Joyeux Noël

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Joyeux Noël is a 2005 film about an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front in December 1914 that allows soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other's way of life.

Directed and written by Christian Carion.
Without an enemy there can be no war.  (taglines)

Lieutenant Gordon[edit]

  • We were talking about a cease fire, for Christmas Eve. What do you think? The outcome of this war wont be decided tonight. I don't think anyone would criticize us for laying down our riffles on Christmas Eve.


  • Ponchel: [watching Horstmayer and Gordon shake hands] A summit meeting, and we're not even invited.
  • Father Palmer: Tonight, these men were drawn to that altar like it was a fire in the middle of winter. Even those who aren't devout came to warm themselves.
  • Lt. Horstmayer: [to Lt. Audebert and his troops] Our artillery will shell you in 10 minutes, so I suggest you come shelter in my trench.


Bishop: Christ our Lord said, "Think not that I come to bring peace on earth. I come not to bring peace, but a sword." The Gospel according to St. Matthew. Well, my brethren, the sword of the Lord is in your hands. You are the very defenders of civilization itself. The forces of good against the forces of evil. For this war is indeed a crusade! A holy war to save the freedom of the world. In truth I tell you: the Germans do not act like us, neither do they think like us, for they are not, like us, children of God. Are those who shell cities populated only by civilians the children of God? Are those who advanced armed hiding behind women and children the children of God? With God's help, you must kill the Germans, good or bad, young or old. Kill every one of them so that it won't have to be done again. The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Bishop: May God Almighty bless you. The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. Amen.
All: Amen.

Horstmayer: I heard last night about your wife. If you like, I can get a letter through to her.
Lieutenant Audebert: Why would you do that? If you got caught...
Horstmayer: One letter won't stop us winning the war. And anyhow, when we'll have taken Paris and it's over, you can invite us for a drink in Rue Vavin.
Lieutenant Audebert: You don't have to invade Paris to drop round for a drink.

Le Major: Everyone to their posts!
Gordon: [a moment of indecision] Every man to his post!
Le Major: Quickly!
[the Scottish soldiers get in position along the trench wall]
German Soldiers: [Someone in the German trench stands up and walks into No Man's Land] No, stay here! What're you doing? Come back!
Le Major: Well, what the hell are you doing! Shoot the bloody Kraut!
[the Scottish soldiers look at each other; they don't fire]
Le Major: What are you waiting for? Shoot him, God damn it! Holidays are over!
[the soldiers shoot in the air to warn the man in No Man's Land, who begins to run toward the French trench]
Le Major: What the hell do you think you're playing at? Shoot him!
[Again the soldiers look at each other, shake their heads, and don't fire]
Le Major: Shoot him!
[Jonathan shoots the man, who falls midway between the French and German trenches]
Le Major: Stand down from your posts. Shame on you, Gordon. Shame on you.
[Lieutenant Audebert runs to help the man Jonathan shot - Ponchel in a German uniform]
Ponchel: Be silly to die disguised as a German, eh?
Lieutenant Audebert: What the devil were you doing?
Ponchel: I had a German help me. I saw my mother. We drank a coffee, just like before... You have a son.
[Lieutenant Audebert can no longer keep from crying]
Ponchel: His name is Henri. [he dies]

General Audebert: How did you let yourself...
Lieutenant Audebert: If you came to preach, leave now!
General Audebert: Don't you realize the gravity of this? It's high treason! Punishable by death. [pause] Only we can't execute 200 men. That's all that saves you. Not counting all the other cases of fraternization reported since. If public opinion hears of this...
Lieutenant Audebert: Have no fear, no one here will tell.
General Audebert: I hope not! Who'd want to?
Lieutenant Audebert: Want to? The men involved feel no shame. If they won't tell, it's because no one would believe or understand.
General Audebert: I don't understand you. Carousing with the enemy while the country's partly occupied!
Lieutenant Audebert: The country? What does it know of what we suffer here? Of what we do without complaint? Let me tell you, I felt closer to the Germans than those who cry, "Kill the Krauts!" before their stuffed turkey!
General Audebert: You're talking nonsense.
Lieutenant Audebert: No, you're just not living the same war as me. Or as those on the other side.
General Audebert: You and your men will rejoin the Verdun sector. You're right about one thing. I don't understand this war. My corps was the cavalry. You should have made a career of it, like I said. Today, I'm asked to fight a way where the shovel outweighs the rifle. In which people swap addresses with the enemy to meet when it's all over. Plus the cat we found with a note from the Germans, "Good luck, comrades!" I was ordered to arrest the cat for high treason... until further notice.
[He turns to leave]
Lieutenant Audebert: You're a grandfather, Dad.
[the General stops and looks at him. The Lieutenant tries not to cry]
Lieutenant Audebert: His name is Henri.
[He grins through his tears]
General Audebert: What are you on about? How do you know that?
Lieutenant Audebert: You wouldn't understand.
General Audebert: Henri? Not bad. Henri Audebert. Let's try and survive this war for him.


  • Without an enemy there can be no war.
  • Christmas Eve, 1914. On a World War I battlefield, a Momentous Event changed the lives of soldiers from France, Germany and England.


  • The main point is I wanted the audiences to sympathize equally with the Germans, the French and the Scots. There is no camp. Good guys, bad guys–no, not at all. Only the soldiers on the frontline as well as the people outside of that. The headquarters for each, they don’t understand what happens on the frontline. But the people on the frontline can understand each other because they are living the same life and suffering the same way. That’s why is understandable they would make a Christmas truce. So I wanted the audiences to love them all the same way but to write this wasn’t as evident to me. I had to forget that I am French. I didn’t want to be more or less sympathetic to the French people because I’m French. It was a very subtle balance and I hope I succeeded.


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