The Last Metro

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The Last Metro
Dernier metro affiche.jpg
Film poster
Directed by François Truffaut
Produced by François Truffaut
Jean-José Richer
Written by François Truffaut
Suzanne Schiffman
Jean-Claude Grumberg
Starring Catherine Deneuve
Gérard Depardieu
Jean Poiret
Heinz Bennent
Andréa Ferréol
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Néstor Almendros
Edited by Martine Barraqué
Les Films du Carrosse
Andrea Films
TF1 Films Production
Distributed by Gaumont
United Artists Classics
Release date
  • 17 September 1980 (1980-09-17)
Running time
131 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office $23.3 million[1][2]
3,393,694 admissions (France)[3]

The Last Metro (French: Le Dernier Métro) is a 1980 drama film made by Les Films du Carrosse, written and directed by the French filmmaker François Truffaut, and starring Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu.[4]

The film is set during the time of the French occupation and demonstrates passive resistance through culture in the story of a small Parisian theatre surviving censorship, antisemitism and material shortages to emerge triumphant at the war’s end.[5]

In 1981, the film won ten Césars for: best film, best actor (Depardieu), best actress (Deneuve), best cinematography, best director (Truffaut), best editing, best music, best production design, best sound and best writing.[4][6] It received Best Foreign Film nominations in the Academy Awards[7] and Golden Globes.[8]

The Last Metro was one of Truffaut's most successful productions, grossing $3,007,436 in the United States; this was also true in France, where it had 3,384,045 admissions, making it one of his most successful films in his native country.[1]


Set during the German occupation of Paris during the Second World War, it tells the story of Lucas Steiner, a Jewish theatre director and his Gentile wife, Marion Steiner, who struggles to keep him concealed from the Nazis in their theatre cellar while she performs both his former job as the director and hers as an actress.[4]

The title The Last Metro refers to the fact that during the occupation it was imperative that Parisians catch the last train (Métro) home. This was to avoid breaking the strict curfew imposed by the Nazis. During the winter months of occupied Paris there was no way to obtain coal, and the only manner in which people could keep warm was attending plays in theatres, which ended just before the last train left.



Truffaut had wanted to create a film set during the French occupation period for a long time, as his uncle and grandfather were both part of the French Resistance, who were once caught while passing messages. This event was eventually recreated in The Last Metro.[10] Truffaut was stimulated by the actor Jean Marais’ autobiography and by other documents of theatre people from during the occupation of which he based the film upon.[11]

This film was one instalment—dealing with theatre—of a trilogy on the entertainment world that Truffaut had planned.[12] The instalment that dealt with the film world was 1973's La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night),[12] which had won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Truffaut completed the screenplay for the third instalment, L'Agence Magique, which would have dealt with the world of music hall.[12] In the late 1970s he was close to beginning filming, but the failure of his film The Green Room forced him to look to a more commercial project, and he filmed Love on the Run instead.

Truffaut began casting in September 1979, and he wrote the role of Marion especially with Catherine Deneuve in mind for her energy.[13] Gérard Depardieu initially did not want to be involved in the film, as he did not like Truffaut’s directing style, but he was later convinced.[14]

Most of the filming took place in an abandoned chocolate factory on Rue du Landy in Clichy, which was converted into a studio. During shooting Deneuve suffered an ankle sprain from a fall, resulting in having to shoot over scenes at short notice. Scriptwriter Suzanne Schiffman was also hospitalised with a serious intestinal obstruction.[15] The film shoot lasted fifty-nine days and ended on April 21, 1980.[16]


A recurring theme in Truffaut’s films has been linking film making and film watching.[17] The Last Metro is self-conscious in this respect. In the opening the film mixes documentary footage with period re-creations alongside shots of contemporary film posters.[18]

Truffaut commented “this film is not concerned merely with anti-semitism but intolerance in general” and a tolerance is shown through the characters of Jean Poiret playing a homosexual director and Andrea Ferreol plays a lesbian designer.[19]

As in Truffaut's earlier film Jules et Jim, there is a love triangle between the three principal characters: Marion Steiner (Deneuve), her husband Lucas (Heinz Bennent) and Bernard Granger (Depardieu), an actor in the theatre's latest production.[4]


The film recorded admissions in France of 3,384,045.[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b JP. "Le Dernier métro (1980)- JPBox-Office". Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Last Metro (1981) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Box Office information for Francois Truffaut films at Box Office Story
  4. ^ a b c d Lanzoni, Rémi Fournier (2002). French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. Continuum. pp. 314–315. ISBN 978-0-8264-1600-1. 
  5. ^ Holmes, Diana; Ingram, Robert (1998). François Truffaut. Manchester: Manchester university press. p. 18. ISBN 0-7190-4554-1. 
  6. ^ "Palmares". Académie des César. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-08. 
  8. ^ "Golden Globes, USA: 1981". IMDB. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Allen, Don. Finally Truffaut. New York: Beaufort Books. 1985. ISBN 0-8253-0335-4. OCLC 12613514. pp. 238-239.
  10. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Temerson, Serge Toubiana (2000). Truffaut. Transltion from French by Catherine. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. 
  11. ^ Insdorf, Annette (9 February 1981). "How Truffaut's 'The Last Metro' Reflects Occupied Paris". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ a b c Higgins, Lynn A. (1998). New Novel, New Wave, New Politics. University of Nebraska Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-8032-7309-2. 
  13. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Temerson, Serge Toubiana (2000). Truffaut. Transltion from French by Catherine. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. 
  14. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Temerson, Serge Toubiana (2000). Truffaut. Transltion from French by Catherine. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. 
  15. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Temerson, Serge Toubiana (2000). Truffaut. Transltion from French by Catherine. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. 
  16. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Temerson, Serge Toubiana (2000). Truffaut. Transltion from French by Catherine. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. 
  17. ^ Insdorf, Annette (1994). François Truffaut (Rev. and updated ed.). Cambridge u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47808-3. 
  18. ^ White, Armond. "Truffaut's Changing Times: The Last Metro". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  19. ^ Insdorf, Annette. "How Truffaut's 'The Last Metro' Reflects Occupied Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  20. ^ Catherine Deneuve box office information at Box Office Story
  21. ^ "1981 Award Winners". National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 

External links[edit]