94 user 43 critic

The Red Balloon (1956)

Le ballon rouge (original title)
Not Rated | | Short, Comedy, Drama | 11 March 1957 (USA)
1:19 | Trailer

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A red balloon with a life of its own follows a little boy around the streets of Paris.


Albert Lamorisse
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview:
Pascal Lamorisse ... Pascal - le petit garçon
Georges Sellier Georges Sellier ... Le marchand
Vladimir Popov Vladimir Popov ... Un locataire
Paul Perey Paul Perey
Renée Marion Renée Marion ... La mère de Pascal
Sabine Lamorisse Sabine Lamorisse ... La petite fille au ballon bleu
Michel Pezin Michel Pezin


A boy makes friends with a seemingly sentient balloon, and it begins to follow him. It follows the boy to school, to the bus, and to church. Boy and balloon play together in the streets of Paris and try to elude a gang of boys that wants to destroy the balloon. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Academy Award Winning Sensation!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

11 March 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Red Balloon See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Films Montsouris See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


With its Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay, the film is (as of 2018) the only short film to win an Academy Award outside of the short film categories. See more »


The boy comes up to the front window of a bakery shop and peers in, and we see him eyeing the display of bakery goods. Then the camera position changes so that we see the boy from the inside of the bakery, but from the inside looking out, the selection and arrangement of displayed items is suddenly quite different than what we just saw from the outside view. See more »


Pascal - le petit garçon: Could you hold my balloon while I'm in school?
See more »

Crazy Credits

With the cooperation of the balloons of the Paris area. See more »


Referenced in The Divorce (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Gorgeous short movie filled with colorful images , lively score , glamorous cinematography and enjoyable fantasy
27 November 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Splendid short movie dealing with the fantasy world of children . A red balloon with a life of its own follows a little boy (Pascal Lamorisse , son of director Albert Lamorisse) around the streets of Paris . Balloon and young boy play together in the streets and slums of Paris and attempt to elude a band of boys that wants to explode the balloon .

This timeless movie displays haunting and powerful scenes , it's plenty of frames which stay forever in the mind and there is almost no dialog spoken . The story is narrated with sensitivity and intelligence and is treated a simple adventure developed in great sense of ductility and fairness . In spite of runtime is short , this is a medium-length film, as the run is 35 minutes , it is entertaining , amusing and funny . The gentle humor developed in the film is clever and agreeable and dealing with fantastic as well as surrealist deeds . The plot is plain and simple though is only set in Parisian streets , it isn't dreary , neither boring but fun . Director tirelessly maintains the humorous ingenuity and including fantasy as when the balloon following the little boy around like a pet . Spectacular as well colorful finale when other balloons of various sizes and colors descend on the boy from all parts of Paris, and together they lift him into the sky and take him away over the horizon . Lively musical score is enjoyable and cheerful . The motion picture received awesome reviews and deserves the complete knowledge , acquiring an international reputation for its poetic quality ; receiving a grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and also winning an American Academy award. In fact , with its Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay, the film is the only short film to win an Academy award outside of the short film categories . The picture is nowadays considered to be an European cult film and it had one of the largest non-theatrical runs in the history of American cinema , as thousands of 16-millimeter prints were distributed to schools across the country.

The motion picture was stunningly directed by Albert Mamorisse , he was born in Paris and was killed, at 58 , in a helicopter crash while shooting a documentary near Teheran . He was former photographer, he turned to directing short subjects in the late 40s, and 50s involving the childhood and fantastic events . His most successful movies were ¨Crin Blanc¨ (1953) also starred by his son Pascal Lamorisse and ¨The Red balloon¨ (1956) , the latter winning an Academy Award , as it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, even though it has little dialogue . In the early 60s he turned to feature length films such as ¨Bim¨ and "Stowaway in the Sky" equally starred by his son Pascal , but with considerably less success, then retreated to documentary shorts . His last picture was ¨Le Vent Des Amoureux¨ (1978), a visually stunning helicopter tour of Iran, was later edited from his notes and was nominated for an Oscar as best feature documentary for the Academy award ceremonies of 1979.

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