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Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Marie Dubois, Vanna Urbino ... see more see more... , Boris Bassiak , Sabine Haudepin , Jean-Louis Richard , Christian A. Wagner , Michel Subor , Michel Varesano , Danielle Bassiak , Pierre Fabre , Elen Bober , Kate No_lle , Anny Nielsen , Dominique Lacarriere , Bernard Largemains

Acclaimed French director François Truffaut's third and, for many viewers, best film is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. Set between 1912 and 1933, it stars Oskar ... read more read more...Werner as the German Jules and Henri Serre as the Frenchman Jim, kindred spirits who, while on holiday in Greece, fall in love with the smile on the face of a sculpture. Back in Paris, the smile comes to life in the person of Catherine (Jeanne Moreau); the three individuals become constant companions, determined to live their lives to the fullest despite the world war around them. When Jules declares his love for Catherine, Jim agrees to let Jules pursue her, despite his own similar feelings; Jules and Catherine marry and have a child (Sabine Haudepin), but Catherine still loves Jim as well. An influential film that has grown in stature over the decades, Jules et Jim was often viewed by the counterculture of the 1960s as a cinematic proponent of the free-love movement, but in actuality the picture is a statement against such a way of life. Despite the bond shared by Jules, Jim, and Catherine, their ménage à trois is doomed to fail; and Catherine's inability to choose between the two men leads to tragic consequences for all three. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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90% liked it

21,060 ratings


97% liked it

33 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 44 min.

Directed by: François Truffaut

Release Date: January 23, 1962

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DVD Release Date: November 16, 1999

Stats: 1,206 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (1,206)

  • fb791220692
    November 7, 2012
    A breath of fresh air for its time, Jules and Jim now remains an admirably-constructed and well-acted, but far too repetitive love triangle movie.
  • August 30, 2011
    I liked this movie, and I enjoyed watching it, but I was left expecting more. As part of the French New Wave, I knew to expect this film to be overflowing with style and technique, but I also expected it to be fun. Maybe I shouldn't have been so insistant on that last part. This ... read morefilm is fun, at times, but it gets serious too, and when it does, I find it harder to swallow. Maybe because it's hard to completely identify with or care deeply about the characters.

    This story is all about an Austrian named Jules who is friends with a French guy named Jim. They share a mutual love for a (probably bi polar) woman named Catherine. The story takes place over a coupkel of decades from the 1910s to the 1930s, and hops all over Europe (mostly France and Germany). I don't mind love triancgle movie, but the way the story progresses seemed very odd and all over the place and unlkely. Also, this is a period piece, but I never really got that sense. It seemed more like the time it was released than the time it was supposed to be portraying.

    Because this film is style over substance, and because the characters are nuts, ridiculous, and hard to identify with ocmpletely, I should, by all rights, knock this down a notch or two. However, the film has a gorgeous look, great camera work, wonderful music, good performances, and the aforementioned style, so there.

    I do recommend this movie, despite it being overrated. Part of its importance and legacy and undeniable and understandable, but this film is a bit of a mess. It's not always apparent though since often this film is light, breezy, and not restricted by a super dense plot. See it, but don't expect it to be the masterpiece that many claim it to be.
  • June 27, 2011
    Frenetic, fresh, and still fun to watch even as it approaches it's fiftieth birthday. While certainly the most stylish of the New Wave films that I have seen so far, the frequent use of freeze frames, jump cuts, and panning shots, surprisingly isn't distracting. In fact, Trauffau... read moret's use of these devices is very judicious and really elevates the film as a whole. This sets the work apart from films such as Goddard's Breathless where it seemed at times that many of the devices used in the film were used because they were "cool" or different, rather than augment the power of the story.
    It is a dynamic rumination on friendship, love, war, and the changing nature of femininity, and certainly one not to be missed.
  • August 26, 2010

    I'm not sure where to start about Jules et Jim... It's a film about friendship, love, and the passing of time.

    Jules and Jim have the type of friendship anyone dreams of; understanding, unconditional, exciting, stimulating. They share many things, even some women. One d

    ... read moreay, however, Jules meets Catherine, a French girl, and her "serene smile" and freewheeling personality immediately captivate him. Jules tells Jim that he is really interested in her, so Jim does not try anything. Having set the limits, Catherine, Jules, and Jim become a close-knit group. The three of them go on holiday together. There's a complicity to everything they do, along with spiritual curiosity and sexual tension. Catherine seems to be a liberated, poetic, "real" woman and Jim can't help falling in love with her in silence. Jules marries her. After their marriage, Jim reenters the picture.

