Film / La Grande Vadrouille

La Grande Vadrouille (The Great Stroll) is a 1966 French war comedy directed by Gérard Oury, starring Louis de Funès, Bourvil and Terry-Thomas. The US release title was Don't Look Now... We're Being Shot At! It went on to become the most successful movie at the French box office with 17 millions cinema admissions until it was topped by Titanic (1997) (almost 22 millions) in 1998, and remained the most successful French movie at the French box office until it was topped by Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (20 millions) in 2008.

Summer 1942. Over Nazi-occupied France, a Royal Air Force B17 Flying Fortress becomes lost after a mission and is shot down over Paris by German Flak. The crew, Sir Reginald Brook (Terry-Thomas), Peter Cunningham and Alan MacIntosh, parachutes out over the city, where they run into and are hidden by a house painter, Augustin Bouvet (Bourvil), and the grumbling conductor of the Opéra National de Paris, Stanislas Lefort (Louis de Funès). Involuntarily, Lefort and Bouvet get themselves tangled up in the manhunt against the aviators led by Wehrmacht Major Achbach as they help the airmen to reach the Free Zone with the help of Résistance fighters and sympathizers.

La Grande Vadrouille provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Badass Mustache: Sir Reginald starts the movie with a quite big mustache (it was one of Terry-Thomas' trademarks). He shaves it off at the Turkish baths, because it looks "too English".
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: The German soldier is extremely cross-eyed and yet is the one manning the anti-aircraft gun as the protagonists escape via glider (the movie shows this by defocusing the camera until there are two images of the plane).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stanislas Lefort. One of De Funès' trademarks
  • La Résistance: If you watched this movie, you'd think the entirety of France was just waiting for an opportunity to join the Resistance or was already a member. Which was of course very far from reality.
  • Nice Guy: Augustin Bouvet. It was a trademark of Bourvil's characters.
  • Running Gag: The Neat Freak SS officer who gets covered with paint and later with plaster dust.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: The British pilots expected to reach Calais (the French port facing Dover on the other side of the Channel) in the morning but their map and radio got destroyed during the night. They end up flying over Paris, with the German Flak waiting for them.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Perhaps the most famous use of the trope in French comedies.
  • Too Important to Walk: Lefort considers himself as this. Hence the page's picture. A walk of some meters is enough for him to get foot pain with his tight shoes.