The Rules of the Game

The Rules of the Game

Directed by Jean Renoir • 1939 • France

Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis' country château lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haut bourgeois acquaintances. The film has had a tumultuous history: it was subjected to cuts after the violent response of the premiere audience in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn't reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here.

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The Rules of the Game
  • The Rules of the Game

    Directed by Jean Renoir • 1939 • France

    Considered one of the greatest films ever made, The Rules of the Game (La règle du jeu), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners in which a weekend at a marquis' country château lays bare some ugly tr...

Extras

  • Jean Renoir, 1961

  • Michael Cunningham on THE RULES OF THE GAME

  • THE RULES OF THE GAME Commentary

    Recorded in 1989, this commentary features writer-director Peter Bogdanovich reading text by Jean Renoir scholar Alexander Sesonske, author of Jean Renoir: The French Films, 1924–1939.

  • 1939 Short Version Ending

    Watch the ending of director Jean Renoir’s 1939 81-minute version of THE RULES OF THE GAME in its entirety.

  • Playing by Different Rules

    THE RULES OF THE GAME originally ran 94 minutes. After a negative response, Renoir cut it to 81. During World War II, the film was destroyed by bombs. In 1959, it was reconstructed, with Renoir’s approval, from surviving elements, becoming the 106-minute version we know. Chris Faulkner compares t...

  • Scene Analysis: “Corridor”

    This commentary on a ninety-second example of Jean Renoir’s accomplished use of cinematography and depth of field in THE RULES OF THE GAME was recorded in 2003. Chris Faulkner is the author of “The Social Cinema of Jean Renoir” and a professor of film studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont...

  • Scene Analysis: “Public and Private”

    This commentary on the opening sequence of THE RULES OF THE GAME was recorded in 2003. Chris Faulkner is the author of “The Social Cinema of Jean Renoir” and a professor of film studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

  • Jean Renoir, le patron: La règle et l’exception

    In 1966, Jacques Rivette produced three episodes for the French television series “Cinéastes de notre temps,” grouped under the title “Jean Renoir, le patron.” “La règle et l’exception,” which aired on February 8, 1967, is the second of the three. In it, Renoir discusses THE RULES OF THE GAME wit...

  • Production History: Chris Faulkner

    Historian Chris Faulkner narrates this 2003 video essay on THE RULES OF THE GAME’s inception, production, original release, and 1959 reconstruction.

  • Production History: Olivier Curchod

    Film scholar Olivier Curchod delves into the complicated production history of THE RULES OF THE GAME, in this 2003 piece by N. T. Binh.

  • Production History: Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand

    In this 1965 interview from the television program “Les écrans de la ville,” Jean Gaborit and Jacques Durand, who were responsible for the reconstruction of THE RULES OF THE GAME, discuss their role in the film’s history.

  • Max Douy on THE RULES OF THE GAME

    Max Douy’s career as a production designer spanned fifty years and over 150 films, including collaborations with directors Claude Autant-Lara, Jules Dassin, and Jean Renoir. He served as assistant to Eugène Lourié on THE RULES OF THE GAME. In June 2003, he gave Criterion this interview at the fam...

  • Mila Parély on THE RULES OF THE GAME

    Actor Mila Parély appeared in over forty films, including Jean Renoir’s THE RULES OF THE GAME, Jean Cocteau’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and Max Ophuls’s LE PLAISIR. This 1995 interview with her was produced by Jacques Motte for his documentary HISTOIRE D’UN TOURNAGE EN SOLOGNE, about the making of TH...

  • Alain Renoir

    The son of Jean Renoir and the grandson of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alain Renoir worked as an assistant cameraman on two of his father’s films—LA BÊTE HUMAINE and THE RULES OF THE GAME—before coming to the United States and embarking on a career as a professor of comparative literature. This interv...

  • Staging in THE RULES OF THE GAME

    Jean Renoir’s THE RULES OF THE GAME is famed for its deep-focus photography and intricate staging. Professor Kristin Thompson analyzes the elaborate construction—and mesmerizing chaos—of Renoir’s symphonic tragicomedy.