Babette Goes to War

Babette Goes to War (French: Babette s'en va-t-en guerre) is a 1959 French film starring Brigitte Bardot. It was Bardot's first movie since becoming a star where she did not take off her clothes.[2]

Babette Goes to War
Directed byChristian-Jaque
Written byRaoul Lévy
Gérard Oury
Michel Audiard
StarringBrigitte Bardot
Music byGilbert Bécaud
CinematographyArmand Thirard
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 18, 1959 (1959-09-18) (France)
  • March 1960 (1960-03) (USA)
Box office4,657,610 admissions (France)[1]


In 1940, during the German invasion of France, a young woman called Babette flees on a boat to England. She is desperate to help the Free French, who end up parachuting her back into the country on a mission to thwart the German invasion of England.



Bardot had meant to make a film in Hollywood called Paris by Night with Frank Sinatra and Roger Vadim but did not want to go to America. Producer Raoul Levy came up with another idea, a film about a young girl who becomes involved with the Resistance called Babette Goes to War. Levy assigned Vadim to work on the script with an American writer. Vadim's film The Night Heaven Fell was released and performed poorly, so Levy replaced Vadim as director with Christian Jacques.[3]

In September 1958 it was announced Peter Viertel was working on the script.[4] By October Christian Jacque was attached as director.[5] David Niven was mentioned as a possible co star.[6]

The film was the first in a three-picture deal Levy had with Columbia, two of which were to star Bardot. The studio would invest $2.5 million. (Columbia helped finance the hugely successful Bardot-Levy movie And God Created Woman.) Gerard Philippe was the original co star announced.[7] This deal later expanded to cover three years.[8]

Levy said he came up with the idea of Bardot keeping on her clothes because it was unexpected. "Everything there is to show has been shown," said the producer.[9]

Filming took place in February and March 1959. Bardot and Jacques Charrier had an affair during filming that led to Bardot falling pregnant and them getting married.[1] Bardot was briefly ill during filming.[10]


The film had its world premiere at the Moscow Film Festival. It was a big hit with admissions in France of 4,657,610.[1] It was the fourth most popular film at the French box office in 1959, after The Cow and I, Sleeping Beauty and The Green Mare. (It was followed by Some Like It Hot, The Four Hundred Blows, The Magnificent Tramp, North by Northwest, Solomon and Sheba and Black Orpheus.[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Babette Goes to War French Box office information". Box Office Story. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  2. ^ de Beauvoir, Simone (1959). Brigitte Bardot And The Lolita Syndrome. p. 56.
  3. ^ Vadim, Roger (1986). Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda. Simon and Schuster. p. 127.
  4. ^ Some Screen Writers Are Busy Despite a Slump in Production By OSCAR GODBOUT New York Times 12 Sep 1958: 21.
  5. ^ NOTED ALONG THE SEINE: Fall Production Schedules Show Drop -- Young French Directors Active By CYNTHIA GRENIERPARIS. New York Times ]19 Oct 1958: X7.
  6. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Niven, Mitzi to Co-Star in 'Anniversary Waltz' Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune20 Oct 1958: b14.
  7. ^ "Raoul Levy Sets 3 for Columbia;Pair of Bardots". Variety. 12 November 1958. p. 3.
  8. ^ "Bet $7 mill on Levy de France". Variety. 1 April 1959. p. 7.
  9. ^ BARDOT CLOTHED IN NEW FILM Buchwald, Art. Los Angeles Times 3 Feb 1959: B5.
  10. ^ Brigitte Bardot Kept in Bed by Influenze Chicago Daily Tribune 4 Feb 1959: 4
  11. ^ "1959 French box office". Box Office Story. Retrieved 28 August 2016.

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