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They Are Not Angels (1947)

Le bataillon du ciel (original title)
« They are not Angels » is a French film directed by Alexandre Esway, released in 1947, based on the book by Joseph Kessel who had stayed in the paratroopers camp of Free France, England.


Alexander Esway (as Alexandre Esway)


Joseph Kessel (dialogue), Joseph Kessel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Blanchar ... Ferane
René Lefèvre ... Baptiste
Janine Crispin ... Berthe Servais
Jean Wall ... Ben Sassein
Daniel Mendaille ... Baron de Brandoz (as D. Mendaille)
Marcel Mouloudji ... Le Canaque (as Mouloudji)
Christian Bertola Christian Bertola ... Lt. de Carrizy
Charles Moulin Charles Moulin ... Le Gorille
Luc Andrieux Luc Andrieux ... (as Andrieu)
Henri Nassiet Henri Nassiet ... Bouvier
Nicolas Vogel Nicolas Vogel ... Veran
Daphne Courtney Daphne Courtney ... June
John Howard John Howard ... Willy
Pamela Stirling Pamela Stirling ... Molly
Charles Rolfe Charles Rolfe ... MacIntyre


On the eve of the landing of June 6, 1944, a French parachute battalion of the Special Air Service was dropped on Brittany to help the Resistance contain the enemy forces en route to Normandy. This film is in 2 periods: 1st period: They are not angels This part tells the chronicle of a training camp in England, a SAS parachute battalion of Free France during the Second World War. 2nd period: Terre de France. Once formed, the SAS parachute battalion parachuted into Brittany and sabotaged the German installations with the help of the Breton guerrillas. This is the fictionalized story of Colonel Pierre-Louis Bourgoin, Captain Pierre Marienne and the 2nd SAS Parachute Fighter Regiment. Written by Frederic HUETTE

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

world war two | See All (1) »


Drama | War







Release Date:

21 May 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

They Are Not Angels See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The movie beat the record of ticket sales at the movies when it came out. See more »

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User Reviews

They are not angels/Terre de France.
26 January 2005 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

This movie was divided into two parts when it was theatrically released.The running time of the English version is shorter than the original one.

Part 1: "They are not angels" depicts the training of the French paratroopers in England before the D Day.We make acquaintance with a dozen of them,soldiers and officers.Close to documentary,it's not devoid of humor(the scene when the MO warns his men of the dangers of VDs in veiled terms in a girls school )or restrained emotion (the accident ).We feel the paratroopers' love for their motherland and their dear Paname (Paname is not only Paris's old nickname but one of the heroes's name or nickname)when they smell a metro (subway) ticket which they share.

Part 2 "Terre de France" :after their landing, we follow the heroic fighters through a ruined land.This part is more eventful .The soldiers discover the harsh reality of lost companions,tortures but also the bravery of humble people .Only two of them will survive.

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