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Joyeux Noel (Widescreen) (2006)

Diane Kruger , Benno Fürmann , Christian Carion  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet, Natalie Dessay, Rolando Villazón
  • Directors: Christian Carion
  • Writers: Christian Carion
  • Producers: Alexandre Lippens, Andrei Boncea, Benjamin Herrmann, Bertrand Faivre, Christophe Rossignon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I6BJ56
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,966 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Joyeux Noel (Widescreen)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Writer/Director Christian Carion

Editorial Reviews

Joyeux Noel captures a rare moment of grace from one of the worst wars in the history of mankind, World War I. On Christmas Eve, 1914, as German, French, and Scottish regiments face each other from their respective trenches, a musical call-and-response turns into an impromptu cease-fire, trading chocolates and champagne, playing soccer, and comparing pictures of their wives. But when Christmas ends, the war returns...Joyeux Noel has been justly accused of sentimentality, but if any subject warrants such an earnest and hopeful treatment, it's the horrors of trench warfare. The largely unknown cast--the more familiar faces include Diane Kruger (Troy), Daniel Bruhl (Good Bye Lenin!), Benno Furmann (The Princess and the Warrior), and Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot)--deliver low-key but effective performances as the movie dwells on the everyday elements of life in the face of war. Based on a true incident (though considerably fictionalized). --Bret Fetzer

Stills from Joyeux Noel (click for larger image)

Product Description

Academy Award(r), Golden Globe(r) and BAFTA nominee for Best Foreign Film, JOYEUX NOEL (Merry Christmas) tells the true-life story of the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce declared by Scottish, French and German troops in the trenches of World War I. Enemies leave their weapons behind for one night as they band together in brotherhood and forget about the brutalities of war. Diane Krüger (Troy), Daniel Brühl (Good Bye Lenin!) and Benno Fürmann (The Princess and the Warrior) head a first-rate international cast in a truly powerful, must-see film.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
125 of 130 people found the following review helpful
On Christmas Eve in 1914, the first year of World War I, there was an unauthorized truce between the German and the British/French armies. Both sides first agreed to bury the dead, and a mass was held during this brief time. Some soldiers even enjoyed playing football in no man's land.

`Joyeux Noël' is inspired by a real-life event that really happened on Christmas Eve at the several front lines during the First World War, and presents the material in a pretty orthodox way, employing the well-handled multi-plot device, in which we will witness the joys and the pains of each character: Guillaume Canet as French lieutenant, Daniel Brühl as German officer, and Gary Lewis as Scottish military chaplain. The cast playing the soldiers are unanimously good, but it is Gary Lewes as tormented military chaplain who is most impressive among them.

'Joyeux Noël' also has a sub-plot about a beautiful soprano singer played by Diane Kruger and tenor singer (and her husband) by Benno Fürmann. I don't know to what extent the film generalized these historical events it shows, but I think their love story looks less effective before the more realistic episodes about the solider in trench. Still these songs are beautiful, and so is Diane Kruger (whose voice is dubbed by soprano singer Natalie Dessay), showing the power of the music which is timeless and universal.

But to some viewers (including me), smaller things would remain more strongly in their mind. A stray cat found in trench is given different names by the German and the French soldiers. There is a good-natured French soldier Ponchel, who sneaks out of the trench every night to meet his family living behind the enemy line.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Weighing November 22, 2006
With our country at war and Christmas coming up, this seemed like a timely movie to share with my family. I'd heard it was based on actual events from World War I, a Christmas Eve on which three sides of the war in the trenches laid down their weapons to share in an evening of peace.

"Joyeux Noel" is not only beautifully directed and photographed, it uses a cast of great actors. The story revolves around a Scottish priest caught up in the drama, two German opera singers caught between love and patriotism, and a French lieutenant missing his pregnant, sick wife. Other characters are included as the movie meanders toward the momentous evening on December 24, 1914. For American audiences raised on constant drama, this might seem to lack fireworks; yet the ideas here are potent, made all the more so by their basis in fact. When one man makes a simple sacrifice for the sake of his superior, he pays a price that underlines the irony of war.

In conclusion, the movie is a moving tribute to men of three nations who saw past hate and political intrigue long enough to share in their humanity. The true enemies reveal themselves as those who stick dogmatically to their own agendas. This is a message worth weighing--spiritually and politically--in light of our current Christmas situation.
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It came upon the midnight clear December 7, 2006
that glorious song of old,

from angels bending near the earth

to touch their harps of gold.

"Peace on earth, good will to men,

from heaven's gracious King.

The world in solemn stillness lay

to hear the angels sing."

On December 24, 1914 a spontaneous, unscheduled, unapproved truce among German, French and British soldiers took hold in various sectors along the front lines. Soldiers exchanged cigarettes and alcohol, played football (soccer), and allowed the removal and burial of dead soldiers from the frozen tundra of no mans land. "Joyeux Noel", a French-made film with an international cast directed by Christian Carion, is a fictionalized account of this truce. It is a wonderful film that in its own way stands with or close Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" as one of the great films about the horrors of what has come to be known as the First World War.

The film opens in the days and years before the start of the "Great War". We see British (in this instance Scottish), French, and German schoolchildren absorbing lessons in Kiplingesque nationalism and empire-building that taught each group that God was on their side and demonized the evil German, Briton, or French. After a quick introduction to the main characters the war begins in all its brutality. The Scottish and French troops rise up from their trenches and are mowed down by German machine-gunners. The dead and wounded are left in no-mans land. At the same time we see the respective high commands, enjoying the comfort of life war out of harms way. As night falls on Christmas Eve, German soldiers place small Christmas trees atop their trenches. A bagpiper plays a Christmas tune and the German soldiers applaud.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Song as a Gateway of Understanding November 16, 2006
Writer/director Christian Carion ('Une hirondelle a fait le printemps' aka 'The Girl from Paris') is unafraid to write and create cinematic tales that touch the heart as well as the mind. 'Joyeux Noël' is a story of war and its effects on soldiers that goes far beyond sentimentality (or the opposite emphasis on brutality as found in American films) and offers the viewer insights to the responses of young men's minds to the monster of war and how they cope.

Based on a true story, the film opens with the usual callous killing among three groups of soldiers - German, French, and Scottish - who face an oncoming Christmas Eve in the trenches, the realities of fighting have precluded their getting time to retreat for air. But a miracle happens: among the Germans is a famous opera tenor Nikolaus Sprink (Benno Fürmann) who has aligned with his fellow troops in the trenches, hoping he can bring some minor sense of Christmas and understanding to them. His soprano partner Anna Sorensen (Diane Kruger) finds a way to be with him in the trenches on Christmas Eve, 1914. Meanwhile the disgruntle troops of all three sectors are planning meager festivities and a bit of relaxation even in the trenches as the bodies of the day's plunder lie in the snow of no man's land. We get to know the French Lieutenant Audebert (Guillaume Canet) and his orderly Ponchel (Dany Boon), the German head of the regiment Horstmayer (Daniel Brühl), and the Scots - especially the priest/medic Palmer (Gary Lewis).

Christmas Eve comes and the voice of Sprink (in reality the tenor Rolando Villazón) sings 'Stille Nacht', rising out of the trenches to sing in the open of no man's land. Soon he is accompanied by the Scottish bagpipes and the 'chorus' of the Germans, the Scots and the French.
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BEWARE - No subtitles of Amazon VOD version
I'm pretty unhappy about this too! The page where I purchased the Video on-demand item said Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portugese... but only AFTER paying for it, did the description say no subtitles. Crazy!!! Does anybody know how to contact customer service for a problem like this with video... Read More
Dec 25, 2009 by Laura Gibbs |  See all 4 posts
Format Issue Again!
There is no such thing as region 99. There are only 6 or so regions. This is a region 1 disc.
Nov 18, 2006 by Aaron Silverman |  See all 2 posts
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