    I found the characters well-written and very well acted. Jeanne Moreau's face is one of the most expressive I have ever seen. In the same way, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre deliver great lines and give the film some truly powerful moments of insight. Also, much of the film regards the passing of time. In fact, at moments it passes very quickly, at others, a week seems a century. Truffaut introduces a narrative style that can serve any purpose or style.

    We are not explained everything about the characters' behaviors, but we have room and clues to try. Unlike whatever or whoever controls their fate, Jules and Jim have to follow the succession to their choices with not a single idea of what awaits them at the end of the line. They don't even care. The moment they surrendered themselves to Catherine, the background went out of focus, and there are only two things that will carry and englobe them: their relationship with Catherine, and with each other.

    The film takes place before, during, and after WWI. After being face to face with death at the front, after fearing the loss of each other, they don't want to miss out on anything: Jim will pursue Catherine with Jules's blessing, Jules won't leave Catherine and will try not to be jealous of his friend. Catherine, who has become increasingly uncomfortable, capricious and unstable, won't give anything up either. It isn't as easy as it sounds.This all happens during the second half of the film, which transcurs in an uncomfortable ease and is full of beautiful, sad images. Truffaut refrains from passing moral judgement and simply proceeds to take us to the unavoidable tragic finale.

    The story has so much emotion running through it I found it very engaging. It made me angry at the characters just as much as it made me want to meet them an play a domino match in their empty beach house.

    Truffaut's camerawork is wonderful. He could uncover different aspects, or unite different aspects, of a scene, with a traveling camera (he used a hand-held camera). He thus amplified the reach of a single scene, and made the entire film move. Truffaut also tried to give it an extra edge with several freeze-frames.

    Complex, daring, beautiful. Jules and Jim is those three things. It's alive, fast, full of wit and humor, with sudden fits of melancholy. Truffaut's experimentation feels like curiosity and excitement, not pretentiousness, and his subject matter and the delicate way in which he treats it feels audacious, not sensationalist. Once more I admire his storytelling, and the innocence that permeates all of his craft.

  • January 31, 2010
    who would have thought that a story of broken people and broken relationships could be so holistic in its presentation. none of the characters were overly likable and their worldviews were simply defeating at every turn, but the film was directed perfectly, the dialogue was comp... read moreletely revealing, and the acting was excellent by all involved. a wonderful film.
  • January 29, 2010
    There is a light and airy quality to Jules and Jim that masquerades the cynical nature of the film. The two title characters, one from Germany the other from France, become friends through an intellectual bond they share. One day, while watching some slides at a friend's house,... read more they both become enraptured by the smile of an ancient pagan sculpture. When they meet Catherine, they see in her a quality similar to the statue's beauty. First Jules falls in love with, and then marries her. As WWI breaks out the two friends become separated, only to re-connect afterwards. When Jim comes to their villa in Rhine, he finds his friends married in name only. He also falls for Catherine, and Jules resolves to make the best of it, so long as he can still remain with both of them. But Catherine is a Queen, as Jules puts it. She must be adored and served, and never ignored. When she's wronged she takes great pains to "even the score" so that she can once again be on an even playing field with her lover. Jules and Jim are both romantics ever in pursuit of the ideal fantasy of love. When they finally capture it, it's not what they thought it'd be. Catherine is wild and carefree, and it's these qualities that attracts Jules and Jim, and it's these very qualities that Jim and Jules stifle when they (each) marry her and try to settle her down into domestic servitude. Stripped of her freedom, she settles for the only pleasure left to her that she finds in living, and that's the constant attention of others. Is it she who is the villain of this story, or is it Jules and Jim? The two men are users and objectifiers of women who don't necessarily see women as actual people, but rather things to own and collect. That Catherine is neither own-able or tameable is not a sin but a virtue in their eyes, and so everyone seems to get what they really want in the end.
  • December 20, 2009
    Jules et Jim seems to me to exemplify both the strengths and weaknesses of the Nouvelle Vague, and it shows how pro and con can often stem from the same root. The bold inventiveness with which these former critics of Cahiers du Cinéma tore up and rewrote the ... read moremoviemaking rulebook makes watching their films an exhilarating experience, even today. Unfortunately, the flip side of this is that I sometimes find their movies rather soulless and artificial; I can't see the content for the style. Take Jules et Jim. There's that early scene in which Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) confounds Jules (Oskar Werner) and Jim (Henri Serre) by dressing as a man - that's how the whole film feels to me: like three kids playing with a dressing-up box. As a period piece, I just don't buy it; it covers a period of twenty-odd years without ever managing to escape 1962. I still loved it though. In spite of the title, it's Catherine one remembers, and it's impossible to imagine anyone but Moreau playing her.
  • September 1, 2009
    I think you need to have dated a bi-polar chick to appreciate this movie, and I think she needed to commit suicide for you to fully appreciate it.

