7.5/10
6,906
44 user 48 critic

The Wild Child (1970)

L'enfant sauvage (original title)
In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who cannot walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.

Director:

François Truffaut

Writers:

François Truffaut (scenario, adaptation and dialogue), Jean Gruault (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »

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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Pierre Cargol Jean-Pierre Cargol ... Victor, l'enfant sauvage
François Truffaut ... Le Dr Jean Itard
Françoise Seigner Françoise Seigner ... Madame Guerin
Jean Dasté ... Professor Philippe Pinel
Annie Miller Annie Miller ... Madame Lemeri
Claude Miller ... Monsieur Lemeri
Paul Villé Paul Villé ... Remy
Nathan Miller Nathan Miller ... Baby Lemeri
Mathieu Schiffman Mathieu Schiffman ... Mathieu
Jean Gruault Jean Gruault ... Visitor at Institute
Robert Cambourakis Robert Cambourakis ... Countryman
Gitt Magrini Gitt Magrini ... Countrywoman
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Countryman
Laura Truffaut Laura Truffaut ... Girl at farm
Eva Truffaut Eva Truffaut ... Girl at farm
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Storyline

1798. In a forest, some countrymen catch a wild child who can not walk, speak, read nor write. Doctor Itard is interested by the child, and starts to educate him. Everybody thinks he will fail, but with a lot of love and patience, he manages to obtain results and the child continues with normal development. This is based on true story. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

At last an adult film to which you can take your children.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

11 September 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wild Child See more »

Filming Locations:

Aubiat, Puy-de-Dôme, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,680, 7 November 2008

Gross USA:

$61,373
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Truffaut remained true to Dr. Itard's written accounts in most respects. A few variations are: (1) Victor was not stark naked when first captured; he had the shreds of a shirt around his neck. (2) Victor's hair would have been much longer, because he was indifferent to hygiene or how he looked. (3) Jean Itard was merely a young medical student, while the film suggests that he was on an equal basis with Pinel. (4) Madame Guerin became almost a mother to Victor, always attending to him, whereas the film suggests that she merely helped to train him and to clean up after him. (5) Itard would rub Victor's back to relax and comfort him, but then had to worry about sexual responses. Victor also often wet his bed, but Itard never punished him; he decided to allow Victor to learn whether he preferred to lie in a wet bed or to get up to relieve himself. These problems are not shown. (6) In the scene in which Victor throws a tantrum about learning the alphabet, his and Dr. Itard's responses were different than are shown in the film. Real-life Victor bit his bedsheets and began to throw hot coals around the house before falling to the ground and writhing/screaming/kicking; and Itard (Truffaut) did not merely put him into the closet for a few moments. Itard admits [in translation] that he actually "violently threw open the window of his room, which was on the fifth floor overlooking some boulders directly below ... and grabbing him forcibly by the hips, I held him out of the window, his head facing directly down toward the bottom of the chasm. After some seconds, I drew him in again. He was pale, covered with a cold sweat ... I made him gather up all the [alphabet] cards and replace them all. This was done very slowly ... but at least without impatience." Viewers may thank Truffaut for choosing the lesser of two evil punishments! (7) Finally, Dr. Itard took care of Victor for 5 years; in 1806, Victor moved into Madame Guerin's house and stayed there for the rest of his life, with the French Government paying for his care. It is believed that he died there, without ever marrying. See more »

Goofs

The hand the doctor holds the glass of water with changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Le Dr Jean Itard: For the present, his emotions appear unaffected. Despite the ill-treatment he endured at the institute, no one ever saw him cry.
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Connections

Followed by Nell (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Piccolo and Strings in C Major RV 443
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Great Film
10 August 2000 | by whiterat1See all my reviews

Everything about this movie is great. The acting is done perfectly, particularly Victor. This child has the ability to evoke every primal human emotion without doing anything but making sounds and using facial expressions. Perhaps only a child could be capable of doing this but I doubt any child could do it as well. We feel sympathy for him and want to care for him ourselves at the same time that we are anxious about the deep mystery he forces us to recognize. The scene when he is rocking under the full moon, and the look on his face as the movie ends, are brilliant and frightening. The fact that this actor, to my knowledge, has done nothing since, adds to the effect. Where did he go? Might he have been more in touch with this side of humanity than just as an actor? Just incredible. And Truffault's direction was perfect as well. Filmed in a minimalist style and cleverly utilizing early film techniques, he evokes a time period yet allows no distraction from the actual issues involved in the story. The viewer is forced to pay attention and forced to deal with the issues confronting the doctor and his relationship with the boy. I cannot recommend this highly enough.


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