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Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez is a 1964 French comedy film starring Louis de Funès. The film takes place in Saint-Tropez, a fashionable resort on the French Riviera. De Funès plays Ludovic Cruchot, the sergeant of the local brigade of gendarmerie (a French police force).

The film proved very popular with audiences (and not at all with critics) and has spawned five sequels over two decades:

  • Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez (1964): Ludovic Cruchot has been re-assigned to the Mediterranean seaside commune of Saint-Tropez under the orders of command sergeant major Gerber (played by Michel Galabru). He is tasked to hunt down and arrest nudists. Meanwhile, a Rembrandt painting has been stolen.

  • Le Gendarme à New York (The Gendarme in New York, 1965): The gendarmes of Saint-Tropez are invited to New York City to a law enforcement conference.

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  • Le Gendarme se marie (The Gendarme Gets Married, 1968): Cruchot meets Josépha, a widow and they quickly fall in love. But Cruchot's daughter doesn't like Josépha and is determined to prevent the wedding by all means necessary.

  • Le Gendarme en balade (The Gendarme to Stroll, 1970): The gendarmes are forced into retirement to make way for a younger breed, and they don't react very well to it. Even so, when they learn that one of them has had an accident and has become amnesiac, they reunite to help him get his memory back.

  • Le Gendarme et les extra-terrestres (The Gendarme and the Extra-Terrestrials, 1979): Cruchot has discovered that aliens have arrived in the town in a Flying Saucer. The aliens (which are made of metal) can duplicate the forms of humans and have telekinesis powers. They promptly impersonate the policemen, which soon creates confusion.

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  • Le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes (The Gendarme and the Gendarmettes, 1982): Four young and beautiful female police officers come to learn from the old gendarmes but it turns out they are coping much better with problems than their teachers (the fact that the entire old male brigade is Distracted by the Sexy doesn't help). Things get hotted up when the "gendarmettes" are kidnapped one by one.


The Gendarme series provides examples of:

  • The '60s: The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez, The Gendarme in New York and The Gendarme Gets Married were set in that decade.
  • The '70s: The Gendarme to Stroll and The Gendarme and the Extra-Terrestrials.
  • The '80s: The Gendarme and the Gendarmettes. While the uniforms of the gendarmes haven't changed much in two decades, they are now equipped with a brand-new computer.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Nicole (Geneviève Grad), Cruchot's daughter, in the first three installment.
  • Butt-Monkey: Everyone in the brigade has been this at some point in the series. Amongst the cast, Fougasse stands out by being picked to infiltrate the nudist camp or repeatedly getting rushed to the hospital while visiting New York.
  • Chase Scene: Usually one per film. Often involves Sister Clotilde and her fast-driving talents.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Some gendarmes do not appear in the two final installments and nobody notices: Fougasse and Merlot, who appeared in the first three installments, and Taupin, who only appeared in the fourth.
  • Da Chief: Gerber, essentially.
  • Les Cops Sportif: The main characters are gendarmes.
  • The Ditz: Most of the brigade besides Cruchot and Gerber, usually.
    • Fougasse (Jean Lefebvre) in the early films.
    • Beaupied (Maurice Risch) in the last films.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cruchot, when training the lower-ranked gendarmes back into shape to arrest the nudists. They actually miss the discipline when they're in New York. Gerber and Cruchot are only happy to oblige.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Sister Clotilde (France Rumilly), a very enthusiastic nun who rides either a sidecar or a Citroën 2CV. Just watch. By the way, she's myopic.
    • In Le Gendarme en balade, it's a younger nun at the wheel... unfortunately:
      Sister Clotilde: I taught her everything!
    • Cruchot himself isn't the most prudent of drivers, especially when stressed (i.e. most of the time).
    • Josépha during her arrival in Saint-Tropez. Cruchot wants her arrested for this until he learns who she is, and before falling in love with her.
  • Fanservice: The series is set in a seaside town in the summer, so there are many opportunities to show people in swimsuits or revealing clothes.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Gerber is prone to do this with Cruchot's ideas, most memorably in The Gendarme Gets Married.
  • Happily Married: Cruchot and Josépha.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Yes, it is indeed (the z is silent). In Le Gendarme en balade, there is even a gag with Fougasse being unable to pronounce "Saint-Tropez" right.
  • Large Ham: Cruchot, hands down. He often competes with Gerber, leading to Ham-to-Ham Combat, particularly in the last films.
  • Meddlesome Patrolmen: About all the protagonists.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Nudists are often the targets of the Gendarmes. Fougasse is not that happy with the idea of infiltrating them.
  • Nervous Wreck: Cruchot. He's played by Louis de Funès so it's a given.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Sister Clotilde is a nun with a bubbly personality. She wears a white frock and a funny-looking hat. Cruchot meets when he is hitchhiking as he needs to get to Saint-Tropez. Too bad she drives like crazy, has a comically small vehicle and is extremely myopic, but wears no glasses. Makes an appearance in the following movies of the series, too, often with other nuns. We later find out she has become Mother Superior.
  • Once per Episode: Or per Movie...
    • Some Chase Scene or other fast-paced car ride with Sister Clotilde at the wheel (except in Le Gendarme à New York; Cruchot does meet Sister Clotilde in New York, but wisely declines to have her drive him).
    • Every movie also ends with the gendarmes taking part in some parade in Saint-Tropez.
  • Overprotective Dad: Cruchot is very protective towards his daughter Nicole in the first three installments.
  • Plucky Girl: Sister Clotilde is always seen smiling and is never running out of positive words for Cruchot, and always insists on helping him with her car.
  • Police are Useless: Usually, when the Gendarmes must face a challenge or a threat for the first time they're utterly useless, until Cruchot finds a way to deal with it properly.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Cruchot and Josépha, once they're married.
  • Yes-Man:
    • Cruchot towards Gerber and other high ranking people, while at the same time being odious to underlings.
    • Fougasse, when it is believed Cruchot replaced Gerber in Le Gendarme se marie.
    • Gerber can indulge in this too.

Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez (1964) provides examples of:

  • The '60s: Nicole and her friends are typical 60s teenagers (music, fashion...).
  • Agony of the Feet: Gerber from a pétanque ball thrown by Cruchot.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: To impersonate an American millionaire, Cruchot thinks it is necessary to wear a white cowboy hat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Cruchot is about to be killed by the thieves when Nicole and her friends show up.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Nicole (Geneviève Grad), Cruchot's daughter, who gets herself and her father in serious troubles because she prentended to be a millionaire's daughter.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fougasse is picked to infiltrate the nudist camp.
  • Carload of Cool Kids: It happens twice in the first film:
    • Nicole is a policeman's daughter. When they move to Saint-Tropez from a mountain village, her strict father forbids her to wear revealing clothes. She is an object of ridicule for a bunch of wealthy guys and girls because of her fashion sense. Second time Nicole meets them, they drive in a convertible, slowly following her as she walks down a marina. Nicole fights back and lies that she's a millionaire's daughter and claims that her dress is a hot hit in Hawaii.
    • The group, squeezed in their favourite vehicle, make fun of an older guy who drives a small car. They follow him and accidentally bump in his car. A policeman (Nicole's father's subordinate) stands close by, and Nicole, now part of the popular group, manages to make him believe that it was the older guy's fault.
  • Clear My Name: Cruchot is considered as the one who stole the Rembrandt by his colleague, even if Nicole tells them the whole story. He has to prove his innocence.
  • Cool Car: A red Ford Mustang, belonging the a gang of thieves.
  • Creator Cameo: The director, Jean Girault, appears briefly as a clothing merchant.
  • Dream Sequence: When four gendarmes are sleeping under a tree, we see what is the dream of each of them.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Cruchot, when training the lower-ranked gendarmes back into shape to arrest the nudists.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Sister Clotilde (France Rumilly) makes her debut. Cruchot meets her when he is hitchhiking as he needs to get to Saint-Tropez. Too bad she drives like crazy, has a comically small vehicle and is extremely myopic, but wears no glasses.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Arresting the nudists is Serious Business for the gendarmes. At first, they fail and it makes Gerber suffer from Heroic BSoD So, Cruchot gives the other gendarmes an intensive combat training to prepare them for this task. The operation itself looks like a commando raid. When they succeed, they parade in front a Gerber with their prisoners.
  • Friendless Background: Nicole has no friend at the start of the story because she is a newcomer in Saint-Tropez.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • Gerber says that tomorrow will be a very busy day. Immediately thereafter, we see the gendarmes playing pétanque.
    • Cruchot absolutely refuses to impersonate an American millionaire. Immediately thereafter, we see him dressed as a Southern Gentleman (white suit and white cowboy hat).
  • Gold Digger: The woman who dances with Cruchot at the garden party is clearly interested in him because he is supposed to be a millionaire. She is the widow of another rich man who died recently.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: One of the thieves has to guard a car containing a priceless Rembrandt, but he does not have cigarette any more, so he abandons his post to get some. What could possibly happens during such a short time?
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Fougasse with a newspaper, when he must infiltrate the nudist beach.