    I appreciated it.
  • December 7, 2008
    A very beautifully shot, freeform film with a great-feeling atmosphere and fantastic music. But in order for me to rate this any higher I would have to like the characters better, and I'm sorry to say I don't. Catherine is a selfish, narcissistic control freak and I'm surprised e... read moreither Jules or Jim could be so enamored with her. Jules is lame and pathetic, while Jim is kind of a bastard. I do not see this as a romantic film at all. Nevertheless Truffaut is able to imbue his characters with great individual style representative of the New Wave. I guess this movie is supposed to capture the spirit of free love. It doesn't, but...still beautiful, and still interesting, despite the complete lack of sympathy I have for any of the characters.
  • November 16, 2007
    I'd use the phrase "steaming pile of dogshit" to describe Jules and Jim but I somehow feel those words would be too kind. Far too kind. Maybe if it was titled "A Pussy, a Douchebag and a Stark Raving Lunatic Bitch" I might not be so angrily annoyed as I would have avoided this tu... read morerd altogether. In the plus column some of the camerawork was nice as was the scenery. But the characters were completely unengaging, unlikable and had no redeeming or interesting qualities at all--especially Moreau. This is easily one of the most overrated movies in existence. The only thing that could've saved this one is if Truffaut showed France getting occupied and executing these characters in the street. Instead you're given an ending that Cameron Crowe would rip off for Vanilla Sky. I never thought I'd say there's a movie that would make White Chicks seem appealing but I've got some words I've got to go eat now.

Critic Reviews

Ed Gonzalez
December 12, 2006
Ed Gonzalez, Village Voice

More than 40 years old, François Truffaut's whirling dervish remains an ageless beauty. Full Review

Dave Kehr
December 12, 2006
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

With this 1961 film Truffaut comes closest to the spirit and sublimity of his mentor, Jean Renoir, and the result is a masterpiece of the New Wave. Full Review

Wally Hammond
February 9, 2006
Wally Hammond, Time Out

Truffaut's third film may not look the masterpiece it seemed 40-odd years ago, but it remains one of his most enjoyable movies. Full Review

Roger Ebert
August 12, 2004
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

There is joy in the filmmaking that feels fresh today and felt audacious at the time. Full Review

Bosley Crowther
May 20, 2003
Bosley Crowther, New York Times

To put it quickly and crisply, it is charming, exciting and sad.

Carrie Rickey
February 18, 2014
Carrie Rickey, The Dissolve

A case study in romantic triangulation. Full Review

Ken Hanke
November 14, 2007
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Along with Godard's Breathless, François Truffaut's Jules et Jim is probably the essential French New Wave film -- and it's possibly even more essential. Full Review

Emanuel Levy
April 12, 2007
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

Truffaut's masterpiece is one of the best dissections of that uniquely French concept, menage a trois, with a definitive performance of Jeanne Moreau at the center; his love for the film medium is evi... Full Review

Dennis Schwartz
January 2, 2007
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The acting by the three stars is superb, though this is ultimately Jeanne Moreau's film. Full Review

Bill Gibron
July 31, 2005
Bill Gibron,

There is new beauty in what Truffaut is trying to show us, an exquisiteness that..forever alter[ed] the face of cinema. Full Review

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    • Catherine: Watch us, Jules!
    • Jules: Not this one, Jim.

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Jules and Jim Trivia

  • I directed "Jules & Jim" and "The 400 Blows." I also acted in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Who am I?  Answer »
  • Which cinematic movement links these movies: Breathless, The 400 Blows, The Outsiders, Jules and Jim?   Answer »
  • This is the lovely French actress Jeanne Moreau singing "The Whirlwind of Life." Which 1962 French New Wave classic is it from?  Answer »
  • Who plays Jules and Jim in the Francois Truffaut movie ?  Answer »

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