The Decline of the American Empire

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The Decline of the American Empire
Declineamempire ver1.jpg
French-language film poster
Directed by Denys Arcand
Written by Denys Arcand
Starring Dominique Michel
Dorothée Berryman
Rémy Girard
Pierre Curzi
Louise Portal
Yves Jacques
Geneviève Rioux
Daniel Brière
Gabriel Arcand
Release dates
  • 19 June 1986 (1986-06-19) (Quebec)
Running time
101 minutes
Country Canada, U.S.A
Language French, English, Italian, Spanish

The Decline of the American Empire (French: Le Déclin de l'empire américain) is a 1986 French-Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Denys Arcand. It was followed by two sequels, The Barbarian Invasions in 2003 and Days of Darkness in 2007.


Eight intellectual friends – four men and four women from the Department of History at the Université de Montréal – prepare to have dinner together. The ensuing conversations range from their professional lives to politics, but primarily concern their sexual exploits. The group has plans to gather at a secluded house for dinner. While the four men prepare the food and reflect on their promiscuity, the four women discuss their own affairs at a nearby gym. At the dinner table, conflicts soon arise when Dominique reveals that she herself has had affairs with two of the men there, one of whom is married to Louise (also present).


The film won nine Genie Awards in 1987, including Best Motion Picture, Best Achievement in Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Achievement in Film Editing, and the Golden Reel Award. It also received the International Critic's Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.[1]

In 2004 the film was honoured as a MasterWork by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada.[2] The Toronto International Film Festival ranked it in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time twice, in 1993 and 2004.[3] New York Film Critics Circle – Best Foreign-Language Film.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 59th Academy Awards, the first Canadian film so honoured.[4] Its sequel, The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions barbares), would go on to win Canada's first Oscar in the category in 2003.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Awards". The Decline of the American Empire. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  2. ^ AV Trust
  3. ^ "Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time," The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2012, URL accessed 28 April 2013.
  4. ^ "The 59th Academy Awards (1987) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 16 August 2015. 

External links[edit]