Joyeux Noël

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Merry Christmas
Theatrical poster
Directed by Christian Carion
Produced by Christophe Rossignon
Benjamin Herrmann
Written by Christian Carion
Starring Benno Fürmann
Guillaume Canet
Daniel Brühl
Diane Kruger
Gary Lewis
Alex Ferns
Music by Philippe Rombi
Cinematography Walther van den Ende
Edited by Judith Rivière Kawa
Andrea Sedlácková
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s)
  • 9 November 2005 (2005-11-09)
Running time 116 minutes
Country France
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $22 million
Box office $17,709,155[1]

Joyeux Noël (English: Merry Christmas) is a 2005 French film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German soldiers. It was written and directed by Christian Carion.[2] It was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards. The film was one of Ian Richardson's last appearances before his death on 9 February 2007.


Critical reception[edit]

Stephen Holden, film critic for The New York Times, liked the motion picture and called it a "visually sweeping film," and believed the drama's anti-war sentiments were high-minded. He wrote, "If the film's sentiments about the madness of war are impeccably high-minded, why then does Joyeux Noël ...feel as squishy and vague as a handsome greeting card declaring peace on earth? Maybe it's because the kind of wars being fought in the 21st century involve religious, ideological and economic differences that go much deeper and feel more resistant to resolution than the European territorial disputes and power struggles that precipitated World War I... Another reason is that the movie's cross-section of soldiers from France, Scotland and Germany are so scrupulously depicted as equal-opportunity peacemakers that they never come fully to life as individuals."[4]

Critic Roger Ebert also wrote about the sentimentality of the film, "Joyeux Noël has its share of bloodshed, especially in a deadly early charge, but the movie is about a respite from carnage, and it lacks the brutal details of films like Paths of Glory ...Its sentimentality is muted by the thought that this moment of peace actually did take place, among men who were punished for it, and who mostly died soon enough afterward. But on one Christmas, they were able to express what has been called, perhaps too optimistically, the brotherhood of man."[5]

The 2011 opera Silent Night is based on the screenplay of the movie.


The film was originally rated R in the USA. However, after Ebert criticized the rating,[6] the MPAA officially changed the rating to PG-13.[2]





  • Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, France; 2006.
  • Golden Globes: Golden Globe, Best Foreign Language Film, France; 2006.
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts: BAFTA Film Award, Best Film not in the English Language, Christophe Rossignon and Christian Carion; 2006.
  • César Awards, France: César, Best Costume Design (Meilleurs costumes), Alison Forbes-Meyler; Best Film (Meilleur film), Christian Carion; Best Music Written for a Film (Meilleure musique), Philippe Rombi; Best Production Design (Meilleurs décors), Jean-Michel Simonet; Best Supporting Actor (Meilleur second rôle masculin), Dany Boon; Best Writing - Original (Meilleur scénario original), Christian Carion; 2006.


  1. ^ "Joyeux Noël (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Joyeux Noël (2005)". IMDb. Retrieved November 11, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Joyeux Noël". Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  4. ^ Holden Stephen. The New York Times, film review, "A Christmas Truce Forged by Germans, French and Scots," March 3, 2006. Last accessed: February 9, 2011.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, March 10, 2006.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (2006-03-10). "Failure to Launch". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 11, 2009. ""Failure to Launch" is rated PG-13 and "Joyeux Noel," about enemy soldiers in World War I celebrating Christmas together, is rated R. I mention that as additional evidence that the MPAA ratings people have cut loose from sanity and are thrashing about at random." 

External links[edit]