Blisse Musgrove

Written by Blisse Musgrove

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Le trou is a gripping and intense French film that captivates viewers from start to finish. Released in 1960, this masterpiece was directed by Jacques Becker and is considered one of the greatest prison break movies ever made. The film is based on the novel of the same name by José Giovanni, who himself was a former inmate. Le trou tells the story of five inmates in a prison in France who devise an audacious plan to escape. The film takes the audience on a thrilling journey as the inmates dig a tunnel to freedom, facing various challenges and obstacles along the way. Their determination, camaraderie, and willingness to risk everything make for a compelling and emotionally charged narrative.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Le Trou” is a gripping French prison escape film based on real experiences, featuring authentic performances and a compelling storyline, making it a timeless cinematic gem.
  • “Le Trou” offers a realistic portrayal of prison life, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit and exploring themes of trust, friendship, and sacrifice, captivating audiences with its powerful storytelling.
Table of Contents

“Le Trou” is a French film directed by Jacques Becker.

Released in 1960, this gripping prison escape drama is considered one of Becker’s most acclaimed works.

The movie is based on the novel “The Hole” by José Giovanni.

Giovanni, a former criminal, drew from his own experiences and wrote the book while serving time in prison.

“Le Trou” is set in the infamous La Santé Prison in Paris.

The film takes us deep into the walls of the prison, portraying the gritty reality of life behind bars.

The movie features a predominantly non-professional cast.

Becker wanted to bring authenticity to the film, so he cast actual ex-convicts in many of the roles.

“Le Trou” is known for its meticulous attention to detail.

The film accurately depicts the prison environment, from the layout of the cells to the procedures followed by the inmates.

The movie was released to critical acclaim.

“Le Trou” was praised for its realistic portrayal of prison life and its compelling storyline.

“Le Trou” was Becker’s final film.

Tragically, Jacques Becker passed away shortly after completing the movie, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of French cinema.

The film showcases the intricacies of planning a prison escape.

Viewers are taken on a suspenseful journey as the characters meticulously plot their daring breakout.

“Le Trou” is renowned for its claustrophobic atmosphere.

The movie effectively conveys the sense of confinement experienced by the characters as they navigate the narrow corridors and cramped cells.

The movie has a runtime of approximately 132 minutes.

Be prepared for a thrilling and absorbing viewing experience as the events unfold within the prison walls.

“Le Trou” was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.

The film gained international recognition at one of the most prestigious film festivals.

The movie is known for its realistic and naturalistic performances.

The cast’s authentic portrayal of their characters adds to the film’s overall sense of realism.

“Le Trou” was a box office success in France.

The film resonated with audiences, further establishing its reputation as a must-watch cinematic gem.

The film showcases the complexities of human relationships.

As the characters plan their escape, tensions rise, loyalties are tested, and unexpected alliances form.

“Le Trou” is considered a classic of French cinema.

The movie continues to be celebrated for its compelling storytelling and masterful direction.

Becker wanted to create a sense of authenticity by shooting the film in black and white.

This choice adds to the film’s gritty and atmospheric tone.

“Le Trou” was a departure from Becker’s previous films.

The director explored darker themes and pushed the boundaries of his storytelling style.

The movie’s intense climax keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

The suspense builds to a thrilling finale that will leave audiences captivated.

The film’s screenplay was co-written by José Giovanni and Jean Aurel.

They collaborated to bring Giovanni’s gripping story to life on the silver screen.

“Le Trou” showcases the resilience and determination of the human spirit.

The characters’ quest for freedom highlights the indomitable nature of the human will.

The movie’s title translates to “The Hole” in English.

This aptly describes the central focus of the film’s plot and setting.

The film’s cinematography enhances the tension and atmosphere.

The expertly crafted visuals draw viewers into the confined world of the prison.

“Le Trou” is a gripping character study.

As the story unfolds, we delve deeper into the emotions and motivations of the main characters.

The movie’s pacing keeps viewers engrossed from start to finish.

There is never a dull moment as the plot unfolds with precision.

“Le Trou” received a restoration in 2015.

The film was brought back to its original glory, allowing new generations to appreciate its brilliance.

The movie’s soundtrack enhances the tension and suspense.

The music perfectly complements the film’s mood, adding another layer to the viewing experience.

“Le Trou” portrays the harsh realities of prison life.

Through its authentic portrayal, the film sheds light on the challenges faced by incarcerated individuals.

The movie’s success influenced the genre of prison escape films.

“Le Trou” set a high standard for future films in this genre, inspiring filmmakers to explore similar themes.

The film’s final shot is hauntingly powerful.

Without giving away any spoilers, be prepared for a thought-provoking and memorable ending.

“Le Trou” continues to be studied in film schools.

Its meticulous direction, compelling performances, and powerful storytelling make it a valuable learning resource.

The movie explores the concept of trust among the characters.

As they work together towards their common goal, trust becomes both a necessity and a fragile element.

“Le Trou” is a testament to the power of human resilience.

Despite the overwhelming odds, the characters never give up on their pursuit of freedom.

The film showcases the daily routines and rituals of prison life.

From meals to exercise, the movie delves into the mundane aspects of living within the prison walls.

“Le Trou” highlights the psychological toll of imprisonment.

The characters’ psychological struggles serve as a profound exploration of the human psyche.

The movie’s plot twists and turns keep viewers guessing.

Just when you think you have it figured out, “Le Trou” surprises you with unexpected revelations.

The film’s minimalist style adds to its impact.

With its focus on storytelling and characters, “Le Trou” allows the audience to truly immerse themselves in the narrative.

“Le Trou” is often hailed as one of the greatest prison escape films of all time.

Its profound impact on the genre and its enduring legacy cement its place in cinematic history.

The movie’s key themes include friendship, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The relationships between the characters are tested, leading to moments of heartbreak and redemption.

“Le Trou” was ahead of its time in terms of its realism and authenticity.

The film’s groundbreaking approach to storytelling set it apart from other films of its era.

The movie’s use of natural lighting adds to its visual beauty.

Becker’s masterful direction creates stunning imagery, even within the confines of a prison.

“Le Trou” is a gripping tale of hope and determination.

The characters’ unwavering belief in their plan is both inspiring and emotionally charged.

The film’s runtime allows for the development of rich and complex characters.

Each character is given ample time to unfold, adding depth to the overall narrative.

“Le Trou” continues to inspire and resonate with audiences worldwide.

The movie’s timeless themes and masterful storytelling make it a true cinematic gem.


In conclusion, “Le trou” is a cinematic masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. Its gripping storyline, brilliant performances, and meticulous direction by Jacques Becker have made it a timeless classic. The movie’s depiction of the intense struggle for freedom and the human spirit’s resilience is truly remarkable. With its realistic portrayal of life behind bars and the complexities of friendship and trust, “Le trou” is a must-watch for any film enthusiast. Whether you’re a fan of French cinema or simply appreciate exceptional storytelling, this movie will captivate you from start to finish.


1. When was “Le trou” released?

“Le trou” was released in 1960.

2. Who directed “Le trou”?

“Le trou” was directed by Jacques Becker.

3. Is “Le trou” based on a true story?

Yes, “Le trou” is based on a true story. It is adapted from the book “The Hole” by José Giovanni, who was a former prisoner.

4. What is the storyline of “Le trou”?

Le trou” follows the story of five prisoners who plan a daring escape from prison by digging a tunnel.

5. Are there any notable performances in “Le trou”?

Yes, the performances in “Le trou” are exceptional. The cast includes Michel Constantin, Jean Keraudy, Philippe Leroy, and Raymond Meunier, who deliver powerful and nuanced portrayals.

6. What makes “Le trou” a classic?

“Le trou” is considered a classic due to its gripping storyline, realistic portrayal of prison life, exceptional performances, and expert direction by Jacques Becker.

7. Is “Le trou” available with English subtitles?

Yes, “Le trou” is available with English subtitles, allowing non-French-speaking viewers to enjoy this cinematic gem.

8. Has “Le trou” won any awards?

Yes, “Le trou” has won several awards, including the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival.

9. What is the runtime of “Le trou”?

The runtime of “Le trou” is approximately 132 minutes.

10. Is “Le trou” suitable for all audiences?

“Le trou” contains mature themes and is rated for audiences aged 16 and above. Viewer discretion is advised.

If you're captivated by the cinematic artistry of "Le Trou," why not explore more fascinating films and events? Delve into the haunting allure of classic black-and-white films like "Sunset Blvd.," or immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of French cinema at the City of Lights, City of Angels (COLCOA) French Film Festival. For those intrigued by the thrilling world of prison escapes, uncover the gripping facts behind the TV series "Prison Break." Each of these compelling subjects promises to enrich your appreciation for the power of storytelling on screen.

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