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The Good Life (1963)

La belle vie (original title)
After twenty-seven long months spent in Algeria, Frédéric Simon, a young photographer is determined to forget this time of trouble. Now that the Army has finally discharged him he wants to ... See full summary »


Robert Enrico
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Frédéric de Pasquale Frédéric de Pasquale ... Frédéric Simon
Josée Steiner Josée Steiner ... Sylvie Simon
Odile Geoffroy Odile Geoffroy ... Kiki, la cover-girl
Françoise Giret Françoise Giret ... Christiane, l'ex de Frédéric
Lucienne Hamon Lucienne Hamon ... La guide
Gregori Chmara ... Joseph (as Gregory Chmara)
Nane Germon Nane Germon ... L'amie riche
Nicole Desailly Nicole Desailly ... (as Nicole Dessailly)
Alice Reichen Alice Reichen
André Zibral André Zibral
Jean-Pierre Lituac Jean-Pierre Lituac


After twenty-seven long months spent in Algeria, Frédéric Simon, a young photographer is determined to forget this time of trouble. Now that the Army has finally discharged him he wants to live the good life. And at first, things go according to his wishes: not only does he marry Sylvie but they are invited by a wealthy man to Monte Carlo, where they spend a dream honeymoon. But back in Paris, hard times await them. Not finding work easily along with having to live in a cramped apartment make Frédéric bitter and unpleasant. When Sylvie becomes pregnant, he slams the door and finds consolation in the arms of Christine, an ex girlfriend, which he soon regrets. At last, the situation improves. Frédéric finds work and starts making money as a fashion photographer. But the good life cannot go on: one morning a policeman knocks at the young couple's door: the country wants Frédéric back in the Army. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | War







Release Date:

22 January 1964 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La belle vie - tag livet let See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Les Films du Centaure See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Demob?? 27 Months ,ain't it enough?
3 April 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Robert Enrico's first work (three sketches which formed a seamless whole) "Au coeur de la vie" is the great lost masterpiece of the early sixties ,when France was caught up to its neck in the Nouvelle Vague pretensions.Its tales of war were desperate ,in spite of the title,and death was the keynote."Au coeur de la vie" ,Enrico's first is also his best ,which was more praised by the Americans than in its own country ("la rivière du hibou " became "an occurrence at owl creek river" ,the original title of Ambrose Bierce's short story) "La Belle Vie" is ,along "les aventuriers" and the overlooked "Tante Zita" ,one of Enrico's finest achievements.Some sequences -notably in the streets of Paris-made me fear he might have succumbed to the vices of the Young Turks.But he was not a New Wavelet follower.He was at the time an artist with a genuine creativity to offer.

Like " Au coeur de la vie","La Belle Vie" is about war.A dirty war,the Algerian war.A war which stole the most beautiful years of his life from a young man (Frédéric De Pasquale)"Since he came back,says his wife -he got married after his return- he is not the same again."How could he? The scene when the ex-soldier destroys the paratroopers 'ashtray is revealing.There are no flashbacks which describe the hero's sinister past.Enrico uses news films which all revolve around war,military world ,and proud parades to the sound of "la Marseillaise"-not to mention atrocious pictures of the concentration camps.Always this sound of boots marching which comes back as an ominous leitmotiv.It's this terrifying noise which concludes the film,an ending which is one of the most desperate I know: has man really become a slave to the military machine?Hence the connection with "la rivière du hibou" : all that happened in Paris is perhaps only a mirage ,even if Frederic's story is realistic to a fault.

"La belle vie" had problems with the censorship ,which made sense.This film and "Au coeur de la vie" are Enrico at his most adventurous.

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