was fresh then and it remains fresh now – a testament to Francois Truffaut’s genius.

Francois Truffaut’s career as one of the most iconic French film directors spanned over 25 years. He made 25 movies for which he received numerous awards including Academy Award for Best Film. He was one of the fathers of the French New Wave and influenced New Wave film movements all over the world.

Classic French Films - Jules and Jim (1963) by Francois Truffaut

But he didn’t start as a film director. He was a film critic. As he recalled later in life, he owed his filmmaking career to a book he had found in the sales bin of a French bookstore. He was attracted by its “musical” title – Jules and Jim, and by the picture of the author - Henri-Pierre Roché. When he read the book, he knew he had to make it into a movie.

It took him 7 years and directing two great classic French films (400 Blows and Shoot the piano player) before he turned to Jules and Jim.

Jules and Jim is essentially the film of three actors - three great actors. But no one shines more than the great French film actress Jeanne Moreau, who plays Catherine. It takes a remarkable actress to portray a woman who inspires love in these two different men – Jules and Jim. And remarkable she is! – At the top of the Olympus of the French movie stars and the queen of French drama films. Orson Wells called her “the greatest actress in the world”.

3 weeks after the start of the filming, Francois Truffaut ran out of money and Jeanne Moreau became a producer. She recalls in an interview with Jeff Galipeaux that the movie was made without sound and completely dubbed in post-production so that the crew and actors “were free to be out, moving”. The movie was true to the French New Wave film standards – minimal crew, hand-held cameras and maximum authenticity.


Classic French Films – Fun Fact

Jules and Jim movie was the initial inspiration for Hollywood’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967). In fact, Francois Truffaut was approached and eager to direct the film. He was forced to decline due to other commitments. Warren Beatty bought the rights to the story and asked to eliminate the ménage-a-trois plot line from the script.

For more fun details about Jules and Jim (and if you speak French), go to Jules and Jim guide at www.cinemateque.fr


Best French Movies – Movie Recommendation

This is a quintessentially French, quintessentially classic and quintessentially New Wave film.


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