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La Grande Illusion

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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La Grande Illusion
Movie Poster
Country FRA.jpg France
Directed by Jean Renoir
Release Date June 8, 1937
Language English
Studio Réalisations d'Art Cinématographique (RAC)
Distributor Réalisation d'art cinématographique (RAC)
Main Cast
Character Actor
Lieutenant Maréchal Jean Gabin
Lieutenant Rosenthal Marcel Dalio
Captain de Boeldieu Pierre Fresnay
Major von Rauffenstein Erich von Stroheim
Elsa Dita Parlo

La Grande Illusion (The Great Illusion) is a 1937 French anti-war drama directed by Jean Renoir. Two French officers - the noble Captain De Boeldieu and the worker Lieutenant Maréchal - are shot down during the First World War. They fall into captivity, where they meet other French of various origins, including Rosenthal, son of a Jewish banker. Because the Frenchmen are constantly trying to escape, they are placed under the supervision of the aristocrat von Rauffenstein. De Boeldieu befriends him, but Maréchal and Rosenthal continue to escape.

The following weapons were used in the film La Grande Illusion:


Colt M1911

A captured Colt M1911 pistol is the personal firearm of Major von Rauffenstein (Erich von Stroheim) which he used during the escape attempt of Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay). The reason why he owns this pistol could be that he took it from a British or Russian officer or he purchased it before the war. The USA joined the war in 1917 and the story with him takes place in 1916. He carries the Colt in a Luger holster.

Screen used M1911 pistol (Hero Gun) carried and used by Sam Elliott as Command Sergeant Major Basil Plumley in We Were Soldiers - .45 ACP
The Colt on von Rauffenstein's table.
He holds his Colt after taking it from his Luger holster...
..., takes aim at de Boeldieu...
... and fires.
Another angle of the pistol.

FN Model 1900

An FN Model 1900 pistol lies on another table.

FN Model 1900 - .32 ACP
The pistol on the edge of the table.


MAS Mle. 1892

An Mle 1892 Revolver is seen next to the FN pistol.

Revolver d'ordonnance modèle 1892 - 8x27mmSR
The revolver on the right. Note the typical ejector rod.

Webley Mk. VI

A British Webley Mk VI lies next to the Mle. 1892 Revolver.

Webley Mark IV - .455 Webley
The third revolver from the left. Note the front sight.

Unknown Revolver

A third revolver can be seen on the table next to the Webley.

The revolver on the right between the Webley and a meal container.


Gewehr 1888/05

The majority of German Prison guards and soldiers are armed with Gewehr 1888/05 throughout the movie. This is historically accurate, as these rifles were mostly issued to rear troops.

Gewehr 1888/05 - 7.92x57mm (8x57 IS)
A Prison guard on the right with his shouldered Gewehr during the arrival at the Hallbach PoW camp.
An old guard stands with his Gewehr which has a fixed Seitengewehr SG 98 bayonet.
Another Gew. 88/05 with SG 98 bayonet in the hands of the personal guard of Maréchal (Jean Gabin).
The same guard outside the solitary confinement cell.
A Prison guard wearing a Tschako (Shako) fires his rifle at the fleeing de Boeldieu.
Two German soldiers hold their Gewehrs at the Swiss border. Note the ejecting hole on the right one, which was actually closed on the 88/05 variant. Also, note the Luger holster carried by the left soldier.
The left soldier lowers his rifle which now gives a look at the converted receiver.

Mauser Gewehr 1898

Some German soldiers can nevertheless be seen carrying Mauser Gewehr 1898 rifles. The G98s are also armed with the older SG 98 instead of the SG 98/05.

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
A Hallbach guard in the courtyard with a shouldered G98. The typical Lange Visier rear sight is visible.
Another guard at the Wintersborn PoW camp with a Gewehr 98.

Mauser Karabiner 98AZ

At least, one Prison guard can be seen with a Mauser 98AZ Artillery Carbine.

Mauser Karabiner 98AZ - 7.92x57mm
The guard running with the carbine during an escape attempt. Note the slot cut in the stock and the stacking hook.

Machine Guns

Maxim MG 08

Maxim MG08s are used by the Wintersborn prison guards. It is simply called "Maxim" by von Rauffenstein.

Maxim MG 08 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Maréchal and de Boeldieu near a Maxim shown by von Rauffenstein.
A view of the barrel and muzzle shield.
Another (or possibly the same) Maxim at the castle wall.

Chauchat Mle. 1915

An unloaded Chauchat light machine gun is used by a prison guard.

Chauchat Mle. 1915 - 8x50mmR Lebel
The both grips can be seen. The magazine should be where the wooden beam is.
A better view of the rear part.

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