  • Hastily Hidden MacGuffin: The thieves leave the painting in the trunk of their car because there are too many people in the street and they might be noticed. Minutes later, a friend of Nicole goes away with the car.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Nicole (Geneviève Grad), Cruchot's daughter, when she goes out of the police office in very revealing clothes. All the gendarmes are staring at her through their windows. Their wives do not appreciate.
  • Heroic BSoD: Gerber after failing to arrest the nudists. He cries a lot and Cruchot has to console him.
  • Hiding in a Hijab: At the party, Cruchot disguises himself as a veiled oriental woman.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Nicole's main motivation is to get friends and to be popular. This is the reason why she lies about her father, which sets the plot into motion.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: At the party, Cruchot disguises himself as a veiled oriental woman. His face is clearly the one of an old man, so it is surprising that the oriental prince is fooled.
  • Liar Revealed: Gerber reveals to her friends and their parents that Nicole is not the daughter of a millionaire but of a gendarme. Her friends do not let her down and decide to help her anyway.
  • MacGuffin: The Rembrandt painting. Any other valuable object could have been used, the plot would remain exactly the same.
  • Man in White: Cruchot wears a white suit and a white cowboy hat to impersonate an American millionaire.
  • Mistaken for Badass: The thieves think they are the target of a skilled and somehow sadistic hustler. In reality, a friend of Nicole goes away with the car containing the stolen painting, because he thinks it is her father's. Cruchot bring them back the car without the painting because he threw it away carelessly when he was looking for the spare wheel. Finally, Cruchot displays the painting right in front of them because a farmer who found it brought it back to him.
    One of the thieves: Ça sent le coup fourré ! (Smells like a double-cross!)
  • Monochrome to Color: The opening, set in a small village of the French Alps, is in black and white. Then it switches to color with the arrival in the much more colorful town of Saint-Tropez.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nicole (Geneviève Grad), Cruchot's daughter. She goes out of the police office in very revealing clothes and all the gendarmes are staring at her. Later, she wears a bikini.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Nudists are the targets of the Gendarmes. Fougasse is not that happy with the idea of infiltrating them.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Sister Clotilde is a nun with a bubbly personality. She wears a white frock and a funny-looking hat. Cruchot meets her when he is hitchhiking as he needs to get to Saint-Tropez. Too bad she drives like crazy, has a comically small vehicle and is extremely myopic, but wears no glasses.
  • Overprotective Dad: Cruchot is very protective towards his daughter Nicole. He does not want her to wear revealing clothes and wants her to go to bed very early.
  • Schmuck Bait: When the thieves are going to kill Cruchot, Nicole shows up in a porthole, so one of the thieves goes out to catch her. He does not come back and Nicole shows up again, so another thief goes out.
  • Shout-Out: At the climax, Cruchot ends up dressed for a quick gag like the hero of Thierry la Fronde (a French TV series of the same period, basically a Gallic version of Robin Hood) along with the iconic music of said show.
  • Snowball Lie: Nicole pretends she is the daughter of an American millionaire, Mr Ferguson. Her father finally accepts to pretend to be Mr Ferguson. Even the parents of Nicole's friend pretend to know Mr Ferguson for years. The lie collapses when Gerber recognizes Nicole as Cruchot's daughter.
  • You Are Grounded: After she got back home very late and told her father she stole a car, Nicole cannot go out any more without her father, even to do the shopping.

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