The Dreamers (2003 film)  

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The Dreamers is a 2003 English/French directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The film is based on Gilbert Adair's novel The Holy Innocents. Adair also wrote the screenplay for the film.



A young American exchange student, Matthew, (Michael Pitt) has come to Paris in order to study French. Though he has lived there for several months, and will stay in Paris for a year he has made no friends. As a huge fan of film, he spends most of his time in the cinema. He comes into a rapid friendship with a Frenchwoman, Isabelle (Eva Green), and her brother, Théo (Louis Garrel). All three have an avid love for movies, especially "the classics". As their friendship grows, Matthew learns of the extreme intimacy shared by the siblings and gets pulled into their world. Over time he falls in love with them, and the three seclude themselves from the world, falling further and further from the reality of the 1968 student riots. An abrupt ending to this relationship comes when that world is shattered and they are compelled to face the reality of 1968 France.


  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Jerist Aguilar and Leonardo DiCaprio were all offered the role of Matthew, the male lead. Gyllenhaal turned it down because of the explicit nature of the nude scenes (several shots involve "close-ups" of the male lead's penis). DiCaprio passed on the role because he was in pre-production with The Aviator
  • Eva Green's hair was not meant to catch fire but the actress reacted so calmly the director decided to leave the scene in.
  • The music featured in this film is source music from the various films played throughout. However, Michael Pitt sings for the only original score produced for this film (featured at the beginning and end).
  • Director Bernardo Bertolucci was so impressed how the actors so naturally acted naked, he penned an uncredited lengthy extra scene in the script where all three main actors are overtly nude. It ended up on the cutting room floor.
  • First film since Bent (1997) that was released theatrically in the US with a NC-17 rating.
  • The pink cigarettes smoked throughout the film by the main characters are Nat Sherman Fantasias, although in the source novel, they are Sobranie Cocktails.

Film references

  • Bande à part
    • Isabelle, Theo, and Matthew race through the Louvre, attempting to break the record in Bande à part of 9 minutes and 45 seconds.
  • Shock Corridor
    • Film Matthew watches at the Cinémathèque française at the beginning of the movie.
  • Pierrot le fou
    • Music from the film appears in The Dreamers
  • Persona
  • La Chinoise
    • A poster of the film hangs on a wall in the twin's apartment.
  • Blonde Venus
    • Isabelle reenacts scene in sexy white painting clothes.
  • Freaks
    • After Isabelle, Theo, and Matthew run through the Louvre, Isabelle and Theo chant, "We accept him, one of us," signifying their acceptance of Matthew.
  • Scarface
    • Theo reenacts the death of Paul Muni, challenging Isabelle to name the film.
  • Queen Christina
    • Isabelle reenacts the scene in which Garbo's character Queen Christina "memorizes the room," in Matthew's bedroom, the first night he sleeps over.
  • Top Hat
    • Isabelle challenges Matthew to name a scene in which a tap dancer wakes a woman in the apartment below.
  • À bout de souffle (aka Breathless)
    • Isabelle imitates Patricia Franchini the first night she and her brother meets Matthew.
  • Sunset Boulevard
    • Isabelle puts on sunglasses and a head-rap giving an emotionless gaze, imitating Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond character in the scene where William Holden's Joe Gillis character has entered the run-down mansion and is made to read a script that Desmond has been writing for her planned comeback. Norma Desmond's likeness is utilized in the scene where Theo is performing a sexual act in front of the poster.
  • Mouchette
    • After Isabelle realizes her mother has seen her sleeping naked with her brother she tries to kill the three of them with gas. When she closes her eyes images of the suicide of Mouchette from Robert Bresson's film appear.


  • Argentina:16
  • Australia:R
  • Belgium: 16
  • Brazil:16
  • Canada: (British Columbia) R (Alberta/Manitoba/Ontario/Quebec) 16+ (Nova Scotia) 18
  • Denmark:11
  • Finland:K-15
  • France:-12
  • Germany:16
  • Hong Kong:III
  • Hungary:18
  • Iceland:16
  • Ireland: 18
  • Israel: 18
  • Italy: VM14
  • Japan: R-18
  • Malaysia:(Banned)
  • Netherlands:16
  • New Zealand:R18
  • Norway:15
  • Peru:18
  • Portugal:M/16
  • Singapore:R21 (cut)
  • South Korea:18
  • Spain:18
  • Sweden:15
  • Taiwan:R-18
  • UK:18
  • USA: NC-17 (uncut version)/R (cut)


"The Dreamers" Soundtrack was released on CD in 2004.

CD Track List:

  1. "Third Stone from the Sun" – Jimi Hendrix
  2. "Hey Joe" (cover version) – Michael Pitt & The Twins of Evil
  3. "Quatre Cents Coups" (from the score of "Les Quatre Cents Coups") – Jean Constantin
  4. "New York Herald Tribune" (from Breathless) – Martial Solal
  5. "Love Me Please Love Me" – Michel Polnareff
  6. "La Mer" – Charles Trenet
  7. "Song For Our Ancestors" – Steve Miller Band
  8. "The Spy" – The Doors
  9. "Tous les garçons et les filles" – Françoise Hardy
  10. "Ferdinand" (from Antoine Duhamel's score of "Pierrot Le Fou")
  11. "Dark Star" (special band edit) – The Grateful Dead
  12. "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" – Edith Piaf

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Dreamers (2003 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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