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La Grande Vadrouille 1966
Description: During Globe Fight II, two French civilians and a downed British Bomber Team set out from Paris to cross the demarcation line between Nazi-occupied Northern France and the South. From there they will be able to escape to England. First, they gotta avoid German units - and the consequences of their own blunders.
Released: 08 Dec 1966 Director: Gérard Oury Writers: Gérard Oury (scenario), Danièle Thompson (adaptation), Marcel Jullian (adaptation), Georges Tabet (dialogue), André Tabet (dialogue) Actors: Bourvil, Louis de Funès, Claudio Brook, Andréa Parisy Genres: Adventure, Comedy, War
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La Grande Vadrouille Reviews:

Why is this film so funny? And why is it universally judged to be so by folks who don't understand French culture? I have asked myself this question while watching it for the Nth time and while asking myself why most Hollywood 'comedies' made today are not funny at all. I trust that the respond is that the basis of all comedy is to create fun of someone. Here, fun is made of sexual stereotypes, of the British, of the French and, most of all, of the Germans, Nazis in this case. Hollywood has become so politically-correct that it actually only dares create fun of a WASP male in a business suit, and of no one else. Take the situation of 'The Birdcage', a makeover of the French comedy 'La cage aux folles' made some 20 years earlier. Being bilingual, I can testify that the original ver is immensely more funny than the Hollywood remake. That is because the Hollywood bean-counters, who like to pass themselves off as artistic decision-makers, toned down most of the fun that had been made of homosexuals in the original movie. Ask Shakespeare or Moliere: the enjoy or film will be funny only if it pokes cruel fun at someone, provided it is not at you. Sorry for the politically-incorrect opinion.


I have been teaching French for more than 20 years and saw this comedy with my 18 year old nephew who is studying French and my sister who knows none. We laughed our silly heads off for two hours. It appeals to young and old, French-speaking and non-French speaking. It is simply hilarious.


Starring the popular Bourvil/Louis de Funes tandem it is a highly entertaining caper set in WWII German-occupied France, where these 2 unlikely heroes reluctantly gotta support some downed British airmen to escape.A perennial favorite on French TV during the Christmas or Easter holidays it is one of those rare films you can watch over and over again without getting tired of it. It runs more than two hours but moves along at an wonderful pace. Film relies bigtime on the clash of hero between de Funes as the self-important musical director of the Opéra de Paris and Bourvil as the easy housepainter. But also the hilarious script, some spectacular setpieces (including a spielbergesque chase by German sidecars) and a surprising finale all add up to making `Vadrouille' one of the greatest and most entertaining French films ever. Made on a lavish budget by Gerard Oury who would go on to create some another highly succesfull comedies, mostly starring large French stars as de Funes and Bourvil, but also Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pierre Richard and Christian Clavier. Incidentally his next venture was to be the equally succesfull `The Brain', starring none another than David Niven (!) and Eli Wallach, backed up by Bourvil and Belmondo. Bourvil and de Funes could be reunited again by Oury in `La folie des Grandeurs' but then sadly Bourvil passed away. He was replaced by none another than Yves Montand.Up to that time films made in France took fight rather seriously, but `La grande vadrouille' sparked of an unlimited string of farces set in WWII which almost invariably depicted the French as very intelligent and cunning, everytime outwitting the Germans in the end. Even the newest (2002) `Laissez-Passer' from much-acclaimed director Bertrand Tavernier is based on this premiss.If you like this definitely test to see `Le Corniaud', the first de Funes/Bourvil caper by Oury or why not `Mais ou est donc passé la 7ieme compagnie ?' as a prime example of the smart French versus not-so-smart German theme.



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