The Passion of Joan of Arc

(Carl Th. Dreyer, FR, 1928)

The Passion of Joan of Arc is based on the records of the 1431 trial that led to Joan of Arc being convicted of heresy and burned at the stake. In the film, the month-long process is condensed into a much shorter time frame. Alone, Jeanne must face a large assembly of priests and monks who bombard her with questions to pressure her into admitting that her visions were not sent by God, but even under threat of torture she stands fast. She is so ill that the judges dare not torture her, but under threat of burning at the stake they make her sign a statement that her visions were false. She soon retracts, however, and she is burned alive. Her death impresses the onlookers as martyrdom and the crowd rises up in rebellion against their oppressors.

The representation of Joan of Arc in Dreyer’s masterpiece is radically different from the image of her as a national warrior heroine in shining armour that was found in every French schoolbook, and the director almost completely leaves out the historical events of the Hundred Years’ War. The sets were big and costly but severely stylised, almost abstract looking in their sparseness. Dreyer places his camera in positions that rarely afford the observer an overview of the space in which the action is taking place. In consequence, all attention is concentrated on the spiritual and psychological confrontation between Joan and her judges, which is underscored by the dynamic, fast cutting and, not least, by the gigantic close-ups that lay bare every nuance of the characters’ reactions.

Before it even began shooting, the film was controversial in nationalist and ecclesiastical circles, because Dreyer wasn’t French and because his Joan of Arc wasn’t heroic enough. The film was marketed as an artistic epic, but, even though it did elicit admiration from many critics, it was never a commercial success. While the initial reaction to the film’s uncompromising formal vocabulary and raw intensity was one of reserve, the film since the 1950s has occupied a place among the most respected masterpieces in film history.


Production company Société générale de Films
Distributor  International Film / Sophus Madsen (DK), Alliance Cinématographique Européenne (FR)
Censorship classification Allowed for all
Release date and place 21.4. 1928 / Palads 
French premiere in the Marivaux-biografen in Paris 25.10.1928
Based on  Officially based on the novel by Joseph Delteil (1925).

Directed by

Carl Th. Dreyer  Director 
Ralph Christian Holm Assistant Director
Paul la Cour Assistant Director
Louis Osmont Casting
Simon Feldman Technical director


Carl Th. Dreyer  Screenwriter 

Produced by

Marcel Rémond  Unit manager 
Mark Martoff Unit manager
Michel Feldman Studio manager

Cinematography by

Rudolph Maté  Cheif cameraman
Gösta Kottula Camera Operator
Louis Née Camera Assistant


Carl Th. Dreyer  Editor 
Marguerite Beaugé Assistant Editor

Production Design

Hermann Warm  Art Direction  
Jean Hugo Assistant set designer
Arno Richter  Set manager 


Valentine Hugo Costume Designer
Jean Hugo Costume drawings


Jean Soulat Stills photographer
Maurice Boussus Stills photographer


Pierre Champion  Historical advisor 


Renée Falconetti Jeanne d'Arc 
Eugene Sylvain  Bishop Pierre Cauchon, Supreme Judge
André Berley Jean d'Estivet, Counsel for the Prosecution
Maurice Schutz  Nicolas Loyseleur
Gilbert Dalleu Jean Lemaitre
Antonin Artaud Jean Massieu 
Louis Ravet Jean Beaupère 
Michel Simon Judge
Jean d'Yd Guillaume Evrard, Judge
Adolphe Rodé General Warwick
Armand Lurville Judge
Jacques Arnna Judge
Raymond Narlay  Judge
Henry Maillard Judge
Jean Ayme Judge
León Larive Judge
Henry Gaultier Judge
Paul Jorge Judge
Alexandre Mihalesco Judge
Camille Bardou Soldier
Paul Fromet Judge
Carlo de Dona Judge
Armand Caratis Judge
Jack Piera Judge
Paul Delauzac Judge
M. Sommaire Greffier
M. Badin Greffier
Gilbert Dacheux  
Christian Argentin  
Emile Piotte  
André Marnay  
Robert le Flon  
Paul Velsa  
M. Fournez-Gouffard  
M. Polonsky  
Dimitri Dmitrieff  
J. Ridez  
Serge Nikitine  
M. Persitz  
M. Derval  
M. Bac  
M. Valbret  
M. Gitenet  
M. Beri  
M. Bazaine

Carl Th. Dreyer



Other titles 
La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (FR - original title)
Jeanne d'Arcs Lidelse og Død (DK)


2210 metres

Technical data 
35 mm - 1,33:1 - b/w - mute


Dreyer's script in French





Photos: On the set


The programme in Danish