Marco Ferreri's greatest international success, "La Grande Bouffe" scandalized audiences when it was released in 1973. Audiences were shocked by its tale of four world-weary middle-aged men (superbly portrayed by Marcello ... more »Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret) who decide to gorge themselves to death in one final orgiastic weekend full of gourmet food, call girls and a hefty, lusty schoolteacher. This blackly humorous parable of modern society's collapse won the Cannes Film Festival's International Critics Award. The New York Times called it "vulgar vaudeville on an epic scale...a mordant, chilling, hilarious dirty movie." Nearly 30 years later, it continues to challenge audiences' sensibilities and test the limits of shockability.« less
Vicente P. T. Adorno | São Paulo, Brazil | 02/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like this movie for its outrageousness and its ability to combine an allegoric vision and a creeping reality: what are we doing with our lives? Where will this boredom of modern living lead us to? The idea of four friends engaging in an all-out "Grande Abbufatta" (the original title in Italian) is quite a perceptive allegory of what happened to the so-called Western civilization as a whole. It seems it has nowhere to go but to a formidable blow-out since its very beginning... I'm not a big fan of Marco Ferreri's work. I think he was quite irregular in his output, but when he hit the mark he was simply second to none. For me, this "La Grande Bouffe" and "L'Ape Regina" ("The Queen Bee" or "The Conjugal Bed", 1963, with Ugo Tognazzi and Marina Vlady) are among the best examples of black comedy ever to be given us by filmmakers anywhere in the world. His choice of actors couldn't be better: Mastroianni, Piccoli, Noiret and Tognazzi will be forever among the greatest in this trade, and in "La Grande Bouffe" all of them give us one of the finest of their efforts ever. I was very happy when I knew this movie was being released on DVD because I had seen it twice in movie theaters: in 1978 (the Italian-spoken version) and in 1981 (the French-spoken version, the one on this DVD). I was hoping the DVD version would bring both. I was quite disappointed to see that it brings only the French-spoken version, with English subtitles. It would have added much more to my pleasure if this DVD version of "La Grande Bouffe" would come with both Italian- and French-spoken versions, and also with Italian and French - besides English - subtitles. If I'm not mistaken, it's possible to do this with any DVD (if not, please correct me), for I have many DVDs at home with a choice of several languages on the audio tracks and an equally wide variety of subtitles' choice. Also, the music that Philippe Sarde wrote for this movie has haunted me since the very first time I saw "La Grande Bouffe". I have been hunting for this movie's music all over the world to no avail for decades now (can anyone out there help me on that? Was this music ever issued on tapes, LPs or CDs anywhere?). I was hoping that on DVD they would provide us also with a choice of hearing this sensuous and intriguing music without the dialogues, but this too was denied to us viewers. For these two reasons only (lack of a wider choice of languages and subtitles, and lack of a separate track for the music) I don't give this DVD a 5-star rating."
What a way to go
The Chalcenteric Kid | 02/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"La Grande Bouffe has to be one of a few greatest existential movies ever successfully produced (along with Goddard's Weekend and Bunel's Une Chien Andalou). When life's grudgery and drudgery become too much for a bunch of middle-class men facing middle-age and mortality, the question arises, why am I getting old? Why is this happenig to me? The inevitable is not acceptable and each man looks to what it is that would make them happy. Ultimately they realize nothing will make them happy. It is all so ordinary and mundane, their life has no meaning.Retiring to a grand maison with a courtyard and pond in a section of town they endeavour to reflect on their unfulfilled lives and satisfy every lustful desire they have. One last grand blow-out and then exit with dignity at the peak of you outward persona. The movie turns into a food filled bacchanal with brioches filled with pate the size of the corronation cake in the Great Race. As with all great gourmonds these not so gentlemen dispatch all sorts of animals and fish stocked around the courtyard and in the pond, ensuring freshness of meat for the "die"ning table.There is a bit of gratuitous sex, it was the early seventies and this was a foreign production. Additionally the sex is an adjunct to the other deadly sins that they were endulging in, on their way out."
There can be only one.
The Chalcenteric Kid | Boca Raton | 10/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some movies sear an image into your brain for ever. Like the end of "The Wild Bunch" or the beginning of Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West" - "Looks like we're shy one horse". "No, you brought two too many".I saw "La Grand Bouffe" over 20 years ago. I still have the image in my mind of the guy eating the two blancmanges at the end of the picture before he dies.This movie is surreal, bizarre and wonderful. If we go to movies to see images and things we have never seen before, then this movie is spectacularly successful.There is no greater movie about food and death."
Most Hilarious Black Comedy I've Ever Seen
The Chalcenteric Kid | 05/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, the French really have a way with movies, but I don't think I've ever laughed as much as I did when I first saw La Grande Bouffe. What's even better is that every time after that, you find more and more to laugh at. This movie is a must for food lovers everywhere!"
Little known but glorious
anastasina | Atlanta, GA USA | 12/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once in awhile you see a film that makes you rejoice with awe and pleasure; this is just such a film. A celebration of life in 24 dashing hours, Grand Bouffe portrays a hedonistic reunion of four old friends in the grandest style. A beautiful and thoughtful examination of aging and, ultimately, mortality underlines what is otherwise a touching and very amusing romp through all the delights of the senses. Mastroianni is only one of a truly talented crew of actors whose poignant portrayals mold the wonderful script into a delightful and humanistic work of cinematic art. See this film."