''Paris brûle-t-il ?'' (''Is Paris Burning?'') is a 1966 historical film directed by René Clément, based on a screenplay by Creator/GoreVidal and Creator/FrancisFordCoppola, based itself on a book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It depicts the events leading to the Liberation of Paris in August 1944.

The title comes from UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler's question to his chief of staff Alfred Jodl on the eve of the liberation of Paris (August 25): "Brennt Paris?". The military governor of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz (Creator/GertFrobe), had been ordered to [[IfICantHaveYou destroy the city rather than let it fall undamaged into the hands of the Allies]].

The film follows historical events as Creator/DwightDEisenhower refuses to divert troops to liberate Paris. His hand is forced by the French military leader, Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque, and by a Resistance uprising in the city. Von Choltitz keeps details of the uprising from the German high command in an effort to save the city being destroyed in retaliation. The film follows his turmoil as a soldier and as the man who doesn't wish to be seen by history as the cause of a beautiful city's destruction. In this he is helped by the intervention of the Swedish consul, Raoul Nordling (Creator/OrsonWelles).

The film looks not only at the taking of Paris by French and American troops but at [[WeAreStrugglingTogether rivalries within the Resistance]]. Of the two main sections, the branch loyal to General UsefulNotes/CharlesDeGaulle was against an uprising while the branch linked to the communists, led by Henri Rol-Tanguy (Bruno Cremer), believed action was necessary. De Gaulle tried to overcome communist influence during and after Liberation, [[RedScare believing the communists planned to take control of the city and then of France]].

For a political contrast on resistance movements, compare ''Film/TheBattleOfAlgiers'', made the same year.

!!''Paris brûle-t-il?'' provides examples of:

* LesCollaborateurs: The man who guides the resistant student group right into a German trap.
* CuteAsABouncingBetty: The huge cannon Von Choltitz used to destroy Sebastopol is named "Karl".
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: To give the film a documentary/newsreel feel, just like ''Film/TheLongestDay''. It features some actual footage too.
* EiffelTowerEffect: Of course, as well as several other famous Paris spots. Most distressingly, they are seen while the German soldiers are filling them with explosives.
* EpicMovie: By French cinema standards at least.
* HonorBeforeReason: Depends on your point of view. Von Choltitz is ordered to burn Paris to the ground. Realizing that history would never forgive him if he did, the general does what he can to arrange a quiet surrender instead. It may have been dishonorable to the Nazis, but it was reasonable and honorable to the French. In RealLife, the French regarded him as "The Savior of Paris" and French officers attended his funeral in 1966.
** Von Choltitz himself wanted to fight for the city, but when promised reinforcements did not arrive, he decided that destroying buildings and monuments was pointless.
* LargeHam: Hitler, unsurprisingly.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: All of the historical protagonists of the event show up at some point.
* MolotovCocktail: Prepared by Pr. [[http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Joliot-Curie Frédéric Joliot-Curie]].
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Von Choltitz.
* RefugeInAudacity: When "Pierrelot" (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is tasked to retake Hôtel Matignon from LesCollaborateurs, he cannot get any men in insurgent Paris. So what does he do? Walk into the place with just his female aid, and ask for control of the place in the name of the temporary government. It ''works'', and he's treated like a minister.
* LaResistance: Most of the French protagonists, naturally.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Film/TheLongestDay''. Black & white historical epic, international AllStarCast, loads and loads of characters, Allied victory in [=WW2=]... you got it.
* TitleDrop: Although in German -- toward the end, Hitler is insistingly asking "Brennt Paris?" (Is Paris Burning?) on the phone.
* ThoseWackyNazis: {{Averted}} -- except for UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, of course.
* UrbanWarfare: Resistants establish strongholds in several key buildings, and shoot at German troops from there. They also use Molotov cocktails.