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The Sorrow and the Pity


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The Sorrow and the Pity + Night and Fog (The Criterion Collection) + Shoah (Criterion Collection)
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Editorial Reviews

A chronicle of a French city under the occupation. Director Marcel Ophuls combined interviews and archival film footage to explore the reality of the French occupation in one small industrial city, Clermont-Ferrand. He spoke with resistance fighters, collaborators, spies, farmers, government officials, writers, artists and veterans. The result is a shattering portrait of how ordinary people actually conducted themselves under extraordinary circumstances. By turns gripping, horrifying, and inspiring, Academy Award nominee The Sorrow and the Pity is a triumph of humanist filmmaking and a testament to the power of cinema. Before Shoah, Schindler's List, The Long Way Home, and The Last Days, there was The Sorrow and the Pity.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Maurice Chevalier, Georges Bidault
  • Directors: Marcel Ophüls
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French, German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Milestone
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2011
  • Run Time: 251 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0055UBGEO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,573 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Michael C. Davis on September 15, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'The Sorrow and the Pity' is a monumental documentary concerning French collaboration and accommodation during the Nazi occupation of France. It provides a fascinating window into the lives of normal people swept up in traumatic events. I do not want to color anyone else's viewing with my interpretations. I will just say that this is not a romanticized/sanitized version of events. In the face of overwhelming force many people did what they needed to do to survive and provide for the survival of their loved ones. Some did what they had to do to prosper under the new regime.

Any one with an interest in history or the human condition under duress would be well served by watching this film.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By conrad thomason on December 5, 2012
Format: DVD
this documentary provides a close view of German occupation policies in France and the varied response of the
french to the occupiers. Ophuls is careful not to editorialize, rather he lets the occupiers and occupied speak for themselves.the picture isn't pretty and the film is controversial but well worth the time. I rate it five star.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 28, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For every Albert Camus who joined the French Resistance, there were 10,000 Frenchmen who supported Petain. This harrowing documentary confronts the brown-shirted ghosts of the Occupation, and, by doing so, makes the heroism of those who fought against their own turncoat government more amazing and inspiring. See this movie--preferably without popcorn or beer. Everyone needs to face the truth of WWII when so many in Europe saw Hitler as a bulwark against bolshevism rather than what he was: Evil incarnate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eulogia on April 6, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some reviews complained this film was in French (in fact there are also scenes in German), but if you look into the setup of your DVR player, there is a subtitle function available. Don't miss out on that because the film will run in French automatically. This is indeed an interesting film with great WWII footage. The interviews with citizens who chose to side with the Vichy government as well as those who chose the Resistance offer a great opportunity to study a particular area of France and the affect WWII had upon it. I also found the viewpoints of some German officers to be revealing. One of them stated that while Hitler felt that France would offer no serious opposition to the Reich, German officers felt the French army would fight quite hard as they did in WWI and that it would be a long, hard battle. The planting of roses by French women along the Maginot Line to make it "look pretty" was ironic. This film is a must see for any WWII buff. And don't forget the subtitle setting!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Stoll on March 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Marcel Ophuls documentary movie, purchased at Amazon, that investigates the French complicity with the Nazi regime's crimes caused a major scandal in France when it was released. It remains a forgotten masterpiece that still rings with its courageous and trenchant observations.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diana Hayes on March 10, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For WWII history, this shines! It presents a truer picture of the dichotomy of France's positions without apology, than I expected. Perhaps intervening years led to less fear of reprisal and, therefore, greater honesty. The Vichy supporters can do no more than present their shallow reasons for compliance and live the rest of their lives with a warranted burden of guilt instead of the sorrow that would provoke abject pleas for forgiveness. There remains a sense in them of being justified by the 'difficult' personal, family or economic circumstances war with Germany entailed for them. Truly a pity!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Walter F. Bell on September 16, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Great film! Unfortunately, it is in French and German and my copy had no English subtitles even though the casing says it does. there was no setup for me to chose English subtitles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Jacobs on June 7, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Watch it and you'll agree with Woody Allen in "Annie Hall." (IT's great for a long plane ride... or to view in its entirety on a rainy Sunday. To a significant extent, the film changed the French people's view of themselves (to the extent that the French can change their minds about themselves).
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