The Grand Illusion (1937)
La Grande Illusion is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, who co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Spaak. The story concerns class relationships among a small group of French officers who are prisoners of war during World War I and are plotting an escape. The title of the film comes from the book The Great Illusion by British economist Norman Angell, which argued that war is futile because of the common economic interests of all European nations. The perspective of the film is generously humanistic to its characters of various nationalities. It is regarded by critics and film historians as one of the masterpieces of French cinema and among the greatest films ever made. Orson Welles named La Grande Illusion as one of the movies he would take with him "on the ark." Empire magazine ranked it #35 in "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.