I Accuse!

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I Accuse!
I Accuse! FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by José Ferrer
Produced by Sam Zimbalist
Screenplay by Gore Vidal
Based on Captain Dreyfus; The Story of a Mass Hysteria
1955 book
by Nicholas Halasz
Starring José Ferrer
Anton Walbrook
Music by William Alwyn
Cinematography Freddie Young
Edited by Frank Clarke
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • 5 March 1958 (1958-03-05) (USA)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $1.8 million[1]
Box office $665,000[1]

I Accuse! is a British-American 1958 CinemaScope biographical drama film directed by and starring José Ferrer. The film is based on the true story of the Dreyfus Case, in which a Jewish captain in the French Army is falsely accused of treason.

Plot synopsis[edit]

In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus (José Ferrer), a Jewish captain in the French Army, is falsely accused of treason. He is sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island. When the real traitor is found, the French Army tries to hide the truth by exonerating the traitor in a mock trial. Émile Zola, the famous French author, writes a letter to the President of France entitled "I Accuse!", which reveals the truth behind the cover up. The letter is published in the newspaper and Zola is sued for libel, leading to a re-examination of the entire Dreyfus case.



The film was a box office flop. It earned $190,000 in the US and Canada and $475,000 elsewhere, leading to a loss of $1,415,000.[1]


The fact that Dreyfus was railroaded because he was Jewish was obscured in the movie The Life of Emile Zola (1937). Only those villains whose names were a matter of public record (Major Dort, Major Esterhazy) are specifically identified. Others are referred to as the Chief of Staff, the Minister of War, etc. to avoid lawsuits from their descendants (remember that the events depicted in the film, most of which take place between 1894 and 1902, were still within living memory in 1937). As for Dreyfus himself, he was not freed and restored to rank in 1902, the year of Zola's death, but in 1906-after being found guilty again in an 1899 retrial (Dreyfus died in 1935, outliving everyone else involved in the case).[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ http://www.allmovie.com/movie/life-of-emile-zola-v29244
  3. ^ TCM - Ben Mankiewicz on 28 March 2015

External links[edit]