Marseille - City of Culture
This is the guide in English for all things about Marseille.
Films set in or about Marseille
Pagnol's Marseille trilogy, Passage to Marseille, Borsalino and Borsalino and Co, The French Connection I & II, The Marseille Contract, L'immortel, Taxi, Marseille (film), Marseille and Toulon (guide), Marseille (guide)
For those who like nothing better than to settle down with a good film, here is our selection of films in English (or with English subtitles) about or based in Marseille. Each includes a brief plot outline and a link to the IMD database for those who want to know more. Jump in, there's more to films about Marseille than The French Connection.
Note - the links to the films on this page are provided by Amazon.co.uk. Each time you buy something from Amazon.co.uk we get a small sum that helps us to cover our running costs. See the Friends of Marseille City of Culture page for more details.
Films that feature Marseille
Marseille is a popular location for filmmakers, but here we have tried to pick some examples where the city features as a central character rather than as a backdrop.
The original six-hour French-language trilogy Marius (1931), Fanny (1932) and Cesar (1936) were written and directed by Marcel Pagnol. Of the original trilogy, only Marius (1931) and Cesar (1936) are available on DVD for European (region 2) DVD players, although an American adaptation, Fanny (1961), is available to fill the gap.
The Marseille (Fanny) Trilogy Box Set (2007)
The full Marseille Trilogy was released as a box set in 2007, but you can only view it if you have a DVD player that will play American (Region 1) DVDs (in French, with English subtitles).
The first part of the Fanny / Marseille trilogy by Marcel Pagnol, Marius tells the story of a young man who works in a bar in Marseille, is in love with his childhood sweetheart Fanny, but really wants to travel to exotic places as part of the crew of the ships that leave from the docks. Directed by Marcel Pagnol (in French, with English subtitles). See Marius in IMD Database
The original 1932 version directed by Pagnol is not available. This film is an adaptation, without songs, of an American musical that was based on the second part of Pagnol's trilogy - it tells the story of what happens after Marius signs up for a 5-year voyage and Fanny finds that she is pregnant with his child. See Fanny in IMD Database
In the final part of Pagnol's trilogy Cesariot, the son of a regular at the bar, discovers that Marius is his father and sets off to find him in Toulon. Directed by Marcel Pagnol (in French, with English subtitles). See Cesar in IMD Database
Set just before France's defeat by the Germans in the last war, the film tells the story of six convicts who escaped from a French prison colony and are picked up at sea by a ship en-route to Marseille. Stars Humphrey Bogart. See Passage to Marseille in IMD Database
The film is about two escaped British POWs who hide out in the Marseille while trying to find a way out of France. Filmed in Marseille during the late 1950s, it ends with a depiction of the notorious dynamiting of part of the Panier in February 1943. Also released as "The Beasts of Marseilles". See Seven Thunders in IMD Database
Two films that exploit Marseille's connection to crime and the criminal underworld. the first, Borsalino (1970) stars the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, famed for his daring action sequences.
A tale of two small-time crooks, Siffredi and Capella, in 1930s Marseille. The story tells how their involvement in crime escalates and become more violent ultimately leading to Capella's death. Stars Jean-Paul Belmondo. The sequel is Borsalino and Co. (1974) (in French, with Englsh subtitles?). See Borsalino in IMD Database
Borsalino and Co. (1974)
Sequel to Borsalino (1970). In a bid to avenge the death of Capella, Siffredi finds himself in a battle with the Mafia and devises a variety of eccentric and gruesome methods to dispose of his enemies. (in French, with English subtitles) See Borsalino and Co in IMD Database
The French Connection probably did more than any other film to create the image of Marseille as a city full of gangsters and drug dealers. The film concerns the efforts of New York Policemen "Popeye" Doyle and "Cloudy" Russo to disrupt the shipment of heroin from Marseille to New York.
The French Connection (1971)
"Popeye" Doyle and "Cloudy" Russo discover the source of the heroin that is entering New York and trace it back to a seeming respectable Marseille businessman, Alain Charnier. The drugs deal is eventually stopped, but Charnier escapes justice, which nicely sets the scene for the next film. See The French Connection in IMD Database
French Connection II (1975)
Doyle is sent to Marseille to assist the local police to track down Charnier and bust the drugs ring. Doyle alienates the local police and sets out to solve the case on his own. He is captured by Charnier, endures heroin addiction and the subsequent withdrawal but finally gets his man. See French Connection II in IMD Database
French Connection Box Set (2002)
Both films (The French Connection and French Connection II) were also released as a box set in 2002.
More about Drug Barons and killings in Marseille. A US agent sets out to stop the activities of a big drugs dealer in the only way he can, by hiring an underworld hit man, who turns out to be an old friend. Also released as "The Destructors". See the Marseille Contract in IMD Database
After a long career in Marseille's mafia, Charly Matteï is gunned down by an old friend and sets out for revenge after being left for dead with 22 bullets in his body. Based on the semi-autobiographical book by Jacky "Le Mat" Imbert. Also released as "22 bullets". See L'immortel in IMD database and the newspaper article on Jacky "Le Mat" Imbert.
Filmed in Marseille, this concerns an aspiring racing car driver cum taxi driver who is forced to help a local police inspector to track down some German bank robbers in order to keep his licence. This highly successful film spawned a series of other "Taxi" films set in different cities. See Taxi in IMD Database
Not a city guide but a film described as "the most maddeningly pretentious film-reverie yet from Germany's poetess of emptiness, Angela Schanelec" by Variety - judge for yourself. See "Marseille" in IMD Database
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