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The Rules of the Game (1939)

aka La règle du jeu

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 110 mins · French


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No_movie_poster Lisette, sa camériste
Small Geneviève de Marras
No_movie_poster Madame de la Plante
No_movie_poster Madame de la Bruyère
No_movie_poster Jackie, nièce de Christine
No_movie_poster Radio-Reporter
Small Robert de la Cheyniest
Small Marceau, le braconnier
No_movie_poster André Jurieux
No_movie_poster Edouard Schumacher, le garde-chasse
Small Octave
Small Christine de la Cheyniest


Small Jean Renoir Director
No_movie_poster Carl Koch Novel
No_movie_poster Jean Bachelet Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Marthe Huguet Editor
No_movie_poster Marguerite Renoir Editor
Small Coco Chanel Costume Design
Small Jean Renoir Writer
No_movie_poster Marguerite Renoir Editing
No_movie_poster Marthe Huguet Editing


The film begins with the aviator André Jurieux landing at Le Bourget Airfield just outside Paris. He is greeted by his friend Octave, who reveals that Christine, the woman André loves, has not come to the airfield to greet him. André is heartbroken. When a radio reporter comes to broadcast his first words upon landing, he explains his sorrow and denounces the woman who has spurned him. Christine, an Austrian, is listening to the broadcast from her apartment in Paris as she is attended by her maid, Lisette. Christine has been married to Robert, Marquis de la Cheyniest for three years. Lisette has been married to Schumacher, the gamekeeper at the country estate, for two years, but she is more devoted to Madame Christine. Christine's past relationship with André is openly known by her husband, her maid, and their friend Octave. After Christine and Robert playfully discuss André's emotional display and pledge devotion to one another, Robert excuses himself to make a phone call. He arranges to meet Geneviève, his mistress, the next morning.

At Geneviève's apartment, Robert announces he must end their relationship, but invites her to join them for a weekend retreat to Robert and Christine's country estate, La Colinière, in Sologne. Later, Octave induces Robert to invite André to the country as well. They joke that André and Geneviève will pair off and solve everyone's problems. At the estate, Schumacher is policing the grounds, trying to get rid of rabbits. Marceau, a poacher, sneaks onto the grounds to retrieve a rabbit caught in one of his snares. Before he can get away, Schumacher catches him and begins to march him off the property when Robert demands to know what is going on. Marceau explains that he can catch rabbits, and Robert offers him a job as a servant. Once inside the house, Marceau flirts with Schumacher's wife, Lisette.

At a masquerade ball, various romantic liaisons are made. In the estate's dark, secluded greenhouse, Octave declares that he, too, loves Christine and they impulsively decide to run away together. Schumacher and Marceau, who have both been expelled from the estate after a fight over Lisette, observe the greenhouse scene and mistake Christine for Lisette, because Christine is wearing Lisette's cape and hood. Octave momentarily returns to the house and, while there, Lisette talks him out of running off with Christine. Consequently, he sends André to meet Christine. When André reaches the greenhouse, Schumacher mistakes him for Octave, who he believes is going to steal his wife. He shoots and kills André, which Robert subsequently explains to his guests as an "accident".

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1950-04-08 : United States of America

DVD : 2004-01-20