Friends is a 1971 teen romance film directed by Lewis Gilbert.
A neglected 15-year-old English boy named Paul Harrison (Sean Bury), living in Paris with his wealthy businessman father, befriends a 14-year-old French girl named Michelle Latour (Anicée Alvina), who recently arrived in Paris after becoming orphaned. Together, Paul and Michelle decide to run away and travel to the idyllic marshlands of the Camargue where Michelle's father had a very small cottage. There, Paul and Michelle become lovers. Along the way, both Paul and Michelle discover many of the troubles that can be involved in family life when they play at being responsible adults.
The film's soundtrack music was composed by Elton John, with lyrics written by Bernie Taupin.
It was followed by a sequel, Paul and Michelle, in 1974.
This film and its sequel feature examples of:
- Bolivian Army Ending: While the ending is not particularly violent, things look very bleak for the romance and common-law marriage of the happy young couple. Ever since Paul ran off with Michelle, his father has been out looking for him. Just before the end, we see that he's found his son's employer and is waiting for Paul to show up for work the next day. The end has Paul waving farewell to his wife and child and them waving back; then the frame freezes and the credits roll. The sequel Paul and Michelle indicates a Downtime Downgrade, though the Offscreen Breakup never goes onscreen. Also, the two are shown to be determined to get back together again.
- Downtime Downgrade: Enforced. Paul and Michelle begins with the title characters separated, but it is because Paul's parents forcibly separated him from Michelle and their child.
- Meadow Run: Paul and Michelle at one point run towards each other in slow motion across a meadow, to the tune of Elton John.
- Offscreen Breakup: Paul and Michelle separated between Friends and Paul and Michelle. Subverted as it was because Paul's parents forcibly separated them.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: With both Paul and Michelle being minors and thus not legal adults yet, they don't manage to get far enough on their own, and it doesn't take long for Paul's father to find him. The beginning of Paul and Michelle in fact has Paul turning 18, and thus his father can no longer stop